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What Modi govt was hiding: Unemployment highest in 45 years; but more reports pending





The country’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year high of 6.1% last year (2017-18) according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) periodic labour force survey (PLFS) reported by Business Standard (BS).

This is the data which Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has withheld, prompting the two independent members of National Statistical Commission (NSC) – acting chairman PC Mohanan and member JV Meenakshi – to resign.

The government merely expressed surprise, saying the two had not raised their concerns at any of the meetings, and added that the report was being processed and will be released thereafter. It also said there were some aspects missing in the report, inviting the further criticism that a minister and his bureaucrats cannot be better judges of the report than the experts specially entrusted the task.

Already under fire for growing joblessness, it was clear that Modi government was reluctant to release the report with 2019 Lok Sabha election due in just a couple of months.

But apart from the job front, there is a whole range of other government reports and statistics that is usually updated periodically, which Modi government has not made public for years: data on crime, farmer suicides, caste and agricultural wages, found an IndiaSpend research. More on that below; first, let’s look at the NSSO survey findings.

This is the first survey on employment by a government agency after PM Modi announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in November 2016. The PLFS is the first annual household survey of the NSSO. Data was collected between July 2017 and June 2018.

Documents reviewed by the Business Standard showed that joblessness – unemployment rate –was at its highest since the 1972-73 period, from when the employment data is comparable.

In comparison, the unemployment rate stood at 2.2% in 2011-12, during the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) second term, according to the survey.

The report showed that the unemployment rate among the youth was at a higher level compared to previous years and “much higher compared to that in the overall population”.

The rate of unemployment among men in rural areas between the ages of 15 and 29 years jumped to 17.4 percent in 2017-18 compared to 5 percent in 2011-12. The unemployment rate among women in rural areas stood at 13.6 percent in 2017-18 compared to 4.8 percent in 2011-12, according to the survey.

Unemployment among youth in urban areas was higher than in rural areas – 18.7 percent for men and 27.2 percent for women in 2017-18.

The same was true for the educated. More among the educated were jobless in 2017-18 than they were in 2004-05. For educated women in rural areas, unemployment was at 17.3 percent in 2017-18 compared to 9.7 percent-15.2 percent during 2004-05 to 2011-12. For educated men in rural areas, the unemployment rose to 10.5 percent in 2017-18 compared to 3.5 percent to 4.4 percent during 2004-05 to 2011-12.

The labour force participation rate, which is the proportion of population working or seeking jobs, declined from 39.5 percent in 2011-12 to 36.9 percent in 2017-18. The labour force participation has been declining since 2004-05. The dip was at a higher pace in 2017-18 compared to 2011-12, but at a lower speed than what was witnessed in 2009-10.

Earlier, surveys conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said that 1.1 core jobs were lost last year.

India’s economy has been expanding by 7 per cent plus annually — the fastest pace among major economies — but the uneven growth has meant there are not enough jobs created for millions of young Indians entering the workforce each year. This has put pressure on Modi as he faces general elections in May.

The Modi government’s penchant to present a rosy picture of national situation extends to concealing the ugly reality in many key areas.


Withholding data is Harmful to the Country in many ways

Lack of data prevents central and state governments from making informed decisions, Jayati Ghosh, a development economist and professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University was quoted as saying by IndiaSpend. Citizens who need to plan for their savings, investments and other issues are similarly affected, she said.

It creates economic opacity that prevents businesses and investors from making good decisions, said IndaSpend quoting Sabina Dewan, president and executive director of JustJobs Network, a research organisation focussed on strategies for job creation & workforce development.

Dewan said it also prevents NGOs and other development-oriented organisations from doing their work in an evidence-based manner.

“How are we to hold government accountable if they control and censure information that should be publicly accessible? We risk going down a very slippery slope if government withholds such data that should help in determining the policies that will actually help address the jobs crisis,” she told IndiaSpend.

“The Indian government’s withholding of the National Sample Survey employment/ unemployment report, which is expected to reflect job losses, undermines the ability of the electorate to make informed decisions,” said Dewan, adding, “A functional democracy is premised on an informed electorate.”

