India’s unemployment rate hit 45-year high in 2017/18

India’s unemployment rate hit 45-year high in 2017/18

In the wake of the release of unemployment figures by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the data was not released by the government as it is still being processed.

The government's failure to release the NSSO report was the latest sign of a complete lack of transparency regarding jobs data, they said.

The survey has become a political issue after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the job data resigned saying there was delay in its release.

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

NITI Aayog has said that a yet-to-be-released report that says the country's unemployment rate rose to a 45-year-high in 2017-18 is "not verified".

The report said that joblessness stood at 7.8 percent in urban areas compared with 5.3 percent in the countryside. If the report is made public, and if it does show that unemployment peaked in the aftermath of the note ban, it will deflate the government's relentless attempt to give the drastic measure a positive spin.

The report, revealed a day before the government's interim Budget, sets up a huge controversy just ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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"The feeling that we are trying to hide something is incorrect", NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant added.

"NoMo Jobs!" Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter adding, "The Fuhrer (a term used by Nazi Germany for its ruler Adolf Hitler) promised us 2 Cr jobs a year". "This report was released for approval because this is a standalone report and it does not require any additional verification with any sources".

The country has lost as many as 11 million jobs past year, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think-tank.

Though India's economy has been expanding by 7 percent plus annually, uneven growth has meant that new jobs are not keeping pace.

The report showed frighteningly high levels of unemployment among the young, with 18.7 percent of urban males aged between 15-29 without work, and a jobless rate of 27.2 percent for urban females in the same age group.

Some sociologists say that there are instances of a correlation between high unemployment and an increase in criminal behaviour. "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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