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Unemployment figures not released by government: NITI Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar

01 February, 2019, 00:45 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Rahul Gandhi Ravan Priyanka Gandhi Surpanakha

The delay in its release of the report led to two National Statistical Commission (NSC) members, including the acting chairman, resigning from their posts earlier this week alleging the government had withheld the release despite its approval by the NSC. "When the data is ready we will release it", added Kumar.

The Niti Aayog's clarification came a day after a Busines Standard report, based on the government survey, suggested that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high during 2017-18.

Refusing to comment on the content of the news report, he said the government will release its employment report by March after collating quarter-on-quarter data.

The unemployment rate was much higher in urban areas with 7.8% rather than rural areas of 5.3%. But we need to look at the quality of jobs.

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

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. It was meant to increase the share of domestic manufacturing from 17 percent of gross domestic product to about 25 percent and create jobs for an estimated 1.2 million youth entering the market.

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"The feeling that we are trying to hide something is incorrect", NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant added.

The country has lost as many as 11 million jobs a year ago, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think-tank.

The data is significant because this was the first comprehensive assessment of India's employment situation conducted after Modi's decision in November 2016 to withdraw most of the country's banknotes from circulation overnight, the report said. The unemployment rate was at its highest level since 1972-73 - a period from when the jobs data is comparable, the news agency quoted as saying.

The government declined to confirm or deny the findings contained in the report. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 years. The results of the job survey, as reported by the Business Standard, is in sync with another survey done by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, which stated that 11 million Indians lost their jobs in 2018, with rural India taking the worst hit reporting 84% of the job losses.

A statistics ministry official said the NSSO had submitted the report, but it was up to the government to decide when it should be released.

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