Report saying joblessness reached 45-year high ‘not verified’: NITI Aayog

Rahul Gandhi President of the Indian National Congress

Rahul Gandhi President of the Indian National Congress India Today Group Getty Images

NITI Aayog has said that 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".

Referring to the issues concerning labour force survey, which is conducted by the NSSO under MoSPI, it said: "NSSO is processing the quarterly data for the period, July 2017 to December 2018, and the report will be released thereafter".

But he said the report was not final and would be released after a review.

In 1972-73, the NSSO data showed unemployment at 5.18 percent, after global oil shocks and war with Pakistan.

The unemployment is at high of 6.1% during the 2017-18 post demonetization era and has stirred controversy as the government is sitting over it and fudging other data points as well.

Unemployment rate stands at 6.1% in India, according to an official survey done by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

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Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who too was present at the conference, said India is creating adequate number of jobs for new entrants, but "probably we are not creating high quality jobs". "Our analysis showed it was higher in 2015 than in 2011-12, and we expected demonetisation to have a harsh effect", said Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, and lead author of a report, "State of Working India, 2018".

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. And critics say the government's claims of economic success have sounded increasingly hollow.

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.

"The reason why the report has not been released is that it is not right to publish the report in an incomplete manner". The government will approve the report which has not been finalised yet.

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

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