A rural road connecting villages Bijupara and Khalari in Jharkhand. Contrary to the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson’s claims, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the government’s decade-and-a-half-old rural roads scheme got a financial assistance of Rs 22,000 crore in 2010-11, under the previous government, 15% more than the budgeted amount of Rs 19,000 crore in 2016-17.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Anil Baluni claimed in an op-ed in the Indian Express on August 23, 2016, that the two-year-old National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government “has not only met the goals it set two years ago, but good governance and efficient management has led some ministries to raise their targets.”
FactChecker analysed the eight claims made by the ruling party spokesperson, and found some correct. Most were either incorrect or exaggerated.
“Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had launched Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Programme, or PMGSY) but there was not much progress under the scheme in the 10 years of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule. The Modi government has given a fresh momentum to the scheme. It has also given an impetus to the construction of rural roads.”
Fact: Spending on rural roads peaked in 2010-11, the second year of the second term of the UPA government, at Rs 22,400 crore ($ 5 billion). Under the current NDA spending was Rs 19,000 crore ($ 3 billion). The pace of construction fell under the NDA.
Road projects cleared peaked in 2008-09 during the tenure of the previous government.
Source: Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting System, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, * targeted
Roads built under PMGSY peaked in 2009-10 at 60,000 km; 36,000 km of roads were completed in 2015-16.
Inhabitations–villages, hamlets–connected by these roads were higher in 2008-09, when close to 15,000 were linked, the highest ever.
Verdict: The statement is false; the UPA did better
Claim #2A: National highways building slow under UPA, speeded up by NDA
“The previous government expanded national highways at the rate of 3.4 km per day. “
Fact: The average pace of construction was around 12 km per day under UPA-II (2009 to 2014), which reached 16 km per day in 2012-13.
The NDA government built 17 km of national highway per day in 2015-16, 42% more than the UPA, according to data from questions answered in the Parliament.
The NDA government, based on public-private partnerships, has invested the highest amount ever—Rs 60,000 crore ($9.2 billion)—on national highways.
Verdict: The statement is false; the UPA was building 12 km of national highway per day in its second term (2009-2014), according to available data, 200% more than the spokesperson’s figure
Claim #2B: The national-highway building target will rise 60% to 32 km per day
“The Modi government has raised the highways building target to 20 km per day. This has been achieved, and the government has further raised the rate of expanding the national highway to 32 km per day.”
Fact:The latest target for building roads (2016-17) is 25,000 km in 24-36 months (two to three years), according to data presented to the Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower house. If this target is met in three years, 23 km will be built per day; if the target is met in two years, the pace will be 35 km per day.
Verdict: The target set is correct, according to available information
Claim #3: Three times more rail track built under NDA than UPA
“During the UPA’s tenure, railroads were increased at a rate of 2.3 km per day. The Modi government increased this to 8 km per day. The government has achieved this target as well and is now contemplating to increase railroads at the rate of 10 km per day.”
Fact: The government has targeted 2,800 km of new rail track in 2016-17; that’s over 7 km per day, against an average of about 4.3 km per day over the last six years, 1.6 times the pace set by the UPA, not three times, as the spokesperson claimed.
The pace will increase to about 13 km per day in 2017-18 and 19 km per day in 2018-19, according toRailway Budget 2016-17.
Verdict: The claim is false, based on available data
Claim#4: Financial inclusion increased under NDA
“The PM’s monitoring ensured that 21 crore new bank accounts were opened in what is the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme.”
Fact: As many as 23.7 crore accounts have been opened so far under the Jan Dhan Yojana (People’s Wealth Programme).
The proportion of “zero-balance accounts”, or accounts with no money, declined from 75% of all accounts in December 2014 to 25% in June 2016, IndiaSpend reported in June 2016.
Verdict: The statement is correct
Claim #5: Target of getting cooking-gas (liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG) cylinders to 75% of households in three years likely to be reached in two
“PM Modi had appealed that the rich should consider giving up the subsidy on LPG cylinders so that the government could distribute them to five crore (50 million) poor households. The target was to take LPG cylinders to 75% households in the country in three years. This target is likely to be attained in less than two years.”
Fact: While the government has cancelled 12.2 million duplicate LPG connections, 10.4 million LPG consumers have given up subsidies.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana (Prime Minister’s Scheme for LPG Access, PMUY) aims to provide LPG to 50 million women from households classified as being below the poverty line (BPL) in three years, with a target of 1.4 million connections per month.
The PMUY has provided 1.7 million families with cooking gas in three months—570,000 connections per month—below the required rate of achievement.
As many as 6.2 million new BPL connections have been given through corporate social responsibility activities of oil companies, such as Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum.
Verdict: Unclear if the target will be reached
Claim #6: Pace of village electrification allows universal-electrification target to be moved up by three years
“So far, more than 8,000 villages have been connected with the electricity grid. The government promised to provide 24X7 electricity to every household by 2022. This target has now been brought forward to March 2019.”
Fact: About 10,000 villages have been electrified, but as IndiaSpend reported in August 2016, in only 8% (845 of 10,187) of these villages do all households have electricity, as of September 12, 2016. No more than 4,905 of 10,000 electrified villages have distribution wires that reach all households, according togovernment data.
So, the government has to install wires to carry electricity to homes in 52% of already electrified villages and electrify all homes in 92% partially electrified villages.
Verdict: The statement is true, but the measurements are flawed
Claim #7: NDA has increased nuclear and thermal power capacity
“The government has increased the country’s nuclear power capacity, overcoming the obstacles created by China.Thermal power production has also increased.”
Fact: The rate of growth (compounded annual growth rate) in coal-powered electricity increased from 8.5% per year during the UPA regime to 12% under the NDA, according to our analysis of available data. The rate of growth in nuclear power rose from 6.5% per year over 10 years of the UPA to 10% now.
While power generation from coal and nuclear-power plants has increased, the share of thermal power has increased, as nuclear power’s share has fallen over the last three years, despite 1,000 MW (Kudankulam project) of nuclear power added.
The “availability factor” of nuclear power plants—a measure of their running time—has reduced from 90% in 2010-13 to 76% in 2016-17 (till May 2016).
The “capacity factor” of nuclear power (a measure of lost time, fuel efficiency and power consumed by the generating plant) has reduced, from 83% in the last year of the UPA II government to 75% in 2015-16 and 74% in 2016-17 (till May 2016).
Verdict: True on capacity, false on performance
Claim #8: Coal availability in power plants
“During the UPA government’s tenure, thermal power plants had only seven days of fuel, but now all such plants have at least 30 days of fuel.”
Fact: Coal stocks in thermal power plants have improved over the last three years, according to dataprovided by Central Electricity Authority.
Verdict: The statement is correct
Note: INR – USD conversion is approximate, for example 1 USD = 65 INR for 2015-16 onwards, and 1 USD = 48 INR for 2009-10
(Waghmare is an analyst with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)