NITI Aayog clarifies report saying 'unemployment at 45-year high' not verified

Rahul Gandhi Ravan Priyanka Gandhi Surpanakha

The NSC has the final say over NSSO methodologies and reports, and its two independent members, including acting chairman P.C. Mohanan, quit in protest over the government's move earlier this week.

The question of jobs will be one of the biggest factors that will decide whether the Modi government will be able to return to the helm for a second time after the general election later this year.

The government's failure to release the NSSO report was the latest sign of a complete lack of transparency regarding jobs data, they said.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that India's growth rate is 7.2 per cent.

Kant added that India is creating enough jobs for new entrants but may not be creating enough good quality jobs.

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". "When the data is ready we will release it", added Kumar.

The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office conducted between July 2017-June 2018, showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent, the highest since 1972-73, Business Standard reported on Thursday.

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"The data, as cited by the news report, shows that there has been a rise in unemployment and a decline in the labour force participation rate (LFPR) post demonetisation, which is in line with what we have also been saying", said Mahesh Vyas, chief executive and managing director of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which has done its own unemployment surveys. "This report was released for approval because this is a standalone report and it does not require any additional verification with any sources".

The survey is the first solid assessment of the country's employment status since November 2016, when Modi jolted the nation with demonetisation, the report stated.

The unemployment, according to the report, was higher in urban areas with 7.8 percent as compared to 5.3 percent in rural areas of the country.

Periodic labour force surveys were launched in April 2017, aimed at providing reliable job level data.

Though India's economy has been expanding by 7 percent plus annually, uneven growth has meant that new jobs are not keeping pace. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 years.

The last report published by the statistics ministry had shown that the unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in 2015/16 from 4.9 percent in the previous year and 4.0 percent in 2012/13. It is clear that the Modi government has been suppressing this information from reaching the public domain, it said.

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