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Terming the criticism of jobless growth during the NDA government as "spurious", Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar has said that 70 lakh jobs were created in the financial year 2017-18.
Kumar said that growth in sales of transport vehicles, huge disbursement of Mudra loans and Employees' Provident Fund Organisation data show that enough opportunities for employment and self-employment were created during the past four years of the NDA government.
Recently, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government's promise to generate two crore jobs annually has turned out to be a "gimmick".
"With all due respect, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not put forward the data (on employment generation), I think this is a spurious charge and I think the debate should be much more on further improving the quality of the jobs," Kumar told PTI.
"According to EPFO data, 70 lakhs jobs were created in 2017-18," Kumar said.
The Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power in May 2014.
He further said if unemployment is rising in the country then real wages in both rural and urban regions should decline, but it's not happening.
"So, what is the basis for this (criticism of jobless growth during the NDA regime)? I think, the purpose is negative discourse for political aims and does not reflect economic reality," Kumar said.
Replying to a question on protests by farmers in some parts of the country, he said: "We have increased minimum support price for farmers by huge amounts. Rural economy is in good shape, farmers' income is rising."
Asked when the Aayog will finalise the 'New India 2022' document, Kumar said, "It's ready and I am expecting it to be available in the public domain in a very short time, it's finalised.”
The government think-tank has been working on the strategy document for a while. The document was sent to states for comments.
Commenting on rift between the Reserve Bank of India and the government, he said that the last board meeting has shown that the RBI's autonomy is intact completely.
"I am sure that everybody accepts that autonomy does not mean a lack or absence of consultation and those consultations will continue as they should continue," Kumar said.
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