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It’s official! India’s unemployment rate has hit 45-year high

PW Bureau

A report that had appeared in Business Standard in January had said that the unemployment rate was the highest since 1972/73, and the figures revealed now match that report New Delhi: Months after data leaked to a national newspaper showed that unemployment in India was at its highest level in at least 45 years, official figures have now emerged that provide substance to the charge. The statistics ministry said on Friday that India’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent in 2017-18.

‘It’s a new design’

While refusing to provide comparable numbers for the jobless rate, chief statistician Pravin Srivastava told the media without elaborating, “It's a new design, new metric.” “It would be unfair to compare it with the past,” he said.

The backdrop

The data has emerged a day after Prime Minister was sworn-in for a second term as the ruling party made a comeback to the Parliament with a thumping majority in the recently-concluded General Elections. Another set of data that was released on Friday showed that the economy grew at 5.8 percent in the March quarter — its slowest in 17 quarters. This is also the first time that India has fallen behind China’s pace in nearly two years.

The expose that broke the news in Jan

A report that had appeared in Business Standard in January had said that the unemployment rate was the highest since 1972/73, without quoting a specific figure. It had said that the assessment was based on a survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Office between July 2017 and June 2018.