"The latest National Sample Survey Organisation's (NSSO) data that has been withheld by the Modi government has shown that unemployment in India post-demonetisation had reached a four-decade high", it said.
The Niti Aayog CEO also said that according to a study based on data collected by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the Tractor and Mechanization Association (TMA), over 14 million jobs have been created in the transport sector between 2014-2018.
"Modi ji, unemployment rate is at a 45-year high".
"You can't be growing annually at 7.2 percent and saying that there are no jobs being created in the economy", NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant said at a press conference. "Conventional estimates suggested that there are 12 million entrants per year and the country needs roughly around 7 million jobs... the challenge, however is that we need to take into account people exiting low productivity jobs".
The damning revelation comes just a day after a controversy erupted over the central government's refusal to release the report on unemployment despite the National Statistical Commission giving its approval in December previous year. Unemployment rate of rural female youths stood at 13.6 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent in the same period.
Even as the NITI Aayog officials refused to comment on the 6.1% unemployment rate figure or whether NSC ratified the PLFS report in December, 2018, their official statement cites myriad statistics from private organisations and individual research, to argue that the Indian economy has created a lot of jobs under the present government.
The government has questioned the report, saying it was "not verified". "Only a man who hasn't ever held a proper job and is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!" it said.
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"I mean, these kind of examples are everywhere", he said, pointing to street protests by caste and other interest groups seeking quotas for government jobs.
The data is significant because this was the first comprehensive assessment of India's employment situation conducted after Modi's decision in November 2016 to withdraw most of the country's banknotes from circulation overnight, the report said.
After the chaotic launch of a national sales tax in July 2017, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs in small businesses. The number of jobs created per year between 2004-05 and 2009-10 fell to just 0.22 million even though the unemployment rate came down to 2% in the 2009-10 EUS.
"NITI Aayog doesn't have the final report".
This has put pressure on Modi as he seeks to retain power in a general election due by May.
This is allegedly the same report that was reportedly vetted by the two independent members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), including the acting chairman, who resigned on Monday because the government decided not to make the data public.
Some sociologists say that there are instances of a correlation between high unemployment and an increase in criminal behaviour. The chief statistician and the DG, NSSO, sign off on the report which is then sent to the NSC which goes over the report and approves it, Sen said while detailing the procedure.