Data leak of unemployment figures serious: Govt


NEW DELHI, July 18:The Government Thursday admitted
in the Rajya Sabha that there has been a data leak of
unemployment figures and said efforts were being made to
ascertain who was behind it.

Replying to queries during Question Hour, Minister of
State for Planning and Statistics Rao Inderjit Singh termed
the issue as “serious” and said data pertaining to
unemployment figures was leaked ahead of its announcement in
May this year.

He also informed members that the government has changed
the methodology for ascertaining unemployment rates as a
periodic survey is now being held every year based on
quarterly data, against the five-year surveys earlier.

“It is right that there was a data leak. Our survey
result was to come out on May 30, 2019, but before that the
data was leaked. We have taken this very seriously. Maybe
someone has an agenda behind it and the data was leaked. We
are making efforts to ascertain who was behind the leak,” the
minister told members.

He said employment and unemployment rate surveys used to
be held once in five years. “This government deemed it fit to
carry out a periodic survey every year,” he said.

Singh said some changes were also made in the methodology
and technology was used and that is why there is a difference
in previous surveys done by NSSO.

He said the 2.2 unemployment rate would have been same as
brought out by the NSSO earlier if it was made out for five
years, but this has increased both in rural and urban areas as
the methodology has changed.

“The new model for labour employment and unemployment is
different from early methods and you cannot compare apples
with oranges.

“The new method now is a yearly method taking into
account quarterly surveys. The only comparability that can
happen is when the next year data comes. At present, it was
compared to 6.1 per cent and the yearly data cannot be
compared with the 5-year figure,” he said.

The minister said the government takes unemployment very
“very seriously” and to alleviate the unemployment scenario,
the government has taken a number of steps.

Listing out some examples, he said the prime minister’s
employment generation programme itself has catered to
employment of 14.3 lakh till November 30, 2018, the Deen Dayal
Gramin Kaushal Yojna has helped 4.73 lakh people get jobs,
MNREGA over past 3.5 to 4 has helped 972.99 person employment

“Taking into account the seriousness of the matter, the
government has set up a cabinet committee on employment and
skill development to ensure that more people get jobs,” he

In his written reply, the minister said, this Ministry
has launched a new regular Employment-Unemployment survey,
namely, Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) during 2017-18
with certain changes in survey methodology, data collection
mechanism and sampling design vis—vis the earlier
quinquennial (once in every five years) Employment and
Unemployment surveys of NSSO.

These differences in methodology put certain limitations
in respect of comparability of results of PLFS with results of
the earlier quinquennial surveys on EmploymentUnemployment
conducted by NSS, he said.

“Based on the first estimates, available from the
Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), released on 31st May
2019, unemployment rate in usual status is 6.1 percent,” he
said. (PTI)