Unemployment figures not released by government: NITI Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar

Rahul Gandhi President of the Indian National Congress

Rahul Gandhi President of the Indian National Congress India Today Group Getty Images

NITI Aayog has said that a yet-to-be-released report that says the country's unemployment rate rose to a 45-year-high in 2017-18 is "not verified". "On a serious note, this is quite worrying".

Congress president Rahul Gandhi referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "Fuhrer".

The findings of the PLFS survey were first reported by Business Standard on Thursday.

The unemployment, according to the report, was higher in urban areas with 7.8 percent as compared to 5.3 percent in rural areas of the country.

He said the country was creating more than 7 million jobs a year, enough for "new entrants" joining the workforce.

Youth unemployment was much higher in 2017-18 than in previous years, according to the government report, and "much higher compared to that in the overall population".

The BJP didn't waste any time and hit back at Gandhi with Mussolini jab. "It's clear that he has inherited Mussolini's short-sightedness and has myopic understanding of issues".

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. "It is a draft report".

The NITI Aayog said the government needed more quarterly data to publish a "comparable" jobs report. "We will go by the report that is finalised".

"The feeling that we are trying to hide something is incorrect", NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant added.

"I mean, these kind of examples are everywhere", he said, pointing to street protests by caste and other interest groups seeking quotas for government jobs.

"Even if the government was still processing quarterly estimates for urban areas, it would have the data from July 2017-June 2018". NSC acting chief PC Mohanan and his colleague J Meenakshi were unhappy over the non-publication of the job data that had been due for release in December a year ago.

The two National Statistical Commission members, including the chairman, who had quit over the allegations of government with-helding the report had made front page headlines in the newspapers and newsrooms after which the government intervened and had interacted with the two members.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has slammed the government after the unemployment figures surfaced.

Critics say Modi's push for raising the share of domestic manufacturing from 17% of GDP to about 25% has not taken off over the last four years. This is why the NSSO report was kept under the wraps.

With the two resignations, the NSC is now left with just two members of the seven that it is supposed to have. "India does not want a Government that has left the future of our youth in jeopardy", Surjewala said on Twitter.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi cited the media report on job creation and tweeted, "If figs inconvenient, doctor them; if experts indep, make them lame duck and forced 2resign; if doctoring not possible, change basis of calculation!"

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