Rahul’s Claim on Highest Unemployment in Assam Not Backed by Data

As per the 2018-19 government report, Assam recorded an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, which is not the highest.

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi falsely claimed that Assam has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
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While addressing a public gathering in Assam’s Nalbari on Wednesday, 31 March, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that the highest rate of unemployment is in Assam.

But this fact is disputed – both by the data compiled and provided by the government and Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a privately owned think tank.

Speaking to the public, in the poll-bound state, Gandhi had said, “Hindustan mein sabse zyada berozgaari Assam mein hai.” (Translated: Assam has the highest unemployment rate in India).

This remark can be heard at 42:48 minutes in the YouTube video uploaded by the Congress.

To verify the claim, we went through the data provided by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) and CMIE.

GANDHI’S CLAIM DISPUTED BY FACTS

We checked the 2018-2019 (last publicly available annual report) Periodic Labour Force Survey, published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

National Statistical Office (NSO) has been conducting PLFS since 2017. The PLFS of the NSO is the primary source of data of employment and unemployment at the national and state levels in India, the report mentioned.

2018-19 GOVT REPORT DOES NOT SUPPORT GANDHI’S CLAIM

As per this report, Assam recorded an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent in the said year.

However, the figure is not the highest in India as the unemployment rate in Lakshadeep is 31.6 percent, 17.5 percent in Nagaland, 13.5 percent in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 10.4 percent in Delhi, 10.2 percent in Bihar, and 10.1 percent in Tripura.

Here is a detailed list of the unemployment rates is different states and Union Territories in 2018-19.

2020 QUARTERLY GOVT REPORTS DON’T SHOW ASSAM ON RANK 1 EITHER

While the last publicly available annual report is for 2018-2019, the last available quarterly reports are available for January-March 2020 and April-June 2020.

As per the January-March 2020 quarterly report for urban areas, the unemployment rate was the highest in Jammu and Kashmir with 17.3 percent followed by 16.4 percent in Kerala. It was 12.9 percent in Delhi, 12.8 percent in Himachal Pradesh, 12.7 percent in Rajasthan and 9.6 percent in Assam.

However, it must be noted that in the quarterly bulletins, the survey is conducted according to “current weekly status for different states”.

Now, let’s look at the April-June 2020 bulletin of PLFS. In this period too, Assam didn’t have the highest unemployment rate in the country as claimed. While Assam recorded an unemployment rate of 15.6 percent, it was 35.6 percent in Maharashtra, 32 percent in Jharkhand, and 28.9 percent in Madhya Pradesh, among other states.

HARYANA ON RANK 1, NOT ASSAM: CMIE MARCH 2021 DATA

To understand the latest figures, we checked the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that had numbers for months as recent as March 2021. CMIE is a privately owned think tank headquartered in Mumbai.

As per the database, in March 2021, Assam recorded an unemployment rate of 1.1 percent. On the other hand, unemployment rates in states such as Haryana, Goa and Rajasthan were 28.1 percent, 22.1 percent and 19.7 percent respectively.

A LOOK AT ASSAM’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ACROSS YEARS

However, let’s look at Assam closely to understand the fluctuations it has witnessed.

As per the PLFS report, in the year 2017-18, the unemployment rate in Assam was relatively high with 8.1 percent.

However, as per the CMIE data, from January 2020 to March 2021, the state has seen an unemployment rate of 11.1 in April 2020, 0.6 percent in June 2020, 1.2 percent in September, 7.6 percent in December. The rate of unemployment in the state has since declined.

The unemployment rate lay in the range of 1.1-1.6 percent in the months of January-March 2021.

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