At the time when the Narendra Modi government is facing criticism for jobless growth, noted economist and PMEAC member says that in 2017, there was a job gain of 12.8 million. In a column written in the Financial Express on Saturday, Surjit Bhalla said, “If the QES data is extrapolated to the entire non-farm population, job growth in India was 10 million; EPFO based estimates place it at 7 million; our estimate for 2017 (CMIE data) is a job gain of 12.8 million.”
He said that there are three independent but piecemeal sources of data on employment growth—QES, CMIE and EPFO. Analysing different data, Surjit Bhalla said that the employment growth has been the highest in NDA periods. “In the UPA period coincident with NSSO data (2004/5 to 2011/12) GDP growth averaged the highest ever, with a CAGR of 7.8 % a year (as also inflation—CAGR of 7.4 %—but that story can be told on another day). However, employment, (principal status), increased by only 11 million; according to the weekly status, employment increased by a similar 11.4 million,” he wrote in the column.
“This was the employment creation inheritance of PM Modi. And, before the economy could really get started, it was hit by two successive droughts in 2014/15 and 2015/16,” he said, adding that droughts are not good for employment is an old true fact.
Making a strong case for health employment growth in India, he also said that the jobs data by Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) is the most pessimistic. “The raw CMIE data (unadjusted by Census population estimates for 22 age-sex groups; 15-19, 20-24… >=65 years for both men and women) shows a total job gain of 1.4 million. But, this is incorrect since the survey population in each age-sex cell is not a good estimate of the Census population in each age-sex cell,” he wrote.
The Narendra Modi government has been saying that there has been job creation and what is lacking is comprehensive jobs data. The government is expected to release a jobs data report later this year, which will map creation of jobs with a different and efficient methodology.