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Unemployment Rate in India Reached its highest level in 45 years: Report

NEW DELHI – According to an official Indian government survey, India’s unemployment rate peaked at 45 year high in 2017-2018, Business Standard newspaper reported on Thursday, hitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few months in advance, Reuters reported.
The evaluation conducted by the National Bureau of Sample Surveys between July 2017 and June 2018 showed that the unemployment rate stood at 6.1%, the highest level since 1972-1973, the newspaper reported.
The report indicates that the unemployment rate is 7.8% in urban areas, against 5.3% in the countryside.
The data is important because it was the first comprehensive assessment of the employment situation in India after Modi’s decision in November 2016 to remove most of the country’s overnight tickets, the report said.
“We have not published the report, I do not want to talk about it,” Pravin Srivastava, Chief Statistician of India, told Reuters.
The Hindu nationalistic government of Modi could explain the gloomy job data as general elections are being prepared and polls are already showing that the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata, is unlikely to hold a parliamentary majority.
Modi came to power in 2014 promising to galvanize the economy and improve job prospects for the millions of young Indians entering the labor market each year.
However, while India’s economy grew by more than 7 percent a year – the fastest pace in major economies – its uneven growth meant that there were not enough new jobs to keep pace and critics say the government’s claims of economic success are increasingly hollow.
A political controversy over the investigation arose after the resignation of the acting president and another member of the body who reviewed the employment data, claiming that its publication had been delayed.
The head of the government-funded National Statistical Commission, PC Mohanan, said Wednesday that his colleague, J. Meenakshi, and himself were unhappy with the lack of publication of employment data to be published in December. He alleged the interference of other state agencies in the retroactive GDP data.
A Ministry of Statistics official said the report was submitted by the NSSO, but the government had to decide when to publish it.
But another senior data official said the government was delaying the release of the survey because the findings were dismal and plans were to incorporate data on who could improve the social security network.
Pronab Sen, former Chief Statistician of India, said that unemployment in India has been rising since 2012 but that attempting to suppress the publication of data was not a solution.
“This will only create more suspicion about the government’s intentions,” he said.
The latest report published by the Ministry of Statistics showed that the unemployment rate increased from 4.9% in 2015/16 to 5.0% in 2015/16.
According to government data, the male unemployment rate was 4.3% and 8.7% for women in 2015/16.
Earlier this month, the Indian Economy Watch Center, a leading independent think-tank, said the country lost as many as 11 million jobs last year.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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