“All surveys should be put into the public domain so that researchers and analysts can examine and critique the data quality and also generate additional analyses that can serve the policy community,” Purnima Menon, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, told IndiaSpend. The National Family Health Survey and the National Sample Survey, for instance, can be downloaded directly from the websites, she said. “It’s fantastic to see the various data and research outputs generated from these,” she added.

Citizens deserve to know whether major economic reforms such as demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax have had an impact on employment, Dewan added.

“At the very least, the public, experts and even other policymakers that can use this information to make informed decisions, deserve an explanation,” Dewan added.


Modi government has kept the country in the dark about several important indicators that are essential for policy making and governance.

Recently, there have also been concerns raised over data going missing from the websites of centrally-sponsored schemes. For example, several sets of data were removed from the Swachh Bharat-Gramin website, including data on expenditure, conversion of insanitary toilets which foster manual scavenging, and several details of toilet construction, as IndiaSpend reported on October 6, 2018.


Missing Statistics – A Non-Exhaustive List
Report Ministry/Department Last submitted
NSSO Annual Employment-Unemployment Report Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation 2011-12
Socio-Economic Caste Census (data for OBCs was supposed to be released by 2015-16) Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner 2011-12
Rapid Survey of Children Ministry of Women and Child Development 2013-14
Foreign Direct Investment statistics Ministry of Commerce/DIPP Jun-18
Crime in India National Crime Records Bureau 2016
Prison Statistics of India National Crime Records Bureau 2015
Accidents and Suicides data National Crime Records Bureau 2015
Agricultural Wages Data Ministry of Agriculture/ Directorate of Economics and Statistics 2015-16

Source: IndiaSpend research


The accidents and suicides report, which provides information on farmer suicides and is brought out by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), has not been released for four years now.

Data on foreign direct investment, brought out every quarter by the department of industrial policy and production (DIPP), have not been released since June 2018, despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) providing it with regular inputs, according to this Business Today report published on January 29, 2019.

When the central government released the socio-economic profile of the population generated through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) in 2015, it withheld data on caste despite demands from opposition parties and ministers within the government, a report in The Economic Times said in September 2018.

The report of a Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey–started towards the end of 2016 to create comprehensive nutritional profiles of preschoolers (0-4 years), school-age children (5-14 years) and adolescents (15-19 years)–has been ready but not released.

The report would help reorient India’s nutrition policy and serve as a baseline to evaluate the progress of recently launched initiatives such as the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (‘national adolescent health programme’), Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (‘national child health programme’) and the National Iron-Plus Initiative, the IndiaSpend research said.


India News

Police vehicles torched as violence erupts between 2 groups in Maharashtra’s Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar



Police and public vehicles were reportedly set ablaze by the mob as violent clashes erupted between two groups outside a temple in Maharashtra’s Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar on Wednesday night, reports said.

As per reports, an altercation between two groups escalated outside a Ram Temple in Kiradpura area of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and resulted in the two sides hurling stones at each other as more people joined the clashes.

According to the police the mob also set ablaze several police and public vehicles outside the temple and the police had to fire tear smoke shells to pacify the situation and disperse the mob.

A senior official said that four people who sustained injuries in the incident and were hospitalized, have been discharged after receiving medical attention.

He said that fire services were called to the scene to douse the burning vehicle and a heavy deployment of police personnel has been made and security beefed up to prevent any riots or untoward incidents from taking place.

CP Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar Nikhil Gupta told news agency ANI that a clash broke out between two groups in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’s Kiradpura area during which stones were pelted by both sides and the mob torched some private and police vehicles.

The officer said the police was compelled to use force and fire tear gas shells to disperse the rioters and the situation is peaceful, adding that strict action will be taken against the miscreants.

The senior officer said all the “miscreants” have been removed and situation is under control while also appealing the people to maintain calm and peace.

In a video shared on Twitter, AIMIM’s National Corporator Mohammed Naseeruddin Twitter said that Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel went to the Ram temple following which false news was spread that the temple was attacked by some miscreants.

