Here’s What Modi Govt Said on Unemployment Data Row

Anna Jefferson
February 1, 2019

Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the released report is still a draft and is being completed.

"Government did not release the data (on jobs) as it is still being processed".

Mohanan told NDTV that he had quit over "disagreements" with the government on the release of a jobs survey and concerns about it being buried in election season.

The latest data on unemployment in India, which is yet to come in public domain, is the first comprehensive survey on employment conducted by a government agency after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation move in November 2016.

That year, when India was just coming out of a war with Pakistan and hit by global oil shocks like other oil-importing countries, the unemployment rate was 5.18 percent.

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While saying that enough jobs were being created, Kant said, "There is a lack of good quality jobs". With their departure the body is left with just Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava and plan body NITI Aayog's Amitabh Kant.

The numbers show that Modi's ambitious Make-in-India project, which aims to lift the share of domestic manufacturing from 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to about 25 percent and create jobs for an estimated 1.2 million youth entering the market, has failed to take off.

"We have not released the report".

Kumar also clarified that it would not be correct to compare the data presented in that report with the data collected in 2011-12 because the data collection methods from both periods are different.

The data showed that the Indian economy grew at an average of only 6.67 per cent in the nine years through 31 March 2014 (UPA tenure), slower than the 7.35 per cent achieved in the four years through 31 March 2018 (NDA tenure).

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The informal sector employs more than 90% of the country's workforce, and has witnessed a decline in available work and wages in the last two years, said Chandan Kumar, coordinator of the Working People's Charter, an alliance of informal workers' groups and unions.

The commission's back-series calculation showed that the Indian economy grew at a much faster pace under Manmohan Singh's UPA government compared to Modi's NDA, and that it registered double-digit growth in two years - 10.23 per cent in 2007-08 and 10.78 per cent in 2010-11.

Kumar said the government is waiting to process the quarterly data till December 2018 for better comparative analysis.

The gloomy jobs data could be awkward for PM Modi's government to explain with a general election looming and opinion polls already showing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party unlikely to keep its parliamentary majority.

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