Just after demonetization there were countless rumors flying around with the to create unnecessary panic among the already confused masses Which we tried to debunk them as far as possible. The demonetization saga is almost behind us but rumor mongering isn’t.
A picture addressed to the Aam Aadmi about a so called misery tax written by Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana hospitals seems to be doing rounds where he writes about the devastating effects of levying a 5% Service tax.
Here he talks about a proposal which would cause people to pay Rs 5 to 10 thousand more for undergoing a heart surgery and how the government’s statement of it being applicable to only AC hospitals was a fallacy as no OT or Blood Bank could legally function without air conditioning. Calling it a misery tax he explains how the poorest of the poor would be affected by it and asks people to assemble on 12th March.
This image was even shared by some journalists like Krishna Prasad, who served as editor in chief at the Outlook magazine for almost 4 years:
Since controversial former editor of Outlook & prominent Left ideologue deleted his possible fake news tweet, here’s a screenshot. pic.twitter.com/tJPFArHErg
— pracchannAstrin (@WordOfTheFree) February 13, 2017
Last evening the Finance Ministry itself rebutted the rumours by stating that there was no such provisions in the 2017-18 budget.
Rebutting social media rumours, Central Govt clarifies there is no proposal in Budget 2017-18 to levy 5% service tax on Health care service.
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) February 13, 2017
Before you jump the gun there was indeed such a service tax imposed by the UPA-2 government in 2011 by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who then soon withdrew it after adverse public reactions. Dr Devi Sheety who is the Chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya was quoted back then opposing the move.
This letter which is now being spread as a rumour appears to be a mashup of Dr Devi Shetty’s quote media reports of 2011 or it was indeed written by Dr Shetty himself in 2011 as posted on this site. If indeed real, the only big mistake of the letter, even though inadvertent, was that the letter only contained the date and month (12th March) and not the year which makes it prone for further explorations by rumour mongers. And yes this article was carried on some websites in 2016.
Question now is this: Does this qualify as “post-truth” for media mavens to chest beat on social media?