New Delhi: The National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey 2017-18 has reportedly found that the size of India’s male workforce – or men who are working – has reduced for the first time since 1993-94.
According to the Indian Express, the unreleased report says there are 28.6 crore employed men – a decline from 30.4 crore in 2011-12, when the last NSSO survey was conducted. This downward trend is even stronger in rural areas than in urban, the newspaper reported, with a 6.4% decline in the number of employed men in rural areas against 4.7% in urban.
For men and women combined, the national workforce shrunk by 4.7 crore, Indian Express quoted the NSSO data as saying. “While the employment loss in the rural segment hurt the women most (68 per cent), men suffered more (96 per cent) job losses in the urban areas,” the newspaper said.
The NSSO report puts the urban unemployment rate at 7.1% and the rural rate at 5.8%.
The government’s decision not to publish this report yet has been subject to controversy, and two expert members including the acting chairman quit the National Statistical Commission in protest after it was not released despite their okay.
The report was first leaked in the Business Standard in January. The NSSO reportedly found that unemployment in India was at a 45-year high in 2017-18. This was the first job survey conducted after Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move.
Data on employment – or the lack thereof – has been a controversial subject during the Modi regime. It was recently reported that a survey on jobs created under the Mudra scheme won’t be released before the 2019 elections. This is the third report on jobs data that the government has failed to release yet. In addition to the PLFS and the Mudra reports, the Labour Bureau’s sixth annual employment-unemployment survey too has not been released.
A group of 108 economists and social scientists recently released a joint statement on “political interference” in statistical data, which said the government is attempting to “suppress uncomfortable data”.