Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the occasion of 72nd Anniversary of Indian Independence from the historic Red Fort. While citizens had high expectations from PM Modi’s speech but he took this opportunity to speak highly of the government’s achievements and made it more a Virtual Campaign than Independence Day speech. His address sounded more like BJP’s election campaign and as usual, his jumlas continued. Modi has forgotten that he is the Prime Minister of the country and not an election campaigner for BJP. We have seen India’s past prime ministers remembering the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters to achieve independence or the contribution of individuals from different sectors of the nation. Modi too paid respect to the freedom fighters; however, his speech was more focused about the surgical strikes carried out during the NDA government’s reign.
Modi used this occasion to highlight the achievements of his government in the past four years. The PM stated that the government has lived up to the promises offered to the electorate. Modi has been known for his oratory skills and connecting with people with his speeches but his government has failed to provide good governance. Thus, the PM has delivered a political speech on the occasion of the Independence Day which failed to strike a chord among the citizens. Here are some of the statements made by PM Modi pertaining to the development and governance on the Independence Day as we undertake a reality check to find out the truth.
Jumla 1 — Modi stated that his government had taken a bold decision to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will pave way for the nation’s growth.
Fact Check — The hastily implemented GST had caused inconvenience to the businessmen at large as several establishments had shut down and incurred severe losses. Businessmen also had complained about the cumbersome procedure to file returns initially, as the government had to intervene to streamline the filing process for making it taxpayer friendly. The net revenue loss due to the reduction of tax on GST has been about Rs 70,000 crore till now.
Jumla 2 — The PM stated about his government’s endeavour to double farmers income by 2022. He said that the government is trying to revive the agricultural sector by adopting new technologies. Through the ‘Beej Se Bazar Tak’ approach, the government is trying to bring remarkable changes in the agriculture sector.
Fact Check — According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 8,007 farmers have committed suicide in 2015 as compared to 5,650 in 2014. The government might be announcing various schemes for the welfare of the farmers but it has been unable to curb farmer suicides across the nation.
Jumla 3 — According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 3,00,000 children have been saved due to Swachh Bharat Mission. If this scheme was not launched, those 3,00,000 children could have died.
Fact Check — The WHO report states that 3,00,000 children will be saved only by the end of Swacch Bharat in 2019. Moreover, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu just a few days back showed his disappointment over ‘persisting malnutrition in the country at unacceptable levels’ and said, “There is no improvement despite the efforts taken by successive governments at the Centre and in various states, which is quite distressing.”
Jumla 4 — Modi had stated that if his government were to construct toilets and electrify villages at the same pace which was happening during the reign of the UPA government, then it would have taken the former decades to complete them.
Fact Check — The Congress-led UPA government had connected 1,08,280 villages to grid between 2005-2006 and 2013-14 or an average of about 12,000 villages every year. The electrification of remaining 18,374 villages was done during the NDA government’s reign in four years or about 4,600 villages every year. Thus, the UPA government could have undertaken 100 per cent electrification in far less than a decade.
Jumla 5 — The government had taken several steps to curb corruption and black money but he forgot to mention how premature was the decision of demonetisation and how many people lost their lives.
Fact Check — Earlier, he had mentioned that demonetisation was a bold step taken by the government to eliminate black money. Everyone is aware how citizens had to face huge hardships by standing in the queues outside banks. 105 people have lost their lives due to note ban.
Jumla 6 – India has taken initiative to crackdown rape incidents.
Fact Check — The nation had already witnessed a massive outrage over the gruesome Kathua and Unnao rape incidents. While the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to award death sentence to the accused convicted of raping children up to 12 years, it won’t deter rapists from committing the crime. There is a need to change people’s mindset first instead of framing laws.
Jumla 7 — The PM spoke about resolving every problem faced by Jammu and Kashmir “by embracing all, not by goli and gaali”. He added that the government is committed to the development of all regions of the state.
Fact Check — If BJP was really serious about the development of Jammu and Kashmir, why did it sever ties with People’s Demo-cratic Party (PDP) in the state? BJP has been blaming the PDP for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Jumla 8 — By 2022, or if possible, before that, India will launch a manned spaceflight. India will become the fourth country in the world to conduct a manned space mission.
Fact Check — Indian Space Research Organisation is preparing for a manned mission and it has also tested a crew escape team, a critical technology for human spaceflight, on July 5, 2018. However, mentioning about 2022, PM Modi indirectly hinted you that he needs more time and term to work.
Jumla 9 – India has become the sixth largest economy of the world and the Indian economy has managed to make space to grab attention in the international arena.
Fact Check – Earlier PM Modi had criticised the UPA government for weak Rupee against Dollar but just a day before the Independence Day, Indian Rupee hit its all-time low at 70/USD. However, the Prime Minister had forgotten to include this downfall in his speech.
And the jumla goes on…
By Suraj Chandran & Moumita Mukherjee