While this is likely a side-effect of demonetisation, more research is needed to unpack how India’s unemployment rate fell during the period January- April 2017.
While the labour ministry thinks the government has a successful job creation record, a recent report has shed light on growing joblessness and the shift towards informal and low-paid employment avenues.
Concerning structural trends among the self-employed, gender disparity in employment and severe sampling flaws with the quarterly employment surveys should be tackled head-on and not ignored.
The new order of the day will be to increase revenue per employee, truly achieve non-linear growth and capture new forms of digital work. But even this will be a difficult task.
To seal a durable path to political longevity, Modi has to use his authority to roll back political divisiveness and focus on jobs and growth. He has to live up to the ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ slogan by speaking up when the fringe erupts.
With the BJP winning in assembly polls on divisive and emotive issues, the government seems convinced all is well with the economy.
The Modi government’s failure on crucial development fronts such as farmer incomes and job creation may hold the key in understanding the rapid shift in narrative from human development to nationalism.
With the re-calibration of economic globalisation, there may not be any merit, per se, in being the “most open economy in the world”.
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