Srinagar, June 15: While contesting the figures brought forward by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) regarding rising unemployment in J&K, a top official from Jammu and Kashmir administration termed the survey conducted by the agency as “flawed”.
Wishing anonymity, a top official of the J&K Government alleged, “What can be said when figures are being quoted by the surveying agency without following any proper methodology.”
He claimed the survey conducted by the outside agency with no concrete set up in J&K is absolutely “flawed” and “questionable”.
“The survey conducted has raised several questions on the credibility of the institution which lacks basic set up in J&K. How did the agency arrive at the figures speaks volumes on its authenticity!” the official said.
When this newspaper contacted Delhi based official of CMIE Prabhakar Singh via email and direct message, he failed to respond till this story was filed after 24 hours.
The CMIE has brought worrisome figures claiming that the unemployment rate in J&K has risen to 18.3 percent for the month of May, which was 15.6 percent during the month of April.
As per data made available by the CMIE on its website, the unemployment rate in J&K is higher than that national average and contrary to the downward trend across the country.
It is being said that the CMIE, best known for releasing unemployment rate in India every month has come under scanner for the figures.
CMIE has 18 offices across India which includes Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Pune, Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Patna, Nagpur, Madurai and Agri, besides one in USA.
“An agency which lacks grassroots level manpower to ascertain actual figures, how come its figures could be believed”, the top official wishing not to be named said.
While reacting to the CMIE’s unemployment rating, Government sources said that the figures presented by the CMIE do not have methodology.
“The data they have been presenting is inconsistent, as sometimes they state it is 25% and next month they say it is 12%. They don’t explain the evaluation methodology and the data they publish seem quite random,” the official sources said.
The government sources claimed the data of CMIE is not based on any analysis as the data they present on every month cannot have so much of variations.
“There data is without any basis as the variations they show in their data is not possible, and what they share is incorrect,” the sources claimed.
Meanwhile several critics alleged the agency has been mandated to portray as the government failure in tackling the unemployment in respective states.
CMIE on its website claims that the agency arrives at the unemployment rate by directly interviewing a large sample of randomly selected households.
The officials said that the methodology adopted by CMIE while surveying is “questionable”.
“It does not mention how this tiny sample is divided among the states on the basis of population every month. It is also astonishing how merely one lakh souls surveyed by CMIE can decide the unemployment rate in a country like India with over 130 crore population!” asked the officials.
Director General Planning, Development and Monitoring Department, Shahzada Bilal Ahmad, and Labor Commissioner, Abdul Rashid War when contacted, both officers could not provide details in this regard.
Speaking on methodology, the noted economist Prof. Nasir Ali said that the conduct of surveys varies from institution to institution depending upon their credibility and authenticity.
He said if found any individual hand-folded for a day, looking for a job but not getting it, s/he is being considered as unemployed by the CMIE.
The economist termed it as “chronic unemployment.”
He further added that an individual who earns for three months and remains hand-folded for the rest of the year is also being treated as unemployed by these agencies.
He said, “There is another form of unemployed – surplus labor- who appears to be working but their contribution in the organization remains zero.”
When asked about requirements for modalities, Prof Ali said there are various techniques to determine the tools for conducting a survey. “It needs experts and professional manpower to conduct a grassroots level survey to bring the facts to fore.”
“A credible institution at times outsources the job, but it depends upon their authenticity,” he added