Addressing the press ahead of a protest organised by the Yuva Morcha, Surya hit out at the chief minister and blamed him for the "rising unemployment and corruption" in the state.
Later, the BJYM and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led a massive protest against Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and gheraoed his residence.
However, as per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) reports, unemployment rate (UR) in the state has been going down since constantly since May 2021, barring a few spikes.
Additionally, the Labour Force Participation Rate – the number of persons in the labour force as a percentage of the working-age population – and number of unemployed people in the state have showed a declining trend in the last four years of Baghel's government, with some spikes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN CHHATTISGARH LOWEST IN THE COUNTRY: CMIE
According to CMIE, an independent think tank which publishes monthly data bulletins on employment in India, Chhattisgarh's latest unemployment rate for the month of July 2022 stands at 0.8 percent, which is the lowest in the country.
The average unemployment rate in the country stands at 6.8 percent in the same period.
We also tracked the UR from November 2018, when the current Congress government took over, and found that the rate has decreased, apart from a steep rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UR in November 2018 was 5.5 percent under the Raman Singh-led BJP government, who served as the CM for three terms from 2003-2018.
According to the CMIE data, unemployment rate in the state was at 14.2 percent in June 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
However, the unemployment rate was higher in September 2018 (during Raman Singh's tenure) at 22.2 percent.
Labour Force Participation Rate (%) (LPR), which shows the number of persons in the labour force as a percentage of the working-age population, also remained high under the current government. The LPR was 42.98 percent during January-April 2019, which increased to 44.67 percent during September-December 2019. It then slipped during the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently at 40.55 percent in for January-April 2022 quarter.
The CMIE data also shows that the number of unemployed people actively seeking jobs decreased significantly from 10,77,000 in the September-December 2018 to 1,57,000 in the latest data from January-April 2022.
PLFS DATA ALSO SHOWS DECREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) – a government agency under the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation – also shows that unemployment rate hasn't increased after the Congress government took over.
The PLFS started in 2017 and the latest survey report is available for the year 2020-2021.
The national unemployment rate in 2019-2020 was at 4.8 percent and 4.2 percent in 2020-2021.
While unlike the CMIE data, the PLFS didn't place Chhattisgarh on the top of the states with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the UR has not increased beyond what it was under the previous government.
The PLFS also publishes Quarterly Bulletins in the current weekly status (CWS). As per the quarterly reports, the unemployment rate (current weekly status) was 15.4 percent in the July-September quarter of 2020. It further increased to 19 percent in April-June quarter of 2021, during the second wave of COVID-19 in India.
However, it fell to 10.8 percent in the July-September quarter of 2021 before increasing marginally to 11.7 percent in the January-March quarter of 2022. This shows that that government data also points to the fact that unemployment rate in the state has been better than the national average and has shown a downward trend, barring some spikes in between.
Therefore, both central government data and data by an independent body show that unemployment rate in the state has not increased beyond what it was under the previous government.
SURYA'S OFFICE RAISES QUESTIONS ON CMIE DATA
We reached out to Surya's office with questions regarding the claims made by the MP, and in an email response, his office sent us a document in which they raised questions regarding the methodology implemented by CMIE.
In the document, titled "Chhattisgarh – A Reality Check", his office talked in detail about the employment situation based on Q&A from the assembly.
"Family members who assist a family business such as a shop or a farm are considered employed if they state that they are employed. Self-assessment of their status is important in such cases," the document said.
"Persons who are on probation or under training are also considered employed," it added.
We also asked Surya about the PLFS data. However, the response didn't answer any questions about that.