On January 14, Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan released a list of candidates for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections. While addressing the media at this event, Pradhan made a number of claims on UP’s growth under the Chief Minister Adityanath-led government.
His claims ranged from houses built for the underprivileged to women’s safety. FactChecker verified six quantifiable claims he made and found most to be false.
“UP has the highest number of houses built for the poor in the country [Aaj desh mein gareebon ke liye jo makaan bane hain, wo UP mein sabse zyada hain],” claimed Pradhan (at timestamp 3.55 in the above video).
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban and PMAY-Gramin are affordable housing schemes for the urban and rural poor. Official records show that while UP does have the highest number of houses built for the poor in urban areas, but not in rural areas. Over 9.82 lakh houses have been built and delivered to the poor in the state’s urban areas as of January 3, according to the official state-wise progress report of PMAY-U. With 6.29 lakh homes constructed, Gujarat stood second.
In rural areas, Pradhan’s claim does not hold true as West Bengal has the highest number of houses built under PMAY-G. As of December 20, 2021, the total number of houses completed in the two phases of PMAY-G in UP was 23.04 lakh and in West Bengal, this number was 30.2 lakh.
Moreover, when houses built in rural and urban areas are totalled, West Bengal tops the list with 33.06 lakh, while UP stands second with 32.86 lakh houses.
“If the tap water has reached the most in any state, it is in Uttar Pradesh [Nal main paani sabse zyada kisi prant main pahochi hai, to wo UP main pahochi hai],” claimed Pradhan (at timestamp 4.02 in the video).
Since Pradhan did not specifically claim if, according to him, UP has highest number of tap water connections overall or just under the Jal Jeevan Mission, FactChecker looked at both sets of data. But, we found that UP does not receive the most tap water connections.
As of January 18, under Jal Jeevan Mission, which started on August 15, 2019, tap water connections have been provided to 29.81 lakh homes among the total of 2.62 crore households in the state. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the mission, Bihar’s 1.49 crore households have received tap water connections, 38.37 lakh in Telangana, 49.5 lakh in Maharashtra, 32.11 lakh in MP and 33 lakh households in Odisha have been supplied tap water.
Moreover, the most populous state has the lowest coverage of tap water supply in the country as just above 13% of homes have tap water connections, as of January 18. Even in the number of homes with tap water connections, UP stands 10th with 34.97 lakh households after Bihar (1.52 crore), Maharashtra (97.94 lakh), Gujarat (82.93 lakh), Telangana (54.06 lakh), Tamil Nadu (50.72 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (49.26 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (45.64 lakh), Karnataka (44.34 lakh) and Odisha (36.10 lakh).
So, neither in coverage nor in number, does UP have the highest number of tap water connections.
“State has tightened the noose on the rule of goons, riots and corruption. The biggest example of this is that women in UP can roam around past midnight without any fear [Gundaraj, dange, bhrastachar pe nakel kasa hai, aur iska sabze bada udahran hai ki UP ki bahu-betiyan raat ko baara baje bhi nidar ghoom sakti hain],” claimed Pradhan (timestamp 5.18).
Since Pradhan here refers to the safety of women in UP, FactChecker looked at National Crime Records Bureau data only to find that the highest number of crimes against women were committed in UP.
Uttar Pradesh recorded 49,385 crimes against women in 2020, which means that 13.81% of all the crimes committed against women in the country that year were registered in UP. West Bengal stood second with 39,439 crimes against women.
While, in 2020, crimes against women in UP have reduced by 17.48% since the previous year, the state had registered the highest number of these crimes in 2019 too (59,853).
In fact, UP ranked first in the number of registered cases of murder with rape/gang rape (31), dowry deaths (2,302), kidnappings and abductions (9,257), crimes under the Dowry Prohibition Act (3,064), publishing or transmitting of sexually explicit material (325) and crimes under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (6,722 girl child victims). The state stood second in the highest number of registered cases of rape (2,796 women) and victims of cruelty by husband or his relative (14,533).
