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Rahul Gandhi mocks PM Narendra Modi on high unemployment rates

01 February 2019

The entire labour force data will be released in March, he told reporters.

The reactions were spurred by a news report of a yet unpublished Periodic Labour Force Survey of the National Sample Survey Office.

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.

On Thursday, soon after the damaging report on job creation under the Modi government appeared - the first survey since demonetisation was accounced in Novermner 2016 - the government fielded Niti Aayog top officials to debunk it as a "draft not yet finalised" and to counter the Opposition's attacks.

Without commenting on the veracity of the leaked findings, both officials said that because PLFS is a quarterly survey, its findings can not be compared with results from earlier EUS rounds. The unemployment rate for rural women stood at 13.6 percent, compared to 4.8 percent in 2011-12.

"The Niti Aayog analysis shows that we are creating 7-8 million jobs".

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The report said joblessness stood at 7.8% in urban areas compared with 5.3% in the countryside.

Youth unemployment was much higher in 2017-18 than in previous years, according to the government report, and "much higher compared to that in the overall population".

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.

Speaking about the report, he said, "The government had not released the data (on jobs) as it is still being processed".

But, while India's economy has been expanding by 7%-plus annually - the fastest pace among major economies - its uneven growth has meant there are not enough new jobs to keep pace.

The government has questioned the report, saying it was "not verified".

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"You can not be growing at 7.2% and saying that there are no jobs being created in the economy", he said.

"News and data like thousands of PhDs applying for waiter jobs in Mumbai or millions applying for just a thousand jobs in Gujarat or 10 million applying for a small number of jobs in railways", he said.

The report also provides the first numbers since Modi's decision in November 2016 to withdraw most of the country's banknotes from circulation overnight.

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.

Some sociologists say that there are instances of a correlation between high unemployment and an increase in criminal behaviour. NSC acting chief PC Mohanan and his colleague J Meenakshi were unhappy over the non-publication of the job data that had been due for release in December a year ago.

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Rahul Gandhi mocks PM Narendra Modi on high unemployment rates