THE CLAIMS of jobless growth are bogus and underemployment is a bigger problem in the country than unemployment, according to Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya. “We are saying that investment is not doing well, we are saying that jobs are not being created, we are growing at 7-8 per cent. When such growth happens — 7-8 per cent — it cannot be jobless. Jobs are being created but the problem we have in India is that we suffer incredibly with underemployment,” said Panagariya on Thursday at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) during a discussion on ‘Action agenda and the Indian Economy.’
The Three Year Action Agenda of Niti Aayog is a part of the vision document of the country’s apex planning body and think tank. It is the mandate of the Aayog to prepare a 15-year Vision document and a three-year Action Agenda. This underemployment — a condition where people in the labour market don’t have full-time jobs or are employed at low productivity jobs — then leads to low wages, said Panagariya. He said that while jobs are being created, they are not counted because there are no credible surveys in the employment sector. “You can look at the history of the surveys that have been done.
Consistently, you will see that unemployment rates in India are not high. We need to put a system in place where we collect the data on employment in a better manner,” said Panagariya adding that an employment task force of which he is the head will soon release a report on this. The time was opportune to start a couple of the Coastal Economic Zones which would generate employment, according to Panagariya.