New Delhi: On completing four years in government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released an advertisement campaign claiming several achievements under prime minister Narendra Modi.
Of the 15 claims we checked (related to crop insurance, rural roads, and agricultural credit and production), eight were true, one partly true, five false and one unclear.
We emailed detailed questionnaires to agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, transport minister Nitin Gadkari and rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar on June 4, 2018. There have been no replies so far. The story will be updated if and when they respond.
Claim 1: In the four year years to 2017-18, 169,000 km of rural roads built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Scheme).
Fact: True. In the last four financial years, 168,984 km rural roads were built under the scheme, according to an official release on April 16, 2018.
Claim 2: Rural roads’ connectivity jumped 26 percentage points to 82% in 2018 from 56% in 2014.
Fact: True. Till 2017, 130,974 of the 178,184 eligible habitations (73%) under the scheme were connected and another 14,620 (9%) were connected under various state schemes, bringing the total up to 82%, according to a rural development ministry release on December 15, 2017.
At 55%, 97,838 habitations were connected under the scheme till 2013-14, according to rural development ministry data.
Claim 3: The Modi government released Rs 41,655 crore to states under the rural roads scheme between 2014-15 and 2016-17 compared to Rs 25,558 crore in three years to 2013-14.
Fact: True. At Rs 41,654.11 crore, the Modi government released Rs 16,095.55 crore or 63% more than the previous government to states under the scheme in the claimed periods, according to this 2016 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), India’s official auditor, and this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar on February 8, 2018.
Claim 4: Under the crop insurance scheme, 40.1 million farmers were insured in kharif (monsoon crop) 2016 against 20.9 million in kharif 2013.
Fact: True. Farmers insured under the scheme increased 92% between the two kharif crops, according to a February 2018 report from the Indian Council For Research On International Economic Relations (ICRIER), an economic policy think tank in New Delhi.
Claim 5: Farmers can claim compensation if their crop is at least 33% damaged against 50% earlier.
Fact: True. The government reduced the threshold for claiming compensation for crop damaged because of natural calamities to 33% from 50% earlier, according to this reply to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) by minister of state for agriculture Mohan Kundariya on July 31, 2015.
Claim 6: Foodgrain and horticulture production were at record high of 275 million tonne and 300 million tonnes, respectively.
Fact: True. The fourth advance estimates of 2016-17 pegged foodgrain production at 275.6 million tonne, according to an official release on August 16, 2017.
The final estimates for 2016-17 saw horticulture production at 300.6 million tonne, according to this official release on January 2, 2018.
Claim 7: The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (Traditional Farming Development Scheme) has brought 45,863 ha under organic farming, created 2,406 farmer interest groups and enrolled 44,064 farmers in the northeast.
Fact: True. Under the scheme, 48,146 ha have been covered, 46,842 farmers enrolled and 2,376 groups created in the northeast, according to this reply by agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh to the Rajya Sabha on August 4, 2017.
Claim 8: In three years to 2016-17, the Modi government built 120,233 km rural roads against 80,471 km built in three years to 2013-14.
Fact: True. In three years to 2016-17, the current government built 120,233 km under the rural roads scheme, while the previous government built 80,540 km, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha by rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar on February 8, 2018.
Claim 9: Area under micro-irrigation doubled from 430,000 ha in 2013-14 to 830,000 ha in 2016-17.
Fact: Partly true. Area under micro-irrigation has doubled between 2013-14 and 2016-17 but the BJP’s figures are off by a multiple of 10 with the area having increased to 8.6 million ha from 4.2 million ha, according to this report from the National Institution for Transformation of India Aayog, India’s official policy think tank, and this reply to the Lok Sabha by agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on December 2, 2014.
Claim 10: Leading the country in carrier-based (through microorganisms) biofertiliser output, the northeast produced 55,036.4064 tonne in 2015, higher than any other region in India.
Fact: False. It’s the southern states that produced 55,036 tonne carrier-based biofertilisers in 2015-16, not northeastern, show data from the National Centre of Organic Farming, the nodal agency for implementing the National Project on Organic Farming under the agriculture ministry. The northeastern states have not been a leader in biofertliser output since at least 2010-11.
Claim 11: At 38.8 million hectare, area insured under the crop insurance scheme in kharif (monsoon crop) 2016 rose 41% from 27.6 million ha in kharif 2013.
Fact: False. The area insured rose 36%, 5 percentage points lower than claimed, to 37.5 million ha in kharif 2016, according to this 2017 CAG report and this reply by minister of state for agriculture and farmers’ welfare Parshottam Rupala to the Lok Sabha on February 7, 2017.
Claim 12: Sum insured under the crop insurance scheme rose to Rs 1,35,190 crore in kharif 2016 from Rs 49,454 crore in kharif 2013.
Fact: False. The sum insured under the scheme increased to Rs 1,28,985 crore in kharif 2016, Rs 6,205 crore less than claimed, from Rs 49,454 crore in kharif 2013, according to replies to the Lok Sabha by ministers of state for agriculture and farmers’ welfare Parshottam Rupala on February 7, 2017 and Mohanbhai Kundariya on December 15, 2015.
Claim 13: Agricultural commodities worth Rs 36,000 crore have been traded on the e-NAM.
Fact: False. Rs 31,424 crore worth agri-commodities had been traded on eNAM, according to its dashboard, accessed on June 5, 2018.
eNAM or electronic National Agriculture Market was launched on April 14, 2016 to create a single market for agricultural commodities by bringing agriculture produce markets on a common online platform.
Claim 14: Substantial increase in area under organic farming to 2 million ha in 2014-17 from 723,000 ha in 2011-14.
Fact: False. The area under organic farming actually fell since Modi became prime minister in 2014 to 4.9 million ha from 6.8 million ha in the three previous years, according to government data (click here, here and here).
Claim 15: At 134 km a day in 2017-18 and 130 km in 2016-17, the Modi government built rural roads under the rural roads scheme at almost double the pace of 69 km a day in 2013-14 under the Manmohan Singh government.
Fact: Unclear. Though an official release on April 16, 2018, corroborated the figures for 2017-18 and 2016-17, the rural development ministry’s third annual review, in January 2018, of the rural roads scheme said the figure for the last financial year was much lower at 90 km a day.
(Vivek is an analyst with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)
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