Congress, BJP spar over jobs data

Congress, BJP spar over jobs data

The unemployment rate stood at 7.8 per cent in urban areas as compared with 5.3 per cent in rural areas, while the labour force participation rate, which is the proportion of population working or seeking jobs, declined to 36.9 per cent in 2017-18 from 39.5 per cent in 2011-12, the report said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a financial daily reported that the unemployment rate in the country hit a 45-year high.

The reactions were spurred by a news report of a yet unpublished Periodic Labour Force Survey of the National Sample Survey Office.

The fresh controversy, a day before the Budget, and in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections has given the Congress an opportunity to target the government. And critics say the government's claims of economic success have sounded increasingly hollow. Unemployment rate of rural female youths stood at 13.6 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent in the same period.

The unemployment rate was much higher in urban areas with 7.8% rather than rural areas of 5.3%.

It quoted job data from 2017-'18, which was the first full financial year after the government demonetised high-value currency notes in November 2016.

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.

Himanshu, an associate professor at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who specialises on development economics, said that the jobs crisis was everywhere to see.

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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.

The CPI (M) too slammed the government for suppressing the data and demanded that the government release the NSSO report at the earliest. The number of jobs created per year between 2004-05 and 2009-10 fell to just 0.22 million even though the unemployment rate came down to 2% in the 2009-10 EUS.

After the chaotic launch of a national sales tax in July 2017, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs in small businesses.

This is the same stance the government adopted when GDP back-series data was released by a sub-committee of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) past year.

The NSSO findings reportedly said that unemployment was last this high in 1972-73.

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. Earlier this month, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a leading independent think-tank, said the country lost as many as 11 million jobs past year.

Mr Surjewala said India does not want a government that has left the future of the youth in jeopardy.

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