Fact-checking in a nuanced job. One must research and be willing to go where the facts take them rather than where they want the facts to take them. Indiaspend, which is known as a biased “research organisation” and has been caught spreading communal disharmony several times, has a “fact-checking” arm, factchecker.in, which also lies profusely. Today, after Piyush Goyal’s Budget 2019 speech, factchecker.in decided to ‘fact-check’ the speech, and in the process, ended up spreading fake news themselves.
In one of their tweets, they claimed that acting Finance Miniter lied when he said ‘under Make in India, mobile and parts manufacturing have increased from 2 to more than 268 providing huge job opportunities’.
— FactChecker.in (@FactCheckIndia) February 1, 2019
According to FactChecker.in, the truth is that there are 127 mobile manufacturing units in India according to a response in Lok Sabha.
However, FactChecker.in conveniently uses data from August 2018 to brand Piyush Goyal’s assertions as a lie.
However, if one digs a little further, one realises that according to November 2018 data, Piyush Goyal’s assertions are right on the mark.
In November, The India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA) had said that there are 268 mobile and accessories factories in India and not 120, as is often quoted by many senior leaders in the government.
ICEA had undertaken physical verification of all such facilities over a period of 2-3 months.
“ICEA and the industry were always clear that the number of units exceeded 120, which was usually reported by the government. The physical survey vindicated this belief and the total number of new factories reported as per this report stands at 268 and not 120. The corresponding employment number is 6.70 lakh and not 4.50 lakh,” it said.
They said, “accessory like powerbank is becoming a big industry in India with a market of around ₹2,000 crore, which may go up to ₹15,000 crore in the future”.
In fact, the ICEA had made a very significant observation. It said that in 2014, there were only 3 manufacturing units functioning in India with mobile handset manufacturing reducing significantly to 58 million unites as compared to 130 million in 2013. However, “Government’s policies and specific interventions along with the hard work of global and indigenous entrepreneurs have helped India attain the number two mobile handset manufacturing destination tag,” Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA said.
It had also said that owing to this rise, 6,50,000 jobs were created.
As is evident, FactChecker.in chose to pick up data from August 2018 instead of the more recent November 2018 data just to assert that Piyush Goyal had lied Budget 2019 speech.