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‘Economic absurdity' to say no creation of jobs with high GDP growth: Jaitley

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New Delhi, Feb 01: Rubbishing the reports claiming that the government had failed on the job creation front, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the GDP has been growing nominally at around 12 % and it would an "economic absurdity" to say that there has been no creation of jobs.

According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), accessed by Business Standard, the unemployment rate was at its highest level since 1972-73. Commenting on the NSSO report, which has given fresh ammo to the opposition to corner the government, Jaitley said, "I don't think that's a report. That's a draft which has not been approved."

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

India's estimated unemployment rate shot at a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18, according to the NSSO periodic labour force survey.

"There is 7.5% of average GDP growth and inflation is around 4.5%, so our nominal growth adding the two is around 11.5-12%. If the economy is growing over the last five years by a 12% nominal growth and if you compound it annually, then the size itself is expanding. It would be an economic absurdity to say that such large nominal growth, the highest anywhere in the world, doesn't lead to the creation of jobs. That can happen in only one eventuality, that your productivity levels go up to such an extent that even a bigger economy doesn't grow jobs," Jaitley, who is currently in the United States for medical treatment, told news agency ANI.

Jaitley said there would have been social unrest if there was no job creation.

"This has been a peace period as far as social issues are concerned and no major social agitation has been witnessed in the last five years. I completely refute this argument that at 12% nominal growth will not lead to the creation of jobs," he added.

['NoMo Jobs': Rahul Gandhi targets PM over unemployment data]

Yesterday (Jan 31), NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar came down hard on the report which claims that unemployment levels are at a 45-year-high, and said the data which is doing rounds in the media reports is "not verified".

The Niti Aayog's clarification came a day after a Busines Standard report, based on the government survey, suggested that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high during 2017-18.

[India's unemployment rate hit four-decade high after demonetisation: Report]

Two independent members of the National Statistical Commission had resigned this week after the government allegedly failed to publish the report that was prepared last month.

The survey had become a bone of contention between the government and the Opposition with the latter accusing the former of having destroyed jobs. Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the report that claimed unemployment rate in the country hit a 45-year high.

Earlier, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also alleged that the unemployment rate is at a 45-year high and said this was the reason why the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report on jobs was withheld. This is why the members of National Statistical Commission resigned, he claimed.

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