Indias unemployment rate hit four-decade high after demonetisation

Indias unemployment rate hit four-decade high after demonetisation

Indias unemployment rate hit four-decade high after demonetisation

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. The controversy gained momentum after NSSO's acting chairman PC Mohanan and member JV Meenakshi quit with both having a year left in their term. According to the data, the unemployment rate stood at 7.8 per cent in urban areas, while it was 5.3 per cent in the rural areas.

The National Sample Survey Office has conducted a nation wide survey where the report was ready in December previous year but the government had no intention to release it ahead of the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. "I do not want to comment on it", Pravin Srivastava, India's chief statistician, told Reuters.

After Rahul Gandhi threw the "Fuhrer" barb at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP likened the Congress president to Mussolini, saying he has a myopic understanding of issues like the Italian dictator. Now, the Business Standard report said that joblessness stood at 7.8% in urban areas compared with 5.3% in rural areas.

Two independent members of the National Statistical Commission had resigned this week after the government allegedly failed to publish the report that was prepared last month.

The commission's back-series calculation showed that the Indian economy grew at a much faster pace under Manmohan Singh's UPA government compared to Modi's NDA, and that it registered double-digit growth in two years - 10.23 per cent in 2007-08 and 10.78 per cent in 2010-11. It is clear that the Modi government has been suppressing this information from reaching the public domain, it said.

He also debunked claims of jobless growth, saying how can a country grow at an average of 7 per cent without employment.

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

A statistics ministry official said the NSSO had submitted the report, but it was up to the government to decide when it should be released.

The survey by NSSO was the first one since the infamous demonetisation in November 2016, which brought the Indian economy to a grinding halt. "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".

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