A yet-to-be-released report that says the country's unemployment rate rose to a 45-year-high in 2017-18 is "not verified" and the "veracity of the data is not known", NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said today.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation had denied this in a statement, saying that the report would be released once quarterly data between July 2017 and December 2018 had been processed. Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar, who mounted the government's defence on the jobs numbers on Friday, seemed to suggest that the numbers have to be approved by the Cabinet. He said there was a well laid out procedure for approving NSSO reports and surveys.
Facts reviewed by the media reports said that the unemployment rate was at its soaring pace since the 1972-'73 period.
He rejected the findings of the NSSO report citing that India has witnessed an 11-12 percent nominal economic growth, which could not have been possible without employment being generated. "My view is that we are creating jobs for new entrants, but we are probably not creating high-quality jobs, people are moving away from low-quality jobs in the agricultural sector, which we need to address", the NITI Aayog chief added.
It also said that unemployment was higher in the urban areas (7.8 per cent) than in the rural areas (5.3 per cent). The unemployment rate, according to the survey, stood at 6.1 percent in 2017-18, reported Business Standard newspaper.
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. It also exposes the utter failure of the BJP-led government to deliver on its promise of providing two crore jobs every year, that is, ten crore new jobs during the last five years.
Worse, the labour force participation rate - the proportion of population working or seeking jobs - declined to 36.9 percent in 2017/18 from 39.5 percent in 2011/12, the report said.
The report comes a day after shock exit of two external members from the National Statistical Commission. "We will go by the report that is finalised".
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. Dubbing the Prime Minister as "Fuhrer", Gandhi said that, "unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs".