Job crisis is actually a data crisis: Modi

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There is a lack of consistency in the political debate around job creation, says PM

On the job front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a different angle claiming that the problem was not about the lack of jobs, but rather about the lack of available data on jobs.

In an interview to a magazine, Modi said that more than the lack of jobs, the issue is a lack of data on jobs, and that opponents will exploit this opportunity to paint a picture of their choice and blame us.

He also said that he doesn’t blame opponents on the issue of jobs, because after all, no one has an accurate data on jobs. Our traditional matrix of measuring jobs is simply not good enough to measure new jobs in the new economy of New India.

While campaigning for the 2014 general election, Modi had promised that a BJP government would create 10 million new jobs a year.

“If BJP comes to power, it will provide one crore jobs, which the UPA government could not do despite announcing the same before the last Lok Sabha polls,” Modi had emphasised at a rally in Agra in 2013.

In the interview, Modi argued that there are close to three lakh village-level entrepreneurs, who are creating employment; around 15,000 startups that are working as job multipliers; and aggregators that are employing thousands of youth.

“If we look at numbers for employment, more than 41 lakh formal jobs were created from September 2017 to April 2018, based on EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) payroll data. According to a study based on EPFO data, more than 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector last year. Now, you know that the informal sector constitutes around 80 per cent of all jobs,” stressed Modi.

“We also know that job creation in the formal sector can have a spinoff effect on job creation in the informal sector too. If 41 lakh jobs were generated in the formal sector in eight months, how much would be the total formal plus informal sector jobs?” he said.

After pointing out that experts do not concur with this manner of measuring jobs, Modi asked whether the 48 newly-registered enterprises, micro loans worth ?12 crore, the construction of one crore houses in the past one year, the doubling of road construction, would not all contribute to generating employment. “A recent international report showed how quickly poverty in India is declining. Do you think that is possible without people having jobs?” he noted.

Modi also noted that the state governments of Karnataka (the previous Congress-led government) and West Bengal had claimed to have created 53 lakh jobs and 68 lakh jobs respectively (WB in its last term). “Now, if states are all creating a good number of jobs, is it possible that the country is not creating jobs? Is it possible that states are creating jobs but the Centre is creating joblessness?” he said.

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