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HomeFact checkViral2016 Misleading Whatsapp Message On Army Welfare Fund Resurfaces On Social Media

2016 Misleading Whatsapp Message On Army Welfare Fund Resurfaces On Social Media

A Whatsapp message states that the Modi government has started a new scheme exclusively for the Indian army battle casualties and weapon purchase. The message goes on to say that people can donate funds directly to the Army Welfare Account which will be used to buy weapons for the Indian army as well as facilitating war casualties.   

The lengthy Whatsapp message which includes bank details for the welfare fund can be read below. 

Whatsapp message claim on Indian army welfare fund
Whatsapp message claim on Indian army welfare fund

This claim has been circulating on social media platforms since 2016. You can view a few examples of this below. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1313299208703459&set=o.237845776402818
https://www.facebook.com/jknews24x7x365/posts/1293773173980363
https://www.facebook.com/100002217569009/posts/1779792792104622/

Fact Check/ Verification 

Through a relevant keywords search on Google, we came across a circular titled, “Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund” on the official Indian Army’s website. It states, “Indian Army, on behalf of Govt of India/ Ministry of Defence is maintaining an account named Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund, which accepts donation for the families of battle casualties from Army, Navy and Air Force. The donations received in the fund are utilized to pay financial assistance to Battle Casualties of Army, Navy and Air Force, their next of kins and dependents.”

Indian Army official circular on Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund
Indian Army official circular on Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund

We observed that the Syndicate Bank IFCN code and account number from the Whatsapp message are the same as those mentioned in the above government document. Although the fund name differs. Syndicate Bank’s notice also states that voluntary donors can send funds via a demand draft in favour of “Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund” payable at New Delhi in the given address in the government document. 

The bank’s website also details the steps in order to contribute to the Army Welfare Fund. 

Syndicate Bank's notice on Army Welfare Fund
Syndicate Bank’s notice on Army Welfare Fund

As opposed to the claim in the Whatsapp message, there is no mention of this fund being used for the army’s weapon purchase.

A Twitter advanced search with the keywords ‘Army welfare funds’ led us to a September 2016 tweet posted from the account of the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD (Army). This came after misleading information related to the fund was being circulated on social media platforms. It clarifies that the fund was set up after a large number of people wanted to financially support families of battle casualties following an incident in February 2016 in Siachen where soldiers were buried in an avalanche. 

Last year Defence minister Rajnath Singh approved an enhancement to the monetary assistance given to families of battle casualties which is granted under Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund. You can read more about it here.

Conclusion

The Whatsapp message which claims that the Modi government started a new scheme exclusively for the Indian army battle casualties and weapon purchase is misleading.  The Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund was set up under Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare to financially support families of battle casualties following an incident in February 2016 in Siachen where soldiers were buried in an avalanche. There is no mention of these funds being used for weapon purchase from any credible source. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

Indian Army: https://www.indianarmy.nic.in/Site/NewsDetail/frmNewsDetails.aspx?MnId=wZKaJTvhq6pc+/CjfB48LQ&NewsID=yEQJMm5uAURUPSFjrDKXGQ==

Syndicate Bank: https://www.syndicatebank.in/digital-banking/other-services/army-welfare-fund

Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD (Army)

Economic Times: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/defence-minister-approves-four-fold-increase-to-families-of-battle-casualties/articleshow/71452941.cms?from=mdr


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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