"70 Lakh Jobs Created In FY 2017-18," Claims Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar recently said that under the NDA-regime, 70 lakh jobs have been created in Financial Year 2017-18 alone. He based his statement on a variety of factors including data from Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
His statement comes on the heels of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remark that Modi government’s promise of generating two crore jobs annually has turned out to be a “gimmick”.
70 lakh jobs created
Kumar called the criticism of jobless growth under the present government’s regime to be “spurious”. He further said that growth in the sales of transport vehicles, extensive disbursement of Mudra loans and EPFO data are evidence of how great opportunities for both employment and self-employment have been created in the last four years, as reported by Firstpost.
Commenting on Manmohan Singh’s statement, Kumar said, “With all due respect, former prime minister Manmohan Singh does not put forward the data (on employment generation), I think this is a spurious charge and I think the debate should be much more on further improving the quality of the jobs,” as reported by PTI.
Kumar questioned the basis of the criticism against the NDA government regarding job creation. He said that if unemployment was indeed on a rise, the real wages, both in urban and rural areas, should have declined, which, however, was not the case.
According to The Hindu, regarding the farmers’ protests taking place in different parts of the country, he claimed that the rural economy is in “good shape”, given that the minimum support price (MSP) for the farmers has been increased by tremendous amounts. “The rural economy is in good shape, farmers’ income is rising,” he asserted.
Increased job creation?
This is not the first time that the claims of increased job creation under the NDA regime have been made. In August, PM Modi said that 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector last year (2017). Even he based his claims on the EPFO data as well.
It may be noted that, as reported by The Wire, in September, EPFO released a data showing that nearly one-fourth of the net payroll in the formal sector comprised of people switching jobs. It means that EPFO counted people quitting the previous job and joining a new one as a new entry to the payroll.
The Logical Indian spoke to economist Akash Jindal, who said, “I cannot comment on the methodology used to come to this number (70 lakh). However, it is true that the number of jobs created is less than what is the need of the hour.”
Also, a report by the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in February said that till then around 31 million unemployed people were looking for jobs. The report also revealed that in July 2017, the unemployment rates dropped to a low of 3.4%, however, it kept on increasing steadily from then on. In February 2018, this number spiked to 7.1%.
Minimum Support Price
Kumar also said that the rural economy has shaped up due to the increase in the MSP by huge amounts.
The approval for hiking the MSP for Kharif marketing season of 2018-19 was announced in July. In October, the decision to increase the MSP for all Rabi crops for 2018-19 was made.
There has been a debate that the increase in the MSP rates has not been in accordance with the recommendations by the Swaminathan Committee. Secondly, the increase in the MSP rates is not uniform across different crops. Also, a July report submitted by the government-appointed committee on restructuring food crop in India said that only 6% of the total number of farmers can sell their crops at MSP.
Recently, one of the major farmers’ protests organised in New Delhi had the main demand for better MSP rates.