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Don't Shoot the Messenger

An official tirade has been unleashed against official data on employment. But why?

A pattern seems to have emerged of the government wanting to dismiss its own data on important socio-economic indicators. Doubts were cast earlier on the poverty numbers, then on the inflation indices and now it is the turn of the employment numbers to be attacked.

The first report of the results of the 66th round of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) shows that the unemployment rate, however measured, declined between 2004-05 and 2009-10. At the same time the actual increase in employment over this period was very low: from 1 million to 18 million depending on the measure of employment used. These estimates were quoted in the media to point out that employment expansion during the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government fell significantly short of the Eleventh Plan target of 50 million jobs and was also lower than the estimated job creation between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, which was broadly coterminous with the National Democratic Alliance government’s term in office.

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