Lies, half-truths and statistics: Nine big ones of 2018

2018 has been a year of lies and concoctions. And ministers and BJP politicians lead by light years

NH Web Desk

Here are some of the biggest lies FactChecker busted in 2018:

1. 35 airports built over last 4 years: Modi.
Fact: 7 made ‘operational’

On September 24, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Since Independence to 2014, over 67 years, there were 65 airports. i.e. an average of one airport per year whereas for the past four years, on average, nine airports have been built per year.” The Prime Minister said this at the inauguration of Sikkim’s first airport in Pakyong. Only seven airports were made operational between 2014 and 2018. That makes about two airports every year.

2. Jaitley claim on Aadhaar + Direct Benefit Transfer gain of ₹90,000 crore every year is false

On November 2, 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The saving due to Aadhaar and direct benefit transfer is ₹90,000 crore per year. ₹90,000 crore per year means four schemes like Ayushman Bharat (National Health Protection Scheme) can be implemented.”

Finance Minister’s claim was false because as per government data, ₹90,000 crore was saved cumulatively till March 2018, and not every year.

“The government’s estimates of savings do not stand up to scrutiny, and whatever is termed as savings is often the result of a denial of legal entitlements,” Reetika Khera, an economist at IIM-Ahmedabad, wrote in December 2017 in the Economic & Political Weekly.

3. UP CM claim: Govt gave farmers ₹80,000 crore
Fact: It gave 1/6th that amount

On February 19, 2018, in a television interview, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke about his government’s performance over the last 10 months. “In the last 10 months, Uttar Pradesh government has disbursed over ₹80,000 crore to farmers via direct benefit transfer,” Adityanath said.

The UP government gave ₹14,540 crore in 2017-18 as direct benefit transfers (DBT) through 682.5 million transactions, according to the government’s DBT dashboard as accessed on February 21, 2018.

4. Modi: 100 smart cities being built at an expense of ₹2 lakh crore
Fact: 0.09% of the amount spent till March, 2018

“100 smart cities are being developed at an expenditure of over Rs 2 lakh crore,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed as the BJP-led government completed four years in office at the Centre.

In fact, the Union Cabinet had approved less than a quarter of the funds (Rs 48,000 crore) at the launch of the mission in 2015, and till March 2018, only 21% had been disbursed and 1.8% utilised. This amounts to 0.09% of central funds used from the government’s projected budget of Rs 2 lakh crore.

5. No riots in Gujarat, MP, UP and Chhattisgarh after BJP govts in place: Amit Shah
Fact: Completely false.

“After our government was formed in Gujarat, not even a single riot took place. In Madhya Pradesh not a single riot occurred, in Chhattisgarh not a single riot occurred, and in Uttar Pradesh, after our government was formed, riots have stopped,” claimed BJP president Amit Shah.

Gujarat reported 35,568 riots between 1998 and 2016, including the 2002 riots, according to National Crime Records Bureau data. While Madhya Pradesh saw 32,050 riots between 2003 and 2016, when the party was in power, Chhattisgarh saw 12,265 riots during the same period and under BJP rule. Uttar Pradesh reported 195 communal riots in 2017, 10 months after the BJP formed the government, Lok Sabha data show.

6. Minister to Parliament: No data on lynching.
Fact: Here they are (including government’s own)

“The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain specific data with respect to lynching incidents in the country,” Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir told the Rajya Sabha on July 18, 2018.

Between 2014 and March 3, 2018, 45 persons were killed in 40 cases of mob lynching across nine states, and at least 217 persons had been arrested, data compiled by none other than the home ministry show.

In contrast, during the same period, FactChecker’s two databases on mob violence–due to child-lifting rumours and bovine-related religious intolerance–recorded 80 cases where attackers outnumbered the victims. Forty-one deaths were reported in such lynchings. This is without counting other instances of mob violence related to issues such as caste and moral policing.

7. Sadhguru: No bombings in Modi era
Fact: 400 plus in 2016 alone, official data show

“We must know and acknowledge and appreciate and enjoy one thing…that in the last four years there have been no bomb blasts in the country… Whatever is happening is only in the border area and unfortunately in Kashmir,” Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation, was reported as saying in DNA on September 16, 2018.

His claim is false. Hundreds of bombings–more than 400 in 2016 alone, according to government data–were reported nationwide over the four years to 2018.

8. BJP Leaders cite growing Muslim population as threat.
Facts contradict their claims

Two BJP leaders, including a Union Minister, cited increasing Muslim population as a threat, the facts are that Muslim mothers have three children on an average, while Hindus have two, but fertility rates are falling and Muslim population growth is at a 20-year low.

No more than 18.4% of Indians will be Muslim by 2050, and after 32 years, three out of four Indians (75%) will be Hindus, according to a FactChecker analysis of various sources. Fertility rates among Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains are lower than those among Hindus and Muslims.

9. Govt claims rise in “Forest Cover.”
Experts say definition flawed

India’s forest cover increased by 6,778 sq km or 1%–about the size of Sikkim, according to a government report released in 2017. India is among the top 10 countries in terms of forest area, the government has claimed.

Forest experts said the official definition of ‘forest cover’ is flawed: it includes forests converted to commercial plantations, as well as degraded and fragmented forests, and that the health of these forests is gauged by satellite imagery of inadequate resolution.

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