Even Mudra job survey data put in deep freeze
The Labour Bureau’s survey on the number of jobs created under the Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency (Mudra) scheme will not be made public for another two months making this the third report on employment to be kept under wraps before the elections.
“The number of jobs created under the Mudra scheme will be released after the polls as the Expert Committee found anomalies in the methodology used by the Bureau in arriving at the findings,” sources said.
On February 22, The Indian Express had reported that the NDA government, after junking the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report on unemployment, planned to use findings of the Labour Bureau’s survey.
But at a meeting last Friday, the committee asked the bureau to “reconcile some errors” in the report for which the bureau sought two more months, they said. The committee’s deliberations are yet to be approved by the Union Labour Minister.
Moreover, since the model code of conduct kicked in from Monday, the informal decision is not to make the report public during the election period, said sources.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has so far not made public the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report on unemployment and the Labour Bureau’s 6th annual employment-unemployment survey, both of which showed job losses during NDA’s tenure.
The Labour Bureau’s 6th annual employment-unemployment survey showed unemployment riding to a four-year high of 3.9 percent in in 2016-17 while a report of the NSSO survey pegged unemployment at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
Think tank Niti Aayog last month asked the Labour Bureau to process the survey and present its findings on February 27 so that it could be shared ahead of the announcement of general election. It asked for figures on people directly employed through this scheme as well as additional jobs created as a spin-off.
The Bureau’s survey covers an estimated 97,000 Mudra beneficiaries who availed of the loan scheme between April 8, 2015 and January 31, 2019. During the survey time frame, Mudra beneficiaries stood at 10.35 crore which is now at 15.56 crore, said sources.
Labour Ministry officials were tight-lipped about the Bureau’s findings but sources said that the methodology included beneficiaries who had borrowed more than Rs 50,000 as entrepreneurs who had taken loan for business activity.
The Bureau supposes the surveyed accounts to include double or triple-time beneficiaries as well as spillover from 34.26 crore Jan Dhan account holders who were also being included by banks as Mudra beneficiaries; especially those accounts where an overdraft of Rs 5,000 was being provided by the bank.
The Department of Financial Services last August said that around 90 per cent of the loans fell in the lowest category of Rs 50,000. Of the 13.5 crore loans quoted by DFS as on August 8, 12.2 crore were “Shishu” loans of up to Rs 50,000; over 1.4 crore loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh (Kishore) and over 19.6 lakh loans were over the size of Rs 5 lakh (Tarun).