New Delhi: NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Thursday rejected the National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey, accessed by Business Standard, which claimed that the country’s unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Kumar said, “Government did not release the data (on jobs) as it is still being processed. When the data is ready we will release it.”

“Data collection method is different now, we are using a computer assisted personal interviewee in the new survey. It is not right to compare the two data sets, this data is not verified. It is not correct to use this report as final,” he asserted.

The NSSO’s annual survey of 2017-18 is the first after November 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

Niti Aayog’s statement comes a few hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the Narendra Modi-government over the report. Taking to Twitter, he posted, “NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs.”

The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) was quick to respond to the Congress president’s jibe. The party tweeted, “It’s clear that he has inherited Mussolini’s shortsightedness and has myopic understanding of issues. EPFO’s real data shows sharp increase in jobs, created in just the last 15 months. Only a man who hasn’t ever held a proper job and is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!”

According to Business Standard, the NSSO report showed that unemployment was at its highest since the 1972-73 period. According to the survey, the unemployment rate stood at 2.2 per cent in 2011-12, during the United Progressive Alliance’s second term.

Unemployment among youth in urban areas was higher than in rural areas – 18.7 percent for men and 27.2 percent for women in 2017-18, according to the survey report.

The report has been at the centre of a controversy after two members of the National Statistical Commission resigned this week in protest against the withholding of the NSSO’s (National Sample Survey Organisation) first Annual Survey on Employment and Unemployment for the year 2017-18, which contains data on job losses in the wake of demonetisation.

PC Mohanan confirmed that one of the reasons why he quit was the delay in the release of the report which was due to be released in December last year.