No, Khadi India is not selling three face masks for 999 Indian rupees

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on July 30, 2020 at 09:17
  • 2 min read
  • By AFP India
An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim it shows an advert for an Indian government agency selling three face masks for 999 Indian rupees. The post includes a purported photo of the masks, with an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on their packaging. The claim is false; the government dismissed the hoax on Twitter on July 27, 2020; a search of the agency’s website in July 2020 found it was selling the face masks from between 30 to 100 Indian rupees per piece.

The photo and claim was published here on Twitter on July 25, 2020.

A screenshot, taken on July 29, 2020, of the misleading post.

The tweet’s caption reads: “Vocal for Local? Check. Made in India? Check. His uglu mug? Check. / Ladies and gentlemen, here’s your ‘honorable’ Prime Minister selling ‘virus protection’ masks made of the single most porous fabric in the solar system. / Only ₹999 for 3.” 

The image in the post shows the logo for Khadi India, an agency that is part of the Indian government’s Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

It also displays logos for the Indian government's 'Made in India' and 'Vocal for Local' initiatives, alongside an image of Prime Minister Modi. 

Some Twitter users appeared to be misled by the claim, as seen in some of the retweets that criticised the government for selling face masks at such high prices during the pandemic and for replacing Mahatma Gandhi’s picture with that of Modi.

The image was also shared here, here, here, here, here, here on Twitter and here on Facebook with a similar claim.

The claim, however, is false.

In a series of tweets published on July 27, 2020, KVIC chairperson Vinai Kumar Saxena dismissed the hoax.

“KVIC has taken a strict note of selling face masks fraudulently in the name of Khadi & unauthorizedly using Hon'ble PM's photograph,” he tweeted here.

Khadi India also tweeted here on July 27 that they filed a police complaint against a woman for alleged misuse of its brand name to sell masks. 

Khadi India started selling face masks online in July, according to this July 9 report by the Indian non-profit organisation Knowledge and News Network.

The masks sold on the KVIC website are priced between 30 to 100 Indian rupees per piece, as seen on the site here on July 29, 2020.

A screenshot, taken on July 29, 2020, of the masks sold on the KVIC website.

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