Telangana Public Meet: Rahul Gandhi’s Claims vs a Quick Fact Check
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited Telangana on 1 June and addressed a public meeting in the Sangareddy district. During the course of his public address, he made allegations/claims against the ruling TRS government in Telangana and the BJP government at the Centre. Here is a fact check on some of his claims.
Claim: TRS Government stopped the Fee-Reimbursement Scheme
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the TRS government stopped the fee reimbursement scheme that was started during the Congress regime.
Fact: The fee reimbursement scheme was started in 2008 by the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Far from stopping the scheme, the TRS government has continued the scheme and the highest ever release (for Telangana) in the last six years under this scheme was made in 2016-17 as per government data. In 2016-17, Rs 1,725.88 crore was released under the ‘Reimbursement of Tuition Fee’ scheme. This is the highest release under this scheme since 2011-12.
Claim: Chilli prices were Rs 12,000 per quintal then. Now it is Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per quintal
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao asked farmers to cultivate alternate crops like chilli and that the price of chilli, which was Rs 12,000 per quintal at one point of time, is Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per quintal now.
Fact: Yes, chilli prices are now at the Rs 3,000 per quintal. But the fluctuation in chilli prices has been a feature since the year 2002 (the year from when the government data is available). The government’s official data shows this fluctuation which was seen almost every year. Even in March 2016, the maximum price for chilli was Rs 18,000 per quintal in Warangal market.
Claim: We will ensure mobiles are made in Telangana if the government can’t do it
Rahul Gandhi said his dream is to ensure that mobiles and other items bear the ‘Made in India’ and ‘Made in Telangana’ mark and asked people to ask the Telangana government to set up new factories.
Fact: As per the annual reports of the Government of Telangana, at least 5 electronic manufacturing companies (including mobile) – Micromax, Celkon, Smartron, Datawind & Thomson – have set up their manufacturing facilities in Telangana in the last 3 years.
Claim: Unemployment rate highest in the last 60 years
Rahul Gandhi claimed that the current employment rate in the country is the highest in the last 60 years and that the Central government had provided such an information in the Parliament in response to a question by a MP from the Congress.
Fact: Though we could not find any such question asked in the Parliament in the recent times that pointed to a 60-year record, the data on unemployment is confusing and unreliable as noted in this article, to come to a conclusion. In February 2017, the Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh admitted in the Rajya Sabha that the unemployment rate in the country was increasing and was at 5%. But a SBI report that was released in March 2017 claims that the unemployment rate in the country went down from 9.5% in August 2016 to 4.8% in February 2017. Hence, the data is confusing and not adequate to come to any conclusion.
Claim: Indira Gandhi provided employment to 1 lakh people in this area
Rahul Gandhi claimed that his grandmother and the former prime minister of India Indira Gandhi developed the Medak area and provided employment to 1 lakh people.
Fact: It is true that the Medak area received a huge boost after Indira Gandhi won from the Medak Lok Sabha seat in 1980. The Patancheru Industrial Park, the Ordinance Factory in Medak were set up during her time as the Medak MP. There is no doubt that these initiatives did provide employment to a large number of people, but the claim of 1 lakh could not be verified due to lack of data.