NSSO job loss report junked, Niti Aayog taps Mudra survey for data

Findings of the Labour Bureau’s survey on jobs created under MUDRA scheme will be used to laud its achievement on this front.

The NDA government plans to junk the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report on unemployment and, instead, use findings of the Labour Bureau’s survey on jobs created under the Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency (Mudra) scheme to laud its achievement on this front.

Niti Aayog on Thursday asked the Labour Ministry to process the survey and present its findings on February 27 so that it could be shared by the first week of March. The meeting was attended by Niti vice-chairman Rajeev Kumar, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar and his officials.

The bureau’s survey covers 1 lakh Mudra beneficiaries who availed of the loan scheme between April 2015 and January 31, 2019.

Niti has asked the ministry to furnish figures on a number of people directly employed through this scheme as well as additional jobs created as a spin-off.

Niti wants the sample findings to be extrapolated over 15.56 crore Mudra beneficiaries as per official records while the Labour Ministry pushed for a real base number of 10.5 crores as the former had “double or triple counting of loans”.

The larger number also included people who had moved to self-employment from other jobs resulting in status quo on new job creation, Labour Ministry said. Moreover, it argued that some of the 34.26 crores Jan Dhan account holders
were also being included by banks as Mudra beneficiaries; especially those accounts where an overdraft of Rs 5,000 was being provided by the bank.

Niti Aayog expects the bureau’s report to help counter reports on the other two surveys — which have not been officially released — that showed job losses during the NDA government’s tenure.

The Labour Bureau’s 6th annual employment-unemployment survey showed unemployment rising to a four-year high of 3.9 per cent in 2016-17 while a report of the NSSO survey pegged unemployment at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.

Facing criticism over lack of job creation by his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month told Parliament that there was no “correct system” of collecting job data at present and his government was trying to put one in place.

He rejected allegations of rising unemployment and said crores of new jobs have been created informal and unorganised sectors in the last four and half years, citing data from Provident Fund and National Pension System (NPS), Income Tax filings and sale of vehicles, among others.

He said the informal sector accounted for 85-90 per cent while the formal sector provided only 10-15 per cent employment in the country.

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