Five Big Modilies That The PM Has Gotten Away With (Almost)
Using a digital camera and email in 1988 is a much, much smaller fish in this deep blue sea.
“Who says facts are facts?” – Vivek Agnihotri, Filmmaker, Author, Urban Naxal expert
History will remember Narendra Modi‘s tenure as prime minister (2014-2019) for many things, but lies will surely be at the top of that list. Modi’s rule of India ushered in what can arguably be called the age of fake news. But the prevalence of lies in the discourse of the electorate (catalysed by functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party) can still find its inspiration in the supreme leader himself.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the Prime Minister, saying that there was a new word in the dictionary ‘Modilies’ meaning to lie incessantly and habitually. While we wish that this was another political pot-shot, it isn’t because the Prime Minister does, in fact, lie constantly. Aside from fact-checking websites that often bust the PM’s false claims, a website called modilies.in is exclusively devoted to keeping track of his lies since 2014.
There’s a new word in the English Dictionary. Attached is a snapshot of the entry 🙂 pic.twitter.com/xdBdEUL48r
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 15, 2019
Lies like using digital cameras and email before they came into existence are only the tip of the iceberg. Narendra Modi has and continues to spread misinformation, bolster his achievements with a generous helping of fiction and openly makes fraudulent claims with little concern for what the truth is. Here is a shortlist of five such big lies.
Rs 2 lakh crore of black money reached banks
On November 8, 2016, a night that will forever live in infamy, PM Modi had addressed his “brothers and sisters” across the nation and had said, “To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the five hundred rupee and thousand rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is November 8, 2016… The five hundred and thousand rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper.”
Aside from causing nationwide panic, deaths, endless serpentine clues outside ATMs and a profound impact on the economy, especially the informal sectors, did the demonetisation drive manage to “break the grip of corruption and black money”? No.
On the black money front, as of 2018, over 99 per cent of cash had returned to the banking system. The total value of invalidated Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at the time of demonetisation was Rs 15.44 lakh crore, out of which only Rs 16,000 crore did not make its way back to the RBI.
In fact, the board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), hours before the announcement on November 8, had warned of the short-term negative impact of demonetisation on the Indian economy and observed that the unprecedented move would not have any material effect on tackling black money. “Most of the black money is held not in the form of cash but in the form of real sector assets such as gold or real estate and that this move would not have a material impact on those assets,” the board observed in its 561st meeting held in Delhi.
In fact, on Independence Day in 2017, PM Modi had said that more than Rs 1.75 lakh crores that had been deposited in the banks was under the scanner, and Rs 2 lakh crore of black money had reached banks. Neither Modi nor the government gave any explanation of these figures and that a Reserve Bank of India report estimated that “excess deposits”, not unaccounted income, as being between Rs 2.7 lakh crore and Rs 4.3 lakh crore. Additionally, R Gandhi, a former RBI deputy governor, told Firstpost, it would not be before March 2018 when the RBI completes the counting of old demonetised notes that returns to the banking system. One has to wonder how the did the PM have an estimate of black money even before the RBI was done with the counting?
Did any major blast take place in the last five years of your chowkidar‘s chowkidari?
In Bengaluru, on April 13, 2019, PM Modi said, “Did any major blast take place in the last five years of your chowkidar‘s chowkidari? It was the power of your one vote that made it possible.”
He made a similar claim on April 6 at Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. But does repeating something over and over make it true? No.
As per government data, between the years 2014-2018, the incidents of deaths of security personnel in terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir has increased by 93 per cent. Forty-seven security personnel were killed in terrorist attacks in the state in 2014, and in 2018, this number had risen to 91. Similarly, there has been an increase of 176 per cent in the number of terrorist attacks in the state. While there were 222 such incidents in 2014, 2018 saw 614 terrorist incidents.
As per FactChecker.in, as many as 174 IED blasts took place in India in 2018, which claimed 108 lives; as well as 244 in 2017 that killed 61. It also added that there had been 406 “blast incidents” (337 IEDs and 69 explosive ordnance) nationwide in 2016, according to data collected by the National Security Guard’s National Bomb Data Centre.
The Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of more than 40 CRPF jawans, was one of the deadliest terror attacks India has witnessed and it is an undeniable example of both negligence and national security failure.
After 67 years of Independence, electricity reached only about 70% rural households
Narendra Modi’s modus operandi involves both the exaggeration of his own claims, mixed with the downgrading of the achievements of other — Nehru-Gandhi — governments. In December 2018, Narendra Modi took to Twitter to assert that, “Think about it, even after 67 years of Independence, electricity connections reached only about 70 per cent rural households and, now, in the last four years alone 95 per cent of rural households have received an electricity connection.”
That’s, of course, untrue. As per FactChecker.in, when the BJP came to power in 2014, 97 per cent of the villages were already electrified — only about 18,452 or three per cent were left to be connected to the grid. The UPA government, between 2005 and 2014, had connected about 108,280 or 18 per cent of all Indian villages.
And despite Modi’s claims of electrification, a 2018 survey of 360,000 villages by the central rural development ministry found more than 14,700 villages without electricity for domestic use. In April 2018, 100 per cent of Indian villages were declared electrified by the BJP government, and soon after the announcement, an India Today report found across states, several villages were yet to receive electricity. The Ministry of Power then clarified that it had brought electricity only to census villages.
What is more wondrous, is that a Scroll investigation found that the 100 per cent electrification goal was achieved only trough slashing targets. From April to January, targets in Uttar Pradesh fell from 1.98 crore homes to 74.4 lakh. This, claims Scroll.in, happened in almost all states. The report read, “In absolute numbers, as of January, Bihar has reduced its target the most, from 1.6 crore households to 35 lakh households, which is a reduction of 1.28 crore households or 79 per cent. According to the Saubhagya dashboard, Bihar, too, has achieved 100 per cent electrification. Haryana has reduced its targets by 81.5 per cent, Karnataka by 76.39 per cent and Andhra Pradesh by 72.83 per cent.”
India would have taken 40 more years to reach the universal coverage under immunisation
In March 2018, Modi stated, “I do not want to criticise anyone, but I want to tell you about our immunisation programme here. Immunisation in India has been going on for 30-35 years. Nevertheless, until 2014, we were unable to achieve the goal of complete coverage. If we had continued with the same pace, India would have taken 40 more years to reach the universal coverage under immunisation.”
According to data available through the National Family Health Surveys (between 1992-93 and 2015-16), immunisation coverage rose by, on average, 19.6 percentage points per cycle (separated by, on average, 7.6 years). FactChecker.in, analysing this data, found that India would have 92 per cent immunisation by 2029, and complete immunisation in less than 20 years — by 2037.
Apart from that, Modi’s intensified push for Mission Indradhanush, a rebranding of the Indian immunisation programme has hit snags on the ways. Earlier this year, The Print had reported that the BJP government was facing an acute shortage of both kinds of vaccines — oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccines (IPV).
in 2014, only 56% of rural habitations were connected by road
In January this year, PM Modi made yet another claim that had little basis in reality. He said, “When we formed the government, only 56 per cent of rural habitations were connected by a road. Today more than 90 per cent of rural habitations are connected by road. I am sure that we will definitely achieve the target of 100 per cent soon.”
The truth is, as of January 2019, almost 79 per cent of rural habitations were connected by a road, and not 90 per cent, as PM Modi claimed. FactChecker.in found that while roads joined 53 per cent of rural habitations in 2014, according to data on the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Portal, it rose to 79 per cent (147,996 of the total 186,425) in January 2019.