Mumbai, March 9 - India is witnessing a major upsurge in job creation, not in the traditional economy but in the new economy, a central minister said on Friday, citing the example of cab aggregators Ola and Uber who created lakhs of jobs in the past few years.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha was addressing a session titled "Democracy, Demography, Demand: The Mystery of the Missing Jobs" at the India Today Conclave here.
"There is a tremendous upsurge in job creation, not in the traditional economy but in the new economy, in entrepreneurship," Sinha said.
"For instance, Ola and Uber have given employment to 10 lakh drivers. So, I would say it is not about the missing jobs..it is about the missing data," the Minister said.
In support of his contention, the Minister pointed to various estimates, including Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) data to say that "job situation is not as bad as it is being made out to be".
As per EPFO data, over one crore new accounts were added in 2017 to the 4.5 crore members of the organisation.
Former Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot of the Congress, who participated in the discussion, highlighted the dismal employment situation in the country, pointing to the stressed agriculture sector, which has prompted a farm friendly Budget 2018-19, as well as the slowdown in exports.
"Our country is at a turning point with the number of young people who are unemployed or underemployed," Pilot said.
"We have a situation where 40% of people going out to seek jobs are underskilled," he added.
Rebutting Pilot, Sinha said that it is precisely to meet this gap in skilling that the ruling NDA government had created a Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
"No doubt there is work to do in the area of job creation, but we are a 2.5 trillion dollar economy and we are on the right trajectory," Sinha said.
While the NDA made an election promise of creating 10 million jobs a year, slowing private investment and huge corporate indebtedness has made the job scenario a difficult one.
Besides, with the larger part of the workforce in the informal economy, demonetisation made 2017 an even more difficult period.
The 5th Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey, 2015-16, shows that with rising education levels, the unemployment rate has also gone up in the age group of 18-29 years.
"The unemployment rate for persons aged 18-29 years and holding a degree in graduation and above was found to be maximum with 18.4% based on the Usual Principal Status Approach at the all-India level," said the Survey report on Youth Employment-Unemployment Scenario, Volume II.
The unemployment rate for the age group at the all-India level was estimated at 13.2%.
The Survey's Volume I suggested that the unemployment rate was estimated to be 5% at the all-India level.