Millions of young Indians are finding it very difficult to get decent enough jobs. Economists and policymakers quibble about the number of jobs created, the quantum of jobs lost and argue about whether or not more Indians are currently self-employed than before. Narendra Modi the prime minister himself has been claiming that the government's track record in job creation over the past 4 years has not been all that bad, there is growing evidence to the contrary. There is considerable data that go beyond anecdotal observation which clearly indicate that instead of creating new employment opportunities, there have been job losses. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the very sectors and industry segments that had been, until recently the biggest creator of jobs. If there is one important reason why many Indians are dissatisfied with the performances of Modi government, it is its inability to create an economic environment that is conducive for accelerated creation of jobs, especially that are formal regular, stable and decent. Various calculations have been made but one set of figures indicates that while roughly 130 million Indians leave the job market each year due to death for old age, around 250 million Indians turn 15 the same year. In other words around 120 million young citizens of the country start looking for jobs each year or 10 million a month. This so-called demographic 'dividend' is being dissipated and wasted. The contentions made by the Prime Minister and the BJP President have been controverted by the government's own bodies as well as by Independent research organizations. Data from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and from corporate feelings collected by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) show a similar trend of lower pace job creation in the organized sector. India's employment rate or workforce participation rate fell to a historic low of 40% in 2018, according to the CMIE against 43% two years earlier implying that 14.3 million individuals who had earlier been working are now without a job.
What is worse for the government is that government data shows that instead of creating employment opportunities there have been significant job losses. In an article in the economic and political weekly, Vinoj Abraham has analyzed the data collected and collated by Labour Bureau's employment-unemployment survey (QES) to conclude that employment growth has slowed down during the period 2012 to 2016. Many economists have pointed out that slowdown in job creation not only in sectors like information technology and telecommunications but also in export-oriented, labor-intensive sectors. The agrarian crisis in many parts of India and slow down in construction activities have exacerbated employment problem. The biggest program of its kind under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has not expanded rapidly on account of various factors, including delayed payment of wages.
In April 2018, an academic study titled " Towards a Payroll Reporting in India" authored by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, an economic advisor to State Bank of India group and Pulak Ghosh, a professor at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore,was released which was subsequently cited and referenced by many in the government including the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley- as evidence of growth in employment. The paper outlines a new method of measuring employment numbers which were based on data that has been provided exclusively to the authors by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) at the initiative of Niti Aayog. According to this study, 3.11 million new payrolls had been generated between September 2017 and February 2018. At that rate, Ghosh and Ghosh estimated that around 7 million new jobs would be added to the economy in 2017-18. The government has taken great pains to propagate this figure as an indication of their success job creation. The vigor with which the Modi government has been pushing the findings of the report suggest that it was produced as more of an exercise in public relations with the benefit of the ruling party.