One of the constants of foreign press coverage since the Modi government has come to power has been badmouthing whatever happens in India. Modi and the current dispensation are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Before the lockdown was announced, there was coverage on how India was unprepared to handle a pandemic this big that Modi wasn’t doing enough.
After the lockdown, the questions have appeared to be how the Modi government will contain the exodus of migrants back from major cities to their villages.
CNN, which the US President likes to label ‘fake news’ whenever he can, went a step further and tweeted: “The chaos unfolding across India in recent days has spelled out that for the 74 million people -- one sixth of the population -- who live cheek by jowl in the country's slums, social distancing is going to be physically and economically impossible.”
While the exodus of migrants is a troublesome issue, one that the government is trying to contain, the math of the CNN tweet is beyond any known arithmetic
India’s population is 1.3 billion (give or take a few) which would mean that 1/6th of that would be roughly 216 million. That’s’ still quite far away from the figure given by CNN which is 74 million.
While journalists are notorious for being bad at math, a mistake that big would really make wonder why foreign publications loosen their journalism standards when reporting about India.