As 2017 comes to an end, we bring you the stories that captured your attention this year.
The most popular IndiaSpend story this year was our January 2017 analysis of personal income tax data. Other stories that were popular included a February 2017 survey of 2,513 voters in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the state election to understand how much they value clean air and water, our June 2017 story introducing our database of cow-related hate crimes (which we’ve since redesigned), an analysis to understand if India’s public healthcare system can follow a guideline to double antenatal care visits, and a story on how sex ratios in Indian cities are declining.
On Factchecker.in, the most popular stories include our fact check of the prime minister’s announcement that women no longer had to change names for passports (it was always the applicant’s choice), member of parliament Shashi Tharoor’s claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party renamed 23 Congress schemes (he was right about 19), and the then cabinet minister M Venkaiah Naidu’s recommendation that the media judge UP’s chief minister-elect on his record in the Parliament (Hindu affairs was most recurring topic).
Here are the top 5 stories on the IndiaSpend website:
January 24, 2017: An unnamed taxpayer owed the government Rs 21,870 crore for the assessment year 2014-15, which was 11% of income tax to be paid by all Indians who were individual taxpayers, according to the latest available tax-department data. While three individual taxpayers declared business income of over Rs 500 crore, two individual taxpayers declared long-term capital gains of over Rs 500 crore in 2014-15.
February 17, 2017: As many as 46% of urban voters and 26% of rural voters polled before elections began in Uttar Pradesh said that the air they breathe is polluted, according to a survey conducted by FourthLion Technologies, a data analytics and public opinion polling firm, for IndiaSpend. When asked to choose between the three issues of reliable power, clean water and clean air, as important voting issues, 40% of the voters polled said reliable electricity was most important, 28% cited clean water and 16% said air quality. FourthLion conducted 2,513 telephone interviews in Hindi of registered voters in UP, and said their sample is representative of UP’s urban and rural voters as well as socioeconomic, age, gender and caste make-up.
June 28, 2017: Muslims were the target of 52% of violence centred on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 84% of 25 Indians killed in 60 incidents, according to an IndiaSpend content analysis of the English media. As many of 97% of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014, and half the cow-related violence–30 of 60 cases–were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the attacks were reported, revealed our analysis of violence recorded until June 25, 2017. Crime data do not record cow-related violence, so our database provides the first such statistical perspective to a growing national debate.
February 22, 2017: In November 2016, the World Health Organization released a new antenatal care model for pregnant women to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications, with the most significant requirement being a doubling in antenatal visits by health workers, from four to eight. Is India ready to implement the new model? An IndiaSpend analysis of government data and research studies suggest it is not. Currently, no more than 3.3% of pregnant women in Bihar reported receiving full antenatal care, lowest among 26 states, followed by Tripura (7.6%) and Rajasthan (9.6%). Furthermore, India has 77% fewer gynaecologists and obstetricians; 66% fewer radiographers and 80% fewer paediatricians, impediments in delivering the antenatal care women should be getting.
August 2, 2017: Contrary to popular perception that the deeply rooted prejudice against girls, reflected in the country’s sex ratio, is mostly present in rural areas, some of the largest cities in India–including Delhi and Mumbai–have imbalanced sex ratios, according to an analysis of government data. In 2011, for every 1,000 boys aged 0-6 years, there were 852 girls in Mumbai, 832 girls in Delhi, and 942 girls in Hyderabad, according to data put together by Kanya.Life, an initiative founded by Tarun Amarnath, a United States-based high school student, that analyses large and openly accessible data sets on gender provided by the Government of India’s Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. A normal child gender ratio is between 943-980 girls per 1,000 boys.
Here are the top 5 stories from Factchecker.in:
April 13, 2017: “From now onwards, women will not have to change their names in the passport after their marriage,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a gathering of the Indian Merchants Chambers’ ladies wing. However, as the instructions for filling the passport application form and the testimonies of several women on social media suggest, this was never a requirement.
June 24, 2017: On June 15, 2017, Congress member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor tweeted that 23 of the BJP-led government’s new programmes were merely renamed versions of schemes launched by the previous governments led by his party. We bring you the facts.
January 2, 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on December 31, 2016, announced that Rs 6,000 will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. We fact-checked his claim, and found that the provision of providing Rs 6,000 to pregnant women already exists as part of the National Food Security Act 2013 and therefore his claim of the benefit being a new scheme is incorrect. Even after three years of the Act being passed, the benefit has not been implemented in any state except Tamil Nadu.
March 24, 2017: The then union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused “communalists” of portraying Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath wrongly. He recommended going through his parliamentary debates to “see his seasoned thinking on various issues of governance”. FactChecker analysed Yogi Adityanath’s performance over the last eight years as a member of Parliament in the 15th and 16th Lok Sabha. We found that while the 44-year-old science graduate and politician registered an above-average participation in debates, raising a variety of concerns, including river pollution and rising cases of encephalitis, his most recurrent choice of debates focussed on Hindu affairs and cow slaughter, particularly over the last three years.
February 17, 2017: On the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi frequently claimed that the state is “number one” in crime. His party chief, Amit Shah, has claimed that states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party have a better law-and-order record. Our analysis of national crime data–garnered from the Centre’s own database–found these claims misleading, exaggerated or untrue. For instance, Modi used a misleading “per day” view of total crimes reported, when the accurate measure of crime rate is crimes per 100,000 population. This is particularly relevant for UP, India’s most populous state with around 216 million people in the year 2015. Even using “per day” data, UP’s rape and attempt-to-rape statistics Modi quoted were inflated by three and 21 times, respectively. In 2015 (the year for which latest data are available), we found that, compared to UP, 27 states and union territories had a higher reported rate of rapes, 21 had a higher murder rate, 19 had a higher rate of kidnapping and abduction, 16 had a higher rate of riots and 18 had higher theft rates.
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