Job creation has remained a tough nut to crack for the Modi government ever since it came to power in 2014. Promises of creating employment for the hopeful youth of the country was one of the key promises that helped the BJP win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Even at the end of its term, and in the backdrop of a leaked NSSO employment survey stirring controversy, the Modi government is confident of its efforts towards creating jobs.
The truth, however, is that there is not enough credible employment data to judge whether the Modi government has actually been true to its word. The practice of collecting job data is fairly recent in India. If anything, the available data paints a bleak picture of the job scenario in India. There also is no definite way to compare how the incumbent government has performed in terms of employment as opposed to its predecessors.
During an election rally at Agra during the election campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi had promised one crore jobs every year. But a news report referring to an unapproved NSSO periodic labour force survey (PLFS) has revealed that India's unemployment rate has touched 6.1 per cent, which is the highest it has been since 1972-73. The report further said that unemployment was higher in urban areas, at 7.8 per cent, as compared to 5.3 per cent in rural areas of the country.
While the government has debunked the NSSO report as only an unapproved draft, the Opposition has taken this as a chance to heap criticism on the government. Congress president Rahul Gandhi went as far as likening PM Modi to the Adolf Hitler.
It does not end at the NSSO survey, either. Even the payroll data by Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which is treated by the government as the evidence of formal job creation in India, does not support these claims of job creation. This is despite the questions being raised over the EPFO payroll data which is susceptible to duplication. The payroll data indicates the net job addition every month since September 2017.
Going by the pre-poll promise of one crore jobs per year by PM Modi, around 8.4 lakh jobs should have been created every month. The updated EPFO payroll data released in January this year shows a monthly average of 4.90 lakh only. The earlier figure declared that 6.10 lakh new jobs were created, still short of the promised one crore jobs every year.
A report by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that India lost one million jobs between December 2017 and December 2018. CMIE, which started an employment survey back in March 2016, shows that the unemployment rate in India was 6.64 per cent of the labour force in December 2018.
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