Police and local administration have appealed the people to maintain calm and not to believe rumors.

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Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani acquitted in 2017 rally case

A Gujarat sessions court, Wednesday, overturned a lower court sentence and conviction of Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and nine others in a case of unlawful assembly for taking out a public rally without the permission of the police in 2017.



Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani

A Gujarat sessions court, Wednesday, overturned a lower court sentence and conviction of Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and nine others in a case of unlawful assembly for taking out a public rally without the permission of the police in 2017.

Setting aside the lower court judgement, a sessions court in Mehsana district observed that debates and bona fide criticism of government actions are essential for the existence of democracy while also quoting former US President Abraham Lincoln: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God, cannot long retain it.”

The sessions court in its judgement noted that the prosecution’s entire case was baseless and lacked any substance or evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge CM Pawar allowed the appeal of Jignesh Mevani, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Reshma Patel, and others against the May 2022 order of a judicial magistrate court which had convicted and sentenced them for three-months in jail under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In July 2017, an FIR was lodged against Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani and others at the Mehsana ‘A’ division police station for taking out an “Azadi march” in support of landless farmers of the area, without police permission, from Mehsana town to Dhanera in Banaskantha district.

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Mevani and other accused had sought permission from authorities to organise a rally under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch to air grievances of members of the Dalit community.

Jignesh Mevani—a prominent Dalit leader—is also a working president of the Gujarat Congress.

An executive magistrate via an order June 27, 2017 granted the permission for the rally, however, it was rescinded on July 7 of that year on grounds of public disorder but Mevani and others persisted and went ahead with their planned rally leading to an FIR against them for unlawful assembly under section 143 of the IPC.

Mevani, at the time, was an independent legislator from Banaskantha district’s Vadgam and was reelected from the same constituency on Congress ticket in the December 2022 elections.

Justice Pawar in his ruling observed that “deliberations, discussions, debates and bona fide dissent against policies of government and even bona fide criticism of action of government are essential for the existence of democracy in the nation.”

The sessions judge also highlighted the misuse of power and process of law by authorities for suppressing the voice of people, and noted showing “dominance of power” is not unknown even in a democratic set up.

The judge noted that in a democracy elected leaders meant to serve the people not to rule them, adding that a democratic nation is duty-bound to “protect the rights of citizens without any fear of criticism for survival of the ethos of democracy in the nation.”

He observed that right of freedom will be nullified in a democracy if dissent or peaceful protest is branded as an offence.

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India News

Stressed by exams, medical student jumps to death in Pune: Police

A first-year medical student, apparently stressed out due to examinations and studies, allegedly jumped to her death from the terrace of a government-run college in Pune on Wednesday morning, officials said.



Pune medical student death

A first-year medical student, apparently stressed out due to examinations and studies, allegedly jumped to her death from the terrace of a government-run college in Pune on Wednesday morning, officials said.

According to the police, the deceased—a 21-year-old student at Pune’s government-run B J Medical College purportedly died of suicide after she jumped from the terrace of the Sassoon General Hospital, which is attached to the college on Wednesday morning.

A senior police official said the young student was distressed from the past few days to due pressure of examinations and studies and unfortunately resorted to taking such an extreme step, instead of seeking counselling and help.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Smartana Patil said the deceased, a first-year medical student, was apparently stressed due to the pressure of studies and was often found crying during the past three-four days.

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DCP Patil said the deceased girl’s parents had asked her to appear in exams even if she was unprepared which and even provided her psychiatric help and were by her side for the past three days.

The officer said her parents also took her to a psychiatrist for consultation and did not leave her side for the past week and also accompanied her to college on the fateful day, however, she somehow managed to give them the slip and went to the terrace of Sassoon General Hospital where she jumped to her death.

The victim sustained grievous injuries in the fall and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where she succumbed to her injuries, the officer said, adding that prima facie, the case is being treated as a suicide, however, no suicide note was recovered from the scene.

Officer Patil said a case of suicide and accidental death has been registered in this regard and further investigation is ongoing.

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