NEW DELHI: India's unemployment rate hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017, according to a report based on an official survey, which the government said was yet to be approved.
The National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO's) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), according to the Business Standard newspaper, states that unemployment was last this high in 1972-73.
To compare, the unemployment rate in the country had gone down to 2.2 per cent in 2011-12, according to NSSO data.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who had previously mounted a defence of lowering of UPA-era GDP growth rates, at a press conference Thursday said the report cited by the newspaper "is not finalised. It is a draft report".
Refusing to comment on the content of the news report, he said the government will release its employment report by March after collating quarter-on-quarter data.
He also debunked claims of jobless growth, saying how can a country grow at an average of 7 per cent without employment.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who too was present at the conference, said India is creating adequate number of jobs for new entrants, but "probably we are not creating high quality jobs".
Two members -- including the acting chairman -- of the National Statistical Commission resigned this week, saying the government had not released the job numbers despite the commission's approval.
The NSSO report was based on data collected between July 2017 and June 2018 and is the first official survey post-demonetisation.
The news report further said that unemployment was higher in urban areas (7.8 per cent) as compared to 5.3 per cent in rural areas of the country.
Earlier, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) had stated that 1.5 million jobs were lost just in the first four months of 2017 -- immediately after demonetisation of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
The NSSO job report was previously planned to be released in December 2018.