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"The latest National Sample Survey Organisation's (NSSO) data that has been withheld by the Modi government has shown that unemployment in India post-demonetisation had reached a four-decade high", it said.

The damning revelation comes just a day after a controversy erupted over the central government's refusal to release the report on unemployment despite the National Statistical Commission giving its approval in December past year.

Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the released report is still a draft and is being completed.

The government did not confirm the contents of the NSSO report but said it felt that the report doesn't present an accurate comparative picture. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. To compare, the unemployment rate in the country had gone down to 2.2% in 2011-12, according to NSSO data. "My view is that we are creating jobs for new entrants, but we are probably not creating high-quality jobs, people are moving away from low-quality jobs in the agricultural sector, which we need to address", the NITI Aayog chief added.

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Mumbai: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a financial daily reported that the unemployment rate in the country was at its highest level since 1972-73. Now, the Business Standard report said that joblessness stood at 7.8% in urban areas compared with 5.3% in rural areas.

But, while India's economy has been expanding by 7 percent plus annually - the fastest pace among major economies - its uneven growth has meant that there are not enough new jobs to keep pace. "The government's argument that the report was not ready is misleading", he said. And critics say the government's claims of economic success have sounded increasingly hollow. The labour force participation rate - the proportion of population working or seeking jobs - declined to 36.9% in 2017/18 from 39.5% in 2011/12. It also exposes the utter failure of the BJP-led government to deliver on its promise of providing two crore jobs every year, that is, ten crore new jobs during the last five years.

After the chaotic launch of a national sales tax in July 2017, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs in small businesses. In what now looks like a pattern, the report had been approved by the labour minister in December but not released to the public. This was the highest unemployment rate in India in the last 20 years.