Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech: Of 8 claims made by PM, only 3 promises fulfilled completely

Of eight claims–that we checked–made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in three independence day speeches from 2014 to 2016, three have been kept and five have been partially kept, according to a Factchecker analysis.

Consumer inflation declined, defence pensioners were granted “One Rank One Pension” and pension for freedom fighters were increased but economic growth faltered, area under pulses cultivation did not increase as claimed and the promise to build separate toilets for girls in government schools is marginally short of target as per the promises made by Modi during his three independence day speeches.

Here’s what we found.

1. Claim/Promise: In 2016, Modi claimed inflation rate had declined, GDP had left many economies behind

Reality: Promise partially kept

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew–at constant 2011-12 prices–from 5.5 percent in 2012-13 to 6.5 percent in 2013-14, 7.2 percent in 2014-15, and 7.9 percent in 2015-16. This has now slipped to 7.1 percent in 2016-17, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) on 5 April, 2017.

Consumer price index-based inflation saw a steady decline from 10.2 percent in 2012-13 to 9.5 percent in 2013-14, 5.9 percent in 2014-15, 4.9 percent in 2015-16 to 4.5 percent in 2016-17, according to volume 2 of Economic Survey 2016-17.

Source: Lok Sabha; Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume 2

NOTE: GDP growth rate for 2016-17 upto third quarter

 

2. Claim/Promise: In 2016, Modi claimed the government had completed the work of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ policy for soldiers.

Reality: Promise kept but final installment not paid and some grievances unresolved

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with the school children after addressing the Nation on the occasion of 71st Independence Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with the school children after addressing the Nation on the occasion of 71st Independence Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

In November 2015, the government issued orders for implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, which ensures the same pension for each rank with similar length of service and benefits of future enhancements passed on to past retirees of the Indian army. By April 2017, Rs 8,792 crore was released to 2.1 million defence forces pensioners/ family pensioners as arrears in three installments. Another installment is due for payment in August 2017.

The Justice Reddy committee, which was appointed to look into anomalies arising from the implementation of OROP, submitted its report in October 2016. The government is currently reviewing the recommendations of the committee.

Some ex-servicemen associations have been demanding changes in the methodology for fixation of pension, periodicity of revision and coverage of future pre-mature retirees (PMR), according to to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by the ministry of defence on August 11, 2017.

3. Claim/ Promise: In 2016, Modi praised farmers for increasing sown area of pulses by one-and-half times. He also said government had increased support price for pulses and improved the procurement system to encourage more sowing of pulses.

Reality: Promise partially kept

In 2015-16, when Modi claimed sowing of pulses had grown by one-and-half times or 150 percent, the actual area sown had increased 5.5 percent, from 23.5 million hectares to 24.9 million hectares, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare on 25 July, 2017.

In 2016-17, area of pulses sown grew 17.5 percent to 29.2 million hectares, third advance estimates for the year show.

Since 2015-16, the minimum support price (MSP) had increased for pulses, and the government did institute a bonus of Rs 200 in 2015-16 and Rs 450 in 2016-17.

While the MSP for moong and urad has risen steadily, the MSP for tur dal (pigeon pea), a major agricultural crop, has grown at a lower rate than in 2013-14 when the MSP rose by 11.7 percent.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare


 

While the Prime Minister has claimed that the procurement system has improved since 2015, government procurement centres in rural Maharashtra are riddled with problems of delays due to lack of storage space and poor management, IndiaSpendreported on 8 June, 2017.

4. Claim/Promise: In 2016, Modi said the government would give a 20 percent pension increment to freedom fighters and their families.

Reality: Promise kept

The government is giving family pension to eligible dependents of freedom fighters under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980, administered by the ministry of home affairs.

The pension for ex-Andaman political prisoners/spouses increased around 21 percent from Rs 24,775 to Rs 30,000 in August 2016, and for freedom fighters who suffered outside British India/spouses category from Rs 23,085 to Rs 28,000, according to this reply to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on March 15, 2017.


