17.4% of rural men, 13.6% of rural women, 18.7% of urban men and a whopping 27.2% of urban women in the 15 to 29 age group are unemployed.

Unemployment at 45-year high in India Youth and urban women worst hit
news Unemployment Friday, May 31, 2019 - 19:22

On the day that the cabinet of Narendra Modi’s second tenure took charge, unemployment in 2017-18 was confirmed to be at a 45-year high in India, at 6.1%. This confirms what was reported by Business Standard journalist Somesh Jha on January 30, 2019, which was denied by the government at the time.

Data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on Friday, showed that while in rural India, 5.8% of men and 3.8% of women are unemployed, in urban areas the numbers are much higher, at 7.1% of men and 10.8% women being unemployed.

The current weekly status – or CWS – which is defined as a person not finding even one hour of gainful employment in the preceding seven days, is at 8.8% among rural men and 7.7% among rural women. In urban areas, CWS is at 8.8% and 12.8% among men and women respectively.

“For educated (highest level of education secondary and above) rural males and rural females of age 15 years and above, unemployment rates in usual status (ps+ss) were 10.5% and 17.3% respectively,” the report said, adding, “For educated males of age 15 years and above in urban areas, the unemployment rate was 9.2% and among the educated females of age 15 years and above in the urban areas, the unemployment rate was 19.8% in 2017-18.”

What is even more shocking however is the status of youth in the country – that is, people in the 15 to 29 years age group. Unemployment in this age group is 19.23% on average. 17.4% of rural men, 13.6% of rural women, 18.7% of urban men and a whopping 27.2% of urban women in the age group have been unemployed. The youth, with a population of almost 33 crore make up 27.26% of India’s 121 crore population.

Among different religious groups, unemployment among Hindus in rural areas has more than tripled 1.6% to 2011-12 to 5.2% in 2017-18. Among urban Hindus, unemployment has more than doubled from 3.3% in 2011-12 to 7.6% in 2017-18. Among Muslims, unemployment has gone up from 2.6% to 6.5% in the same time period in rural areas; in urban areas it went up from 3.9% to 8.5%. Unemployment among Christians was at 7.4% in rural areas and 11% in urban areas in 2017-18 as opposed to 4.5% and 5.9% respectively in 2011-12.

Speaking to reporters, chief statistician Pravin Srivastava reportedly said: "It's a new design, new metric... It would be unfair to compare it with the past.”

Two non-official members of the National Statistical Commission including then acting Chairman PC Mohanan resigned in January. Mohanan had said that one of the reasons he had resigned was over the Annual Employment Survey for 2017-18 not being released despite being approved by the NSC. He had then told Mint, “We were feeling the commission was not being taken seriously and it has not been effective. Some of the decisions of the commission were not also considered. We thought we were being sidelined. Hence, we have sent our resignation to the President of India.” Mohanan and his colleague JV Meenakashi resigned despite their tenure completing in June 2020.

When Somesh Jha’s reported the matter in January, most major ministers in Modi’s cabinet including including Arun Jaitley, Smriti Irani and Minister for Statistics Sadananda Gowda dismissed it, and called it fake.


The GDP growth rate of the country also plunged to 5.8% during the January-March quarter of the financial year 2018-19, from 7.7% growth witnessed during the same quarter of the previous year, data from the Central Statistical Office showed.

For the fiscal year 2018-19, the country recorded a GDP growth of 6.8%, the lowest growth rate in five years. In FY 2017-18 the country recorded at 7.2% growth in GDP.

The slowdown can be largely attributed to lacklustre growth in agriculture and mining sectors, as per the data.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector showed a growth rate of 2.9% in FY 2018-19, against the previous year's growth rate of 5%. The mining and quarrying sector rose by 1.3% against the previous year's growth rate of 5.1%.

(With IANS Inputs)

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.