English, Fact Check, Fake News

India did not see a steep increase in debt borrowings during ‘2014 – 2018’


A post claiming that India’s debt by the end of 2014 was US$ 296 billion, whereas in a span of four years i.e. during 2014-2018 it increased to US$ 486 billion, attributing the steep increase to the performance of PM Modi is doing rounds on social media platforms. Through this article lets fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be found here.

Claim: India’s debt is increased steeply from US$ 296 billion in 2014 to US$ 486 billion in 2018.

Fact: According to the Ministry of Finance data, the total outstanding debt of India by 31 March 2014 is US$ 929.6 billion, whereas by 31 March 2018, it stood at US$ 1265.7 billion. It saw a gradual increase during these years like in the UPA years. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When we searched for the information regarding India’s debt on the Ministry of Finance website, in the budget report of the respective years, we found that India’s total outstanding debt by the end of 31 March 2014 stood at US$ 929.6 billion (RE as per the conversion rate of 28 March 2014), whereas by the end March 2018 India’s total outstanding debt stood at US$ 1265.7 billion (RE as per the conversion rate of 28 March 2018). The archives of the conversion rate of various currencies can be found on the RBI website. One US$ is valued at 60.0998 rupees on 28 March 2014, which is increased to 65.0441 rupees on 28 March 2018.

Total debt comprises internal debt and other liabilities plus external debts. Generally, debt borrowings won’t be the same every year. They are dependent on many factors such as loan repayment, changing economic climate etc. Internal debt is not the same as having an external debt, that is why most of the time government raises its debt from internal sources like through Reserve Bank of India, other commercial banks etc. The information regarding the total debt including internal and external debts of India over the years can be found here.

To conclude, wrong data regarding the debt of India during the time period 2014 – 2018 is being spread attributing the steep increase in debt to Prime Minister Modi’s term.

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