New Delhi: It is now official that the country has indeed been witnessing jobless growth. Months after rejecting the claim by a leaked report that India’s unemployment rate had touched a 45-year high, the government admitted the same Friday with the latest data showing that joblessness had indeed touched 6.1 per cent in the 12-month period from July 2017 to June 2018.
The government had earlier brushed aside a leaked official report on the country’s poor job scenario and maintained that the unemployment data was yet to be finalised.
The Centre had come under fire for withholding the key macro data, with the opposition parties alleging that it was a deliberate attempt to hide its non-performance. Moreover, some members of the Statistical Commission had earlier resigned to protest against the government decision to withhold the data.
The official release has come a day after Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister for the second time on Thursday in the backdrop of high public expectations on jobs and economic growth.
The official data showed 7.8 per cent of all employable urban youth as being jobless during the survey period, while the percentage for the rural areas stood 5.3 per cent.
The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the total the labour force. Nearly 10 million youth join the country’s workforce every year.
The data poses a huge challenge to the Modi government which has returned to power for the second term on the promise that it will set policies right and ensure faster economic growth and employment.
The gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has plunged to its lowest in the last five years to touch 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19. The manufacturing sector, which provides employment to a large number of workforce joining the country, has also been largely sluggish.