Fake news about Modi govt to print currency notes featuring former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared on social media

An article recently viral on social media suggests that the PM Modi-led government has taken a “historic step” of printing Indian currency notes featuring former prime minister late Atul Bihari Vajpayee. “मोदी सरकार का ऐतिहासिक फैसला, भारतीय मुद्रा पर होगी पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री अटलजी की तस्वीर (Modi government’s historic decision, Indian currency will feature the image of former prime minister Atalji),” reads the title of the report by a website called apnikhabare.com, which showcases a Rs 200 note with the photograph of the ex-PM. From a Facebook page Hindutva.info, the article received nearly 3,000 likes and over 500 shares.

Other Facebook pages like हिंदुस्तानी सेना and We Support Ram Rajya have also circulated the article, drawing a combined share count of over 500.

The apnikhabar report has also been tweeted by multiple users.

What’s interesting about the report is that while its title and the adjoining image of the Rs 200 note gives the impression that the government will issue currency notes of that amount, the article has no mention of the same. In fact, it claims, “…अब मोदी सरकार की तरफ से 100 रुपए का नया सिक्का लॉन्च किया जाएगा जिसपर पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री और भारत रत्न अटलजी की तस्वीर छपी होगी। Now Modi government will launch new Rs 100 coin that will feature former PM and Bharat Ratna awardee Atal ji’s photo.” However, the image attached in the report is of a Rs 1,000 coin.

What is the truth?

The government has not made any announcement regarding the issuance of Indian currency notes or coins featuring former prime minister of Indian late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In fact, PM Modi had only released a commemorative Rs 100 coin a month ago in the memory of the late prime minister.

The event was organised on December 24, 2018, where senior BJP leaders, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP chief Amit Shah, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and senior leader Lal Krishna Advani were present. The coin was released day ahead of late Vajpayee’s birthday, and the event of reported across mainstream media channels.

Misinformation claiming the launch of new currency notes featuring late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been circulating since December last year, even before the government released the Rs 100 commemorative coin. The apnikhabre article itself was published on December 13, 2018. Another shoddy website livebavaal had also published an article on the identical topic that same day.

This wasn’t the first time that the Indian government released a coin in the memory of a former prime minister. The first commemorative coin was issued in 1964 in the honour of the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1985, commemorative coins were released in remembrance of former PM late Indira Gandhi. Other veteran leaders like Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi have also been honoured in a similar manner.

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