Report Saying "Unemployment At 45-Year High" Not Verified: NITI Aayog

Jeannie Matthews
February 1, 2019

NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar said the country could not have experienced a growth of 7% if unemployment had been on the rise.

"To be able to capture if there was an increase or decrease, we need to compare quarter-by-quarter data. Our traditional matrix of measuring jobs is simply not good enough to measure new jobs in the new economy of New India", he said in an interview to Swarajya magazine. The two external members had quit over their differences with the Centre over job data.

The report had primarily relied on data from NSSO and the Labour Bureau's Employment-Unemployment Survey.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition Congress party who the polls show is closing in on Modi's lead in the election due by May, said the job report showed "a national disaster".

Two members - including the acting chairman - of the National Statistical Commission resigned this week, saying the government had not released the job numbers despite the commission's approval. According to the survey, the unemployment rate stood at 2.2% in 2011-'12 in comparison to 2017-18, during the UPA's second tenure.

"NITI Aayog doesn't have the final report".

Facts reviewed by the media reports said that the unemployment rate was at its soaring pace since the 1972-'73 period.

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The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), conducted July 2017-June 2018, showed an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

The news report further said that unemployment was higher in urban areas (7.8 per cent) as compared to 5.3 per cent in rural areas of the country.

The data is significant because this was the first comprehensive assessment of the employment situation conducted after Modi government's November 8, 2016 decision of demonetization, the report said.

The NSSO job report was previously planned to be released in December 2018.

This is a big blow for Narendra Modi government as the budget session of Parliament - the last one before the next general election - kicks off. "After demonetisation, we have seen that the labour force itself has shrunk", he said, adding that urban women, who face an unemployment rate of 27% are worst hit.

He had mocked Modi for his plans for generating employment, saying instead of creating jobs, the PM talked about "pakodas" and generating gas from gutters. And critics say the government's claims of economic success have sounded increasingly hollow.

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