India’s unemployment rate highest in 45 years

Rahul Gandhi President of the Indian National Congress

On Wednesday, the Modi government had indicated that it will not release the NSSO report in its current form.

But another senior official, dealing with data, said the government was delaying the release of the survey as the findings were so dismal, and there were plans to incorporate data on persons added in the social security network that could help improve the overall picture. It is not right to compare the two data sets, this data is not verified.

"NITI Aayog doesn't have the final report".

The survey is the first on employment made by a government agency since demonetisation.

With less than 100 days to the next election, the Narendra Modi government has a handful of controversies to defend against.

Two National Statistical Commission (NSC) employees resigned in protest over the non-publication of the job data, supposed to be released in December 2018. This was the highest unemployment rate in India in the last 20 years.

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

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The same was true for educated people: "For educated rural females, the unemployment rate ranged from 9.7 per cent to 15.2 per cent during 2004-05 to 2011-12 which rose to 17.3 per cent in 2017-18", the newspaper quoted the NSSO report as saying.

In 2011-12, the all-India unemployment rate was 2.2 per cent - the last available figure on jobs, after which the survey was discontinued.

Joblessness for rural male youth (aged 15-29) went from 5% in 2011-12 to 17.4% in 2017-18.

The data provides the first comprehensive assessment of the country's employment since PM Modi's decision in November 2016 to withdraw most of the country's banknotes from circulation overnight.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition Congress party who the polls show is closing in on Modi's lead in the election due by May, said the job report showed "a national disaster".

India's economy has been expanding by 7 per cent plus annually - but the uneven growth has meant there are not enough jobs created for millions of young Indians entering the workforce each year. And critics say the government's claims of economic success have sounded increasingly hollow. 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.

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