On May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package of Rs 20 lakh crores to support the nation gripped with the coronavirus crisis. The PM informed that the details of the plan would be shared by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman the next day. Since then Sitharaman has made an announcement in three tranches. The Financial Express reported live updates of the third tranche on May 15.

A WhatsApp text claims that labourers who have been working between 1990-2020 will get Rs 1.2 lakhs from the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MLE). The message is followed by a suspicious link ‘https://lI.IlllI.uno’ however the text includes a preview of the official website of MLE — labour.gov.in. The preview reads, “Ministry of Labour and Employment: Benefits available obtain ₹120000.”

Alt News received several requests to fact-check this on WhatsApp (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.


Alt News opened the suspicious link ‘https://lI.IlllI.uno’ and it directed to another domain ‘labour.rebajas.live’. Both websites are no longer accessible.

A Twitter user who tagged MLE to authenticate the message has attached the screenshots of the website when it was accessible.

On May 14, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) debunked the viral WhatsApp text on Twitter. “There is no such announcement by Govt. of India. Beware of such fraudulent websites,” reads the tweet.

Similar message viral in other countries

Alt News found at least three variants of the viral WhatsApp text from 2019. According to them, the Government of Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada were giving similar benefits. The Strait Times reported that WhatsApp text claiming workers can claim $2,800 from the government was debunked the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore.

Last year, Alt News published a report debunking the social media claim that Employees’ Provident Fund is giving Rs 80,000 as benefits.

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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.