NEW DELHI : The Parliament is set to discuss unemployment, which is at a four-decade-high, with the government on Monday agreeing to the opposition’s demand for a debate on the lack of job creation—a burning question in the run-up to the general elections.

During Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Congress’ Adoor Prakash and Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD’s) Pinaki Mishra raised the issue of data on employment generation in the last five years, and asked what measures the Union government was taking to create jobs.

Prakash asked if the government has created “any master plan for each sector of the economy for creation of more jobs and put any deadline to achieve that goal".

“As far as employment is concerned, some organizations give news that are not entirely true. I can only say that the recent elections proved that this campaign was not true," Union minister Santosh Gangwar replied. The response was a reference to the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the election in spite of the Opposition’s criticism on the jobs front.

“The last election showed this was misleading and the mandate was supported by women and the youth," he added.

Gangwar’s response drew sharp reaction from the Opposition benches, which criticised him for making an “election speech" and failing to give a direct answer. On his part, Gangwar said that India’s position globally is better than those of other countries.

Mishra, proposing a debate on unemployment, said: “I request, and all parties are in agreement with this, that there should be a special discussion under (rule) 193 and everyone gets to put their views." While Gangwar agreed to a discussion, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla suggested that Mishra should issue a notice on it.

Additionally, the ministry of labour and employment also gave written responses to the questions put by Prakash and Mishra, with details of labour force participation rates, employment, estimated work force and jobs generated by various schemes and programmes.

In the run-up to the 17th Lok Sabha elections, a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report showed that India’s unemployment rate was at a four-decade high. While the Union government earlier maintained that it was still being finalized, it later released the report on 31 May, which showed the country’s unemployment rate at 6.1%—the highest in four decades.

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