5. Claim/Promise: In 2016, Modi said that post offices would be converted to payment banks. A June 2016 government press release said that such services would be available through 650 payment bank branches by September 2017.

Reality: Promise partially kept

Since January 30, 2017, India Post Payment Bank (IPPB) is offering savings accounts with a balance of up to Rs 100,000 along with digitally-enabled payments and remittance services after receiving a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

By March 2017, IPPB had opened two pilot branches in Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Ranchi in Jharkhand with eight points of access.

Department of Posts has also installed 976 ATMs, which are mostly located in rural areas of India, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by the ministry of communications on March 29, 2017.

By September 2017, services will be available across the country through 650 payments bank branches, linked post offices and alternative channels riding on modern technology including mobiles, ATMs, PoS/ m-PoS devices and simple digital payments, according to this government press release in June 2016. Data on the progress towards this target are unavailable.

6. Claim/Promise: In 2015, Modi said 18,500 villages did not have electricity. “Team India aims to complete the work of providing electricity in all these villages within the period of 1,000 days,” he said.

Reality: Promise partially kept

Of 18,452 unelectrified villages, 76.58 percent or 14,132 villages were electrified in around 750 days from July 2015, when the scheme was launched, (as of June 2017), according to government data.

Of the electrified villages, every household in 8 percent – or 1,145 – villages had an electricity connection, according to data in the power ministry’s Grameen Vidyutikaran (GARV) dashboard.

A village is considered electrified if electricity is provided in public places such as schools, panchayat offices, health centres, dispensaries and community centres, and at least 10 percent of households, according to the criteria used by the power ministry since October 1997.

So, a village can be considered electrified if 90 percent of its households do not have electricity, IndiaSpendreported on 26 May, 2017.

fact-checker-indiaspend

7. Claim/Promise: In 2015, Modi said cooking gas subsidies deposited in bank accounts saved the government Rs 15,000 crore.
Reality: Promise kept
The implementation of Pratyaksh Hasthantarit Labh (PAHAL) or direct benefit transfer scheme for transfer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy resulted in saving an estimated Rs 14,818 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 6,443 crore during 2015-16, according to the Annual Report 2016-17 of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.

The government plans to eliminate subsidy on LPG, Livemint reported on August 1, 2017. Fuel retailers will be able to raise effective price of LPG by Rs 4 per cylinder from 1 June till the subsidy is eliminated, the report said.

8. Claim/Promise: In 2014, Modi promised separate toilets for girls in all govt schools in a year

Reality: Promise partially kept

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to keep his promise of building separate toilets for girls in all government schools for the third year now.

As of 2015-16, the year for which latest data are available, about 2 percent of toilets in government schools were dysfunctional and 5 percent of girls’ toilets were dysfunctional, according to data from the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, a central government university.

Toilets In Government Schools 2015-16*
Total government schoolsFunctional toiletsFunctional girls’ toiletsSchools with toiletsSchools with girls’ toilets
1,170,90297.60%95.33%95.39%97.96%

Source: Unified District Information System for Education

NOTE: *Data unavailable for Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh

 

As many as 5 percent of government schools didn’t have toilets and 2 percent didn’t have separate toilets for girls, the 2015-16 data show.

In his 2015 speech, Modi had wrongly claimed that the government had “now nearly achieved the target of building (425,000 toilets in 262,000 schools)”, FactCheckerreported on 12 September, 2015.

Under the Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan, “4,17,796 toilets including 1.91 lakh girls toilets were constructed/re-constructed in 2,61,400 government schools in one year alone by 15 August, 2015”, according to this reply to the Rajya Sabha by Upendra Kushwaha, minister of state for human resource development, on 10 August, 2017.


Published Date: Aug 15, 2017 11:59 am | Updated Date: Aug 15, 2017 11:59 am


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