Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted from his personal account, a request asking people to vote about the impact of demonetisation on his app. The link provided leads to his personal website page for downloading the app.
The profile of the app on the google store however describes it as the “Official app of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi” (screenshot kindly provided by Shamim Chowdhury)
The survey in question was an extremely poorly designed one, with a biased sample of smartphone users who are likelier than the rest of the country to be able to conduct cashless transactions and thus have been least impacted by demonetisation. Additionally, the userbase of this application is majorly fans of Modi and framing of questions that does not cover views of dissent – that the demonetisation has proved harmful to people or that it was a bad idea. The results of the survey in question display an overwhelming support for demonetisation.
A pliant media does not appear to be asking enough questions about manipulated data being used as a cover up about impact of such a drastic action that is leading to increased loss of life, livelihoods and economic well being by the day.
However an unverified RTI response indicates that this is not an official app developed for the Prime Minister of India as its profile claims.
The application profile itself shows the owner as Narendra Modi (and not Government of India – as is the case in the other official applications) and the developer information is:
This is a blatant attempt to manipulate the minds of Indian citizens into believing that their distress is isolated and that the vast majority of Indians actually are exceedingly pleased with the demonetisation. A perception management exercise that would discourage dissent through misinforming the masses who would believe it to be a properly conducted survey representative of the Indian population at large.
Additionally, the quality of the app is questionable. We have, in the past found vulnerabilities in the app that revealed private information about users installing it and had a very difficult time reporting them and getting them fixed with no clear developer or maintainer information provided that responds to vulnerability reports.
The misleading description of the application must be corrected. News media must disclose that the results of the survey represent a very specific profile of users who are likely to be less than 3% of the population of the country.
It is even more shameful that the Prime Minister of the country, after initiating an exercise invalidating most of its currency had skipped off to Japan where he joked about the unfolding plight of Indians, then he has been addressing public rallies and televised addresses to the nation on a routine basis. However he has not seen fit to address his responsibility as the elected leader of the country by being present in the Parliament to be accountable for the increasingly apparent adverse effects of his allegedly well planned action threatening lives, economy and the well being of citizens nationwide.
The Prime Minister does his office great dishonor.