As per the latest data released by the Labour Ministry, the unemployment rate in India in 2017-18 stood at 6.1% - which, as per a periodic labour force survey, is the highest it has been in the last 45 years.
The reports stated that 7.8% of employable urban youth were jobless, while the percentage was 5.3% for rural. Furthermore, among the men the joblessness on all-India basis was 6.2%, while it was 5.7% in case of females
However, per The Hindu, Statistics Secretary Pravin Srivastava shared that the comparison with past records was inaccurate because a new matrix was used currently.
I don’t want to claim that it is 45-year low or high. The point is that it is a different matrix. From 2017-18 onwards, you will be getting regular estimates and this (labour force survey) can be used as a base. When we change the matrix, it is very difficult to measure (compare) because there is no means to do a retrospective analysis in that year based on the earlier matrix.
The data was released after the results for the 17th Lok Sabha Elections were announced - where BJP won with a majority, and consequently, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister again.
However, chief statistician Pravin Srivastav shared with Economic Times that the delay in the report was not due to political pressure, but due to the change in methodology.
We can’t do a retrospective analysis based on the previous methodology — there was no (political) pressure. The earlier data was captured using monthly per capita income to measure unemployment — now education is the criteria. We have not delayed the report, we have only brought in new information.
However, it's not the unemployment rate alone that is a point of grave concern. As per the data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO), even India's GDP growth, at 5.8%, was the slowest since 2014-15.
Even if we don't draw a comparison with past records, the current unemployment rate hints at a dangerous trend - where despite receiving formal education and training, the youth is devoid of ample job opportunities. Here's hoping the current government takes appropriate measures to tackle the rising unemployment.