In the midst of November’s election campaigns, a controversial narrative dubbed “Modi Guarantee” has surfaced, claiming that India has already become the fourth richest country globally under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. This unverified assertion gained momentum, reaching its peak on November 19, as influential figures, including Union minister of law and justice Arjun Ram Meghwal and industrialist Gautam Adani, propagated the false news. Adani went as far as predicting India’s rise to the third-largest global economy in two years, overtaking Japan and Germany. Notably, the narrative persists in election-bound Rajasthan and Telangana, where the BJP aims to sway voters in favour of PM Modi. Criticism led some participants, including Meghwal and Adani, to delete their posts. The false narrative was accompanied by fabricated screenshots displaying live GDP data for over 190 countries, positioning India as the fourth largest economy. Surprisingly, there has been no official statement from the Indian government or any national/international institution to confirm or deny these figures. It’s crucial to highlight that the Rajasthan election, concluding on November 23, is heavily focused on development issues. The Congress party, led by CM Ashok Gehlot, emphasises social development, while the BJP counters with a false growth narrative. Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a key participant from Rajasthan, is actively contributing to this misleading campaign.
As the rumour mill churns, the government’s silence adds to the uncertainty surrounding the authenticity of the claims. Even as India is set to release its GDP data for Q3 2023 by the end of November, the source behind this false narrative remains elusive. Economists estimate India could breach the USD 4 trillion mark by 2024-25, according to government data. However, the IMF suggests achieving a USD 5 trillion economy by 2026-27, contingent on favourable economic conditions. Politically, the rumour machine weaves a deceptive growth narrative, leaving citizens questioning why PM Modi is promoting initiatives like “Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna” if India is indeed the fourth richest country. The contradiction deepens as PM Modi, in violation of the election code, extends free ration until 2028, raising concerns about the real economic status. In this context, PM Modi’s Guarantee takes on a nuanced meaning – wealth creation for the privileged few at the expense of the masses. Despite claims of poverty alleviation, India remains home to the largest number of poor globally. The National Food Security Act, designed to cover 81.35 crore people based on 2011 Census Data, has failed to identify all those in need a decade later in 2023.
Under the PMGKAY initiative, only 80.48 crore people are currently identified, leaving a gap in addressing the nutritional needs of the vulnerable population. World Bank data further underscores the plight of over 97 crore people in India who cannot afford healthy food, prompting scrutiny of the Modi Guarantee’s impact on the common people. As the country approaches the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, these controversies surrounding false narratives and unverified claims underline the need for a discerning electorate. Amidst the clamour for development, the electorate must weigh the rhetoric against concrete actions and factual data to make informed decisions. The unchecked spread of misleading narratives during election campaigns raises concerns about the integrity of information in the public sphere. Citizens must remain vigilant, demanding transparency and verified facts from political leaders.