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Leaked data Part II: Where India's jobs mess is most acute

India had a joblessness rate of 6.1% in 2017-18, a huge jump over the 2.2% registered in 2011-12, a report says.

ET Online|
Updated: Apr 13, 2019, 06.09 AM IST
Latest from the leaked jobs data cache shows where India's jobs mess is most acute
Thousands of jobseekers line up at an employment mela.
After the NSSO data leak episode which revealed a 45-year jobs low for India that the government had a hard time countering, here comes another significant set of findings from the same source.

More than a third of India's states - 11 states to be precise - had unemployment rates higher than the national average in 2017-18, reveals a Business Standard story quoting the annual periodic labour force survey of the NSSO.

Seven of the 11 states - Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Kerala, Assam, Haryana - were among the most jobless in 2011-12 too, the year when the last such survey was carried out. Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu freshly entered the charts in 2017-18.

India had a joblessness rate of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, a huge jump over the 2.2 per cent registered in 2011-12, says the report that has been kept under wraps by the government.

Statewise break-up of joblessness
Data for 2017-18 shows Kerala has the most number of jobless people at 11.4 per cent. It is followed by Haryana (8.6 per cent), Assam (8.1 per cent) and Punjab (7.8 per cent).

At 3.3 per cent, Chhattisgarh had the least unemployment in 2017-18. Madhya Pradesh (4.5 per cent) and West Bengal (4.6 per cent) were at second and third places, the data showed.

The joblessness rate rose the quickest in Gujarat — from 0.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 4.8 per cent in 2017-18 — a pretty sharp jump even after taking low base effect into account. Data showed that the number of jobless youth rose exponentially both in rural (14.9 percent in 2017018 from a mere 0.8 per cent in 2011-12) and urban Gujarat (to 10.7 per cent from 2.1 per cent).

After Gujarat, the second, third and fourth sharpest spikes in joblessness were seen by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. In Madhya Pradesh unemployment rose from 1 per cent in 2011-12 to 4.5 per cent in 2017-18 and in Uttar Pradesh it went up from 1.5 per cent to 6.4 per cent. Unemployment numbers climbed from 1.2 per cent to 5 per cent in Rajasthan.

West Bengal was a prominent case at the other end of the spectrum. From having the fifth most jobless people in 2011-12, the state turned things around significantly to get counted among the bottom five in 2017-18.

Storm over data
The release of the NSSO data has been kept on hold by the government even as a storm rages over the real state of jobs in India. The assessment by the NSSO carried out between July 2017-June 2018 showed that the unemployment rate in India stood at 6.1 per cent, the highest since 1972-73.

The Business Standard newspaper had raised quite a storm when it first broke a story about the withheld jobs data. The report had revealed that half of India’s working-age population (15 years and above), for the first time, was not contributing to any economic activity.

The NSSO data quoted by the newspaper seemed to corroborate CMIE's assessment that the country lost as many as 11 million jobs last year.

The controversy had taken a political turn after the acting chairman and another member of India's prime statistical body that reviewed the data resigned citing the inexplicable delay in its release.

To quell the row, Niti Aayog had subsequently stepped in with a clarification that it was just a "draft report" and that some parts of the data were still being processed.

Data was being collected in a new manner which explains the delay in release of the report, NITI Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar had said, insisting that it was not right to publish incomplete reports.

This specific set of NSSO findings is thought of as particularly crucial by experts as it is the first data set to capture the comprehensive scenario of jobs in India after demonetisation.

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