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Demographic Disaster? India’s unemployment rate at 45-year high

In what turn out to be a major controversy just two months before the Lok Sabha elections for the NDA Government, a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report states that India’s unemployment rate has been at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent during 2017-18, according to the periodic labour force survey (PLFS).

This report, as mentioned by Business Standard, has allegedly been held back by the Modi government and has come to light after two members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) have resigned on January 28, 2019. 
 
The NSSO survey shows that joblessness is higher in the urban areas compared to rural areas at 7.8 percent. The report reveals that unemployment stood at 18.7 percent among urban males aged between 15 and 29 in contrast with 8.1 percent in 2011-12. Among urban females, it was 27.2 percent in 2017-18; it was 13.1 percent in 2011-12. 
 
The unemployment rate among the educated also has increased in 2017-18 period compared to 2004-05 and 2011-12. Meanwhile, the rate of educated jobless rural women ranged between 9.7 and 15.2 percent. In 2017-18, it stood at 17.3 percent. For rural educated males, the rate was 10.5 percent in 2017-18, showing a rise from 3.5 to 4.4 percent between 2004-05 and 2011-12. 
 
Smelling an opportunity in attacking the BJP government, Congress leaders posted a series of remarks on Twitter. Criticising the Modi government, Congress National President tweeted:

“NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 crore jobs a year. 5 years later,  his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs.” 
 
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram tweeted: “We mourn the death of the National Statistical Commission and remember with gratitude its valiant fight to release untainted GDP data and employment data.” 
 
Other opposition leaders such as Sitaram Yechury also joined the discourse and tweeted: “Youth unemployment at astoundingly high levels of 13 percent to 27 percent. Lives, Livelihoods lost under Modi government and our most valued asset, our youth put into misery. This has a direct impact on India’s future. Modi’s policies are to just help rich cronies. For the rest, it is Jumlas.”
 
On the other hand, the Congress is promising an unemployment allowance of Rs.3000 for youth. With the unemployment data leaked and promises of allowance, we seriously need to think whether the governments want to keep the youth unemployed and use it for their political gains during elections.

This is a clear indication of how 'Demographic Dividend' could turn out to be 'India's Demographic Disaster' if it is not addressed rightly. 

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