"Let us be clear, there is no real job data in government historically because of the dominance of the informal and unorganised sectors in overall jobs," Chandrasekhar said in a statement. "We must agree that that NSSO survey did not capture all the important measures that the budget 2018 did to revitalise the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and the informal sector."
Noting that Singh was perhaps referring to the leaked draft survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), which said the country's unemployment rate stood at a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, he said, "It must be understood that the NSSO data is a survey. A survey conducted at one point of time and is a snapshot of that period. "That NSSO survey captured a period of churn, immediately after the demonetisation and the GST and even the government has admitted that post-demonetisation and post-GST there were a significant number of transitional issues with the informal sector," he said.
The Rajya Sabha member said that the public spending on infrastructure such as railways, ports, roads construction was done to the tune of Rs 10 lakh crore in the past five years of the Modi government. "All of this construction, creating downstream jobs and the formal sector, as confirmed by real EPFO data (not surveys), has expanded considerably," he said.
"So on the one hand, we have the real incontrovertible data through the EPFO that confirms job expansion in the formal sector and growth in formalisation of parts of the informal sector while on the other - with no real data on the informal sector - we are relying on the NSSO survey, which was done during transitioning of the GST and demonetisation." Addressing a convocation at the Delhi School of Management, Singh on Sunday blamed the "slipshod" implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for damaging the vibrant small and unorganised sector.
Pointing to domestic challenges like agrarian crisis, declining employment opportunities and prevalence of divisive forces, the former Prime Minister had painted a grim picture of the Indian economy and said the jobless growth was fast turning into the "job loss growth". Chandrasekhar said that the economy was in a far stronger and better place today than it was in 2014 when Singh demitted office.
"The damaged economy he left behind has been rebuilt slowly and surely and we are on a path of sustainably high growth. It's election season so expectedly some people will use survey data in a context that suits them, which is the case here with Dr Manmohan Singh," he said.