Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi does not appear to believe that facts are sacred and cannot be twisted to suit political motives.
Modi on Sunday said that China spends 20% of its GDP on education to claim how the neighbouring country had transformed its education system to be world-class whereas India had failed. The huge investment, he claimed, had resulted in China's 32 universities being among top 500 universities in the world.
"India has only one university among top 500, which had fallen from two about a decade ago," he said.
Minister of state for human resource development (HRD) quoted Chinese official news agency Xinhua on twitter on Monday to contradict Modi and said China spends only 3.93% of its GDP on education.
The junior minister also gave a comparative chart of the UPA and the NDA governments on the money provided for education to claim that the UPA did better than NDA on this front.
"Spending on education FY-2003-04: Rs.6,800 cr. FY-2013-14: Rs.52,875 cr. Increase in technical edn: from Rs.641cr to Rs. 6518.2 cr," he tweeted.
During the NDA's regime the spending on education was 1.67 % of the GDP which increased to 4.2% of the GDP during the UPA government's rule.
Tharoor also countered Modi on another fact. "Modi yesterday: When we got freedom, Rs. 1=$1. Now look at the falling rupee. In Soviet days, 1 rouble=$1. Today it is 3 cents".
It is not for the first time that Gujarat chief minister and BJP's poll mascot Narendra Modi had erred on facts. While addressing women industrialists at FICCI recently, Modi had claimed that Gujarat government had empowerment women of his state.
The government's official data said something else. The state's sex ratio dropped marginally under him from 918 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001 to 915 in 2011. It was lower than the national average of 940 in 2011. The girl drop-out rate in schools in Gujarat was higher than the national average.
Modi had also been claiming credit for improvement in Gujarat's school education system.
The official data, however, shows that other states have done better than Gujarat. But in Gujarat, the drop-out rate in class I-X was 57.9 % as against the national average of 49.3%.
The drop-out rate was even higher for deprived sections such as Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes. The state also fares badly on providing mid-day meals to school children.