Self-employment is a key job metric and “making, selling pakodas” will count, Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda said on Monday.
"Everybody thinks employment means only those created by the government. Self-employment is one of the concepts undertaken by the PM. Making and selling pakoda, in my opinion, is also self-employment. Anything that helps make out a living is self-employment," Gowda said during an interaction with DH.
The reference to pakodas originated from Modi himself, who had cited the example of pakoda vendors for a question on jobs during an television interview. This was later dubbed as "pakodanomics."
The 10-lane highway work between Bengaluru and Mysuru, a Rs 7,200-crore project, has generated employment for 6,000 people, Gowda pointed out. "But nobody recognises this."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking re-election, faces a high-decibel campaign by the Congress on the issue of jobs. Modi had promised two crore jobs every year, but a 'leaked' Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report put India’s unemployment rate at a 45-year high. "We don’t accept that. Unless it is tabled in Parliament, nobody can say if it is right or wrong," Gowda said.
Jobs, the minister said, are assessed in two ways. "One is based on provident fund and pension data. Two, in the informal sector where we look at number of bank loans and the resultant employment created. Under the Mudra scheme, we've given out loans that can create 14 crore jobs," he said. "The full PLFS report hasn’t been made public because quarterly assessment for July-August-September and October-November 2018 had to start after January-February this year. Data collection isn’t an easy task.”
Employment generation figures can be made only after the Lok Sabha election, he said.
"There’s some confusion that (unemployment rate) has increased by 2.2-2.5%. I don’t dispute that. But it will be clear only when the periodic labour force survey report comes out. Because of the election model code of conduct in place, our hands are tied. Only after the new government comes, by June or July, the report will have to be made public by placing it in Parliament,” the minister said.