Indian jobless rate at multi-decade high, report says, in blow to Modi

Job seekers attend a job fair organised by the employment department of the Delhi state government in New Delhi, India, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

A government official checks the papers of job aspirants for registration at an employment exchange office in Ahmedabad, February 19, 2016.

NEW DELHINEW DELHI (Reuters) – An official survey that has been withheld by the government shows India’s unemployment rate rose to its highest level in at least 45 years in 2017/18, the Business Standard newspaper reported on Thursday, delivering a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi months before a general election.

A political controversy over the survey erupted after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the jobs data resigned, saying there had been a delay in its scheduled December release and alleging interference by other state agencies.

The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), conducted July 2017-June 2018, showed an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. That was the highest since 1972/73, the period for which the data are comparable, the newspaper reported, citing documents it had reviewed. It did not give a figure for 1972/73.

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