The yet-to-be-published NSSO report that revealed joblessness had reached a four-decade high post-demonetisation is ‘not verified’, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said Thursday.
The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), according to the Business Standard newspaper, states that unemployment was last this high in 1972-73. To compare, the unemployment rate in the country had gone down to 2.2 per cent in 2011-12, according to NSSO data.
Kumar, who had previously mounted a defence of lowering of UPA-era GDP growth rates, at a press conference Thursday said the report cited by the newspaper “is not finalised. It is a draft report”. Refusing to comment on the content of the news report, he said the government will release its employment report by March after collating quarter-on-quarter data. He also debunked claims of jobless growth, saying how can a country grow at an average of 7 per cent without employment.
Amid reports that the government withheld the National Sample Survey Organisation’s (NSSO) first ‘Annual Survey on Employment and Unemployment’ for the year 2017-18, Kumar issued a clarification today saying, “Data collection method is different now, we are using a computer-assisted personal interviewee in the new survey. It is not right to compare the two data sets, this data is not verified. It is not correct to use this report as final.”
“The government has not released data on employment as it is still being processed. When the data is ready we will release it,” added Kumar.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said there is plenty of evidence that jobs are being created, adding that the problem, however, is the lack of quality of those jobs.
The job report, the first by NSSO in this government, was expected to reflect job losses in the wake of demonetisation. NSC is an autonomous body constituted in 2006 and tasked to monitor and review the functioning of the country’s statistical systems. Three years ago, it was snubbed by the Niti Aayog over finalisation of GDP back series data. Two members — including the acting chairman — of the National Statistical Commission resigned this week, saying the government had not released the job numbers despite the commission’s approval.
(Inputs from PTI)
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