“In 2017, riots had become a daily occurrence. But I can say that in the past five years, the Yogi-led government has made UP a riot-free state [2017 main UP main dange rozmarra ki ghatna ban chuki thi. Mein zimmedari ke saath keh sakta hu ki pichle 5 saalon mein UP ek danga-mukt shaasan hai jo Yogiji ki Sarkar ne diya hai],” claimed Pradhan, who holds (timestamp 5.42).
In fact, NCRB data show that Uttar Pradesh saw a 7.2% surge in rioting cases since 2019 (approximately 16 cases every day). The state registered 6,126 cases of riots in 2020, 5,714 in 2019, 8,908 in 2018 and 8,990 in 2017.
“The world’s largest airport is being built in UP [Vishwa ka sabse bada airport Uttar Pradesh ban raha hai],” claimed Pradhan (timestamp 6.33).
Pradhan is referring to Noida International Airport, which is being constructed in Jewar, Greater Noida and has been touted as the biggest before. A similar claim was made by the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia and the Union Minister Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports Anurag Thakur in November 2021, who had said Noida International Airport will be the largest airport in Asia. Since all three ministers did not specify if they were referring to the passenger capacity, size, or air traffic movement of Noida International Airport, FactChecker report in November 2021 proved that Noida International Airport will not be the world’s (or even Asia’s) largest airport in any of the three factors. Here is how:
- Annual Passenger Capacity: The 1,334-hectare Noida International Airport is estimated to have an annual passenger capacity of 7 crore, but Airports Council International data showed that there are seven airports in Asia that host over 7 crore passengers in 2019. In fact, in 2019, 15 airports in the world reported a passenger traffic of over 7 crore.
- Size: The Noida International Airport is estimated to be spread over 1,334 hectares. King Fahd International Airport in the United Arab Emirates holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest airport with an area of 78,000 hectares.
- Air Traffic Movement: While Noida International Airport is estimated to have a total air traffic movement of 4,89,700 annually, three Chinese airports (Beijing Capital International Airport, Pudong International Airport in Shanghai and Guangzhou BaiYun International Airport) in 2019 reported aircraft movements greater than that.
“UP was known as a ‘BIMARU’ state, and now, it is the country’s top state, which, under the leadership of CM Yogi and PM Modi is growing [UP ek BIMARU rajya jana jata tha, vo UP aaj desh ka ek number ka rajya hai jo Yogiji aur Modiji ke netritva mein aur aage badh raha hai],” claimed Pradhan (timestamp 6.50).
This is not the first time such a claim is being made or debunked. The term BIMARU, resembling the Hindi word “bimar” or sick, was coined by demographer Ashish Bose in the early 1980s to define Indian states that were among the worst in health and demographic indicators. It was used almost synonymously to depict the bad socio-economic performances of these four states: Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and UP.
While UP has made progress in most social indicators, the state continues to remain poor as the gaps between UP, southern states and the national average persisted in most of the indicators, shows National Family Health Survey-5.
- The birth rate of UP remains higher than the national average. The state’s total fertility rate (2.4) ranks second highest after Bihar (3) among BIMARU states and is yet to match the national fertility rate of 2. With nearly 50 infants dying per 1,000 live births in 2020-2021, UP recorded the worst child mortality rate.
- The share of fully vaccinated children in UP in the 12-23 month age group is higher than 2015-16, but still six percentage points lower than the national average of 76.4%.
- Only 6.1% of children between 6 months to 23 months receive an adequate diet in the state. This places UP at the bottom among BIMARU states. As many as 40% children are stunted in UP and 17.3% children wasted.
- India’s average literacy rate is 77.7% and UP’s is at 73%, according to ‘Household Social Consumption on Education in India’, a study conducted by National Statistical Office.
- UP has also seen a rise in female population aged six years and above who ever attended school – from 63% in 2015-16 to 67.4% in 2020-’21. But this, too, remains lower than the national average of 71.8%.
FactChecker tried contacting Pradhan at the ministries of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, which are the portfolios he holds. But, he was unavailable there. We have sent him an email for clarification on the claims he made and this story will be updated once we receive a response.
This article first appeared on FactChecker.in, a publication of the data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit IndiaSpend.