Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday brushed aside a leaked report that suggested a four-decade high in unemployment rate under the Narendra Modi government, terming it as an "unverified draft" that cannot be taken at face value. "I don't think that is a report. It's a draft that has not been approved," he said.
The Union Minister, who is currently hospitalised in the United States, put forth a few numbers to drive home his point. "If 7.5% is the real growth in Gross Domestic Product, and inflation is at 3-4%, the nominal growth needs to be around 11-12%. It would be absurd to say that there are no jobs in such a scenario," he said, referring to the controversial National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) findings.
According to the NSSO report, India's unemployment rate hit a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18 -- the most since the early seventies. It also found that unemployment was higher in urban areas (7.8%) then rural zones (5.3%), and youth unemployment was at "astronomically high" levels of 13% to 27%. The report further claimed that more people were withdrawing from the workforce because the labour force participation rate is lower than in previous years.
Controversy arose after two non-independent members quit the data-collating body on Tuesday, alleging that the government was averse to releasing the report despite vetting by the National Statistical Commission in December. Congress president Rahul Gandhi used the issue to compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi to German dictator Adolf Hitler. "NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go," he tweeted.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal linked it to the demonetisation initiative, calling it a "mega scam" orchestrated by the Union government.
Defending the government was planning body Niti Aayog, with its head -- Amitabh Kant -- asserting that the demand for jobs was being met. "You can't be growing at 7.2 per cent and say no jobs are being created. To my mind, the major problem is the lack of quality jobs," he said.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal also made a similar claim.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised two crore jobs every year in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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