Govt Confirms Job Market Not Doing Well; Unemployment Rate At 6.1%, Highest In 45 Years
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has officially released unemployment data for 2017-2018, on Friday (31 May). The figures released by the Ministry pegged unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, which is highest since 1972-73.
The disturbing rate of unemployment, which is highest in four decades, is same as leaked and reported by Business Standard, January this year, but the government at that time categorically rejected the data, stating it as baseless and false.
The current official data, shows unemployment rate at 7.8 percent among all employable urban youth while in case of rural youth it’s 5.3 per cent. The joblessness among male on pan India basis is 6.2 percent, and it’s 5.7 percent in case of females. The sample size for data computation was 433,339 number of households. Releasing the data, Ministry spokesperson said that, they have used a new methodology for the survey and computation, hence it can’t be compared with previous government surveys.
Earlier, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) job survey for 2017-18 had shown a surge in unemployment rate to over 6 percent, a 45-year high, but the report was not released by the government and it was termed a draft report. Current cabinet minister Smriti Irani had termed the Business Standard report as fake news. “I am happy that you asked this question because it gives me a sense of the distortion that is being done among people with regards to… fake news,” she had said while interacting with students at Shri Ram College of Commerce Business Conclave on being asked about the report.
The government acknowledgement comes just a day after the Prime Minister and the cabinet took the oath, to begin their second term, but with a precautionary note from, the Finance Ministry, which issued a statement saying, the recent jobs data cannot be compared with past leaked data, as it was faulty.
Members left commission, citing government interference
The same report was also at the mid of controversy after two members, P C Mohanan and J V Meenakshi of, seven member body, National Statistical Commission (NSC), had quit the commission, citing government interference and delays in the release of the report as one of the reasons for their resignation.
P C Mohanan had told PTI, “We have resigned from NSC. We thought that the Commission is not very effective nowadays and we also thought that we are not able to discharge the Commission’s responsibility.”
New standards, for computation
Meanwhile the government of India has decided to bring few changes with respect to availability of household Sample data on employment-unemployment, citing it’s quintessential for evolving economy, like India and its requirements. Some of the changes are visible in 2017-2018 data, like use of education levels as a criterion for stratification at the ultimate level.
The justification for this change was that education levels in the economy has seen a substantial rise due to various policy interventions by government like the Right to Education Act (RTI) etc, and employment and unemployment level should be assessed using the stratification basis.
It is important to note that the past jobs data were measured by using a method in which expenditure of households remains a criteria, but now the current jobs data uses education level as a criteria for computation, instead of expenditure.