Early this month, the government brushed aside a leaked report that said India’s unemployment rate had surged to a four-decade record, saying that the data hadn’t been finalised and verified as it sought to quell speculation that the information had been suppressed ahead of general elections. “The periodic labour force survey (PLFS) report of NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) is not yet finalised. It’s a draft report which has not been verified by the government,” Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar had said at a press briefing. “We are waiting for six-quarter data in the absence of which we cannot do quarter-on-quarter comparison."
Now, reportedly, the government plans to junk the report that still isn't finalised. According to a report in The Indian Express, the government plans to use findings of the Labour Bureau’s survey on jobs created under the Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency (Mudra) scheme. Niti Aayog on Thursday asked the Labour Ministry to process the survey and present its findings on February 27 so that it could be shared by the first week of March, the report said. The bureau’s survey covers 1 lakh Mudra beneficiaries who availed of the loan scheme between April 2015 and January 31, 2019, says the report. Niti has asked the ministry to furnish figures on number of people directly employed through this scheme as well as additional jobs created as a spin off.
The report says that Niti wants the sample findings to be extrapolated over 15.56 crore Mudra beneficiaries as per official records while the Labour Ministry pushed for a real base number of 10.5 crore as the former had “double or triple counting of loans”. Niti vice chairman Kumar had said that India’s economic growth figures were at odds with large-scale unemployment. “Real-term GDP growth is over 7% while nominal growth is around 11-12%. Since credit offtake is not very robust, where has this growth come from,” Kumar said. Niti is of the view that high growth cannot take place without a rise in employment as there has been a decline in private investment and no significant improvement in productivity.