Report claiming 45-year high in unemployment not verified: Niti Aayog

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The NSSO report on job data has been at the centre of much controversy after two non-governmental members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), PC Mohanan and JV Meenakshi, stepped down on Monday amid "disagreements" with the government over the functioning of the commission. It also exposes the utter failure of the BJP-led government to deliver on its promise of providing two crore jobs every year, that is, ten crore new jobs during the last five years.

The report that states the country's unemployment rate raised to a 45-year-high in 2017-2018 are "not verified" and the "veracity of the data is not known", NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Thursday. "I do not want to comment on it", Pravin Srivastava, India's chief statistician, told Reuters. "It is not correct to use this report as final".

While saying that enough jobs were being created, Kant said, "There is a lack of good quality jobs".

The damning revelation comes just a day after a controversy erupted over the central government's refusal to release the report on unemployment despite the National Statistical Commission giving its approval in December a year ago.

The National Sample Survey Office has conducted a nation wide survey where the report was ready in December past year but the government had no intention to release it ahead of the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

The government declined to confirm or deny the findings contained in the report.

The Indian economy has been expanding at a rate of over 7 per cent annually, one of the fastest in the world. In what now looks like a pattern, the report had been approved by the labour minister in December but not released to the public.

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He also debunked claims of jobless growth, saying how can a country grow at an average of 7 per cent without employment.

"News and data like thousands of PhDs applying for waiter jobs in Mumbai or millions applying for just a thousand jobs in Gujarat or 10 million applying for a small number of jobs in railways", he said.

Himanshu, an associate professor at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who specialises in development economics, said that the jobs crisis was everywhere to see.

The data is significant because this was the first comprehensive assessment of the employment situation conducted after Modi government's November 8, 2016 decision of demonetization, the report said.

The survey comes a month after the All India Manufacturers' Organisation released a report that said 3.5 million jobs had been lost since 2016.

High levels of unemployment were registered for the educated youth both rural and urban.

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