The NSSO's annual household survey of 2017-18 is the first after demonetisation in 2016
- Unemployment rate at 6.1% in 2017-18, highest in 45 years, reveals survey
- Report not released despite statistical body go-ahead, allege ex-members
- Survey at centre of row over quitting of 2 members of statistical body
The country's unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, according to the National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO's) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), which has been accessed by the Business Standard newspaper. The report was not released despite being vetted by the National Statistical Commission in December, allege two non-independent members who quit the data collating body on Tuesday. The government said today: "We have explained to the members that decision to release the report will be ours. We will decide when this should happen." The report, revealed just a day before the government's interim Budget, sets up a huge controversy just before the national election, due by May, with the opposition targeting the government on jobs data.
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According to the report, which has not been made public but has been accessed by Business Standard, the unemployment rate was at its highest level since 1972-73.
The report says in 2011-12, the unemployment rate stood at 2.2 per cent and youth unemployment is at "astronomically high" levels of 13 to 27 per cent.
Joblessness was higher in urban areas (7.8 per cent) than in the rural areas (5.3 per cent).
More people are withdrawing from the workforce as the labour force participation rate is lower than in the previous years.
The NSSO's annual household survey of 2017-18 is the first after the November 2016 demonetisation, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared an overnight ban on high-value notes.
The report is at the core of a controversy over the quitting of two members of the National Statistical Commission, including its acting chairman PC Mohanan.
PC Mohanan confirmed that one of the reasons why he quit was the delay in the release of the National Sample Survey Office's Periodic Labour Force Survey report.
PC Mohanan told NDTV that he and JV Meenakshi, the only non-government members of the statistics body, felt sidelined and "not taken seriously".
The government today said the "timing and verification has to be done". It added: "We have our process and we have explained to the members."
It did agree that the data showed jobs had been reduced.