In a programme organised by Aaj Tak called Panchayat Aaj Tak on the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made several claims while boasting about the state's development. He spoke about unemployment, hunger deaths, toilets and even riots.
FactChecker verified his claims against official data and found all of them to be either false or misleading.
Claim 1: "Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state, but UP has the least unemployment rate."
Fact: False. Sikkim is the only state with 0% unemployment rate, according to July 2021 data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). This means nearly everyone in Sikkim was employed in the month of July. It is followed by Meghalaya (0.4%), Odisha (1.1%), Gujarat (1.8%), Assam (1.9%) as states with the lowest unemployment in the country.
At 5%, Uttar Pradesh ranks 13th in lowest unemployment rate. Overall, as of July 2021, Haryana (28.1%) has the highest unemployment rate in the country, followed by Goa (21.4%) and Rajasthan (21%).
Claim 2: "Before March 2017, reports of hunger death used to come from UP. But after that, not one person has died of hunger in the state."
There is no record of such data. According to several responses given in the Rajya Sabha, The Department of Food & Public Distribution has not defined starvation or hunger death. In fact, in another response on December 5, 2019, over death of children due to malnourishment, the Centre had said, "The data on number of deaths of children in the country is not maintained by this Ministry [Women & Child Development]. Malnutrition is a multi-faceted problem and is not a direct cause of death but contributes to mortality and morbidity by reducing resistance to infections."
But there is data that proves that starvation is not a small issue in India. According to 2020 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of 107 countries with a score of 27.2, which is "serious". The GHI score incorporates four component indicators: undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality.
And, according to a report compiled by Reetika Khera, Assistant Professor of Economics at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Uttar Pradesh reported at least 16 hunger deaths in 2017 and 2018. The report mainly links deaths to the denial of PDS rations due to the lack of Aadhaar linking and the failure of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication. The report adds that UP has implemented the National Food Security Act in a "belated and haphazard manner".
Claim 3: "The previous UP government in 2.5 years couldn't build even 43 lakh toilets. Our government had to build 2.61 crore toilets in 18 months. We turned it into a movement and built 2.61 crore toilets in a year."
Fact: Partly true.
The previous UP government built a total of 35,87,007 individual household toilets till March 2017, according to a Lok Sabha response on March 30, 2017. This was done under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), which was launched in December 2014.
However, the second part of the claim is false. The UP government has built 56,61,669 toilets in 2017-18, according to a response from Lok Sabha on July 11, 2019. This was during the first year of Yogi's regime. In 2018-19, the state built 92,16,627 toilets. This means that the UP government built more than 1.4 crore toilets in these two financial years making it far from Yogi's 2.61 crore claim.
In fact, the total count until July 8, 2019 was 16,158,750 or only more than 1.6 crore, which again, is far from the 2.61 crore claim.
Claim 4: "In the last 4.5 years, there have been no riots in UP"
In fact, this statement has been made for the second time this month — first by Amit Shah on August 1, 2021 and now by the UP CM. Yogi himself has made similar claims in the past. FactChecker had verified Shah's claim on August 1, 2021, and the UP CM's claims on March 20, 2021.