When he presented the Interim Budget 2019/20, Piyush Goyal failed to list any specific job creation statistics. Unlike the previous Budget where Arun Jaitley claimed that the Modi government created seven million formal jobs, all of Goyal's job-related references were general - mostly about emerging opportunities.
The government's silence on the jobs front is no surprise. Accused of suppressing inconvenient data for long, the Modi government is yet to release the results of the Labour Ministry's annual Employment and Unemployment Survey 2016/17 that many believe would have endorsed the anecdotal evidence of job losses due to demonetisation.
The delayed publishing of the National Sample Survey Organisation's (NSSO) Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017/18 only strengthens that suspicion. Then, there's the resignation of two members of the National Statistics Commission - it oversees the NSSO's major surveys and programmes - protesting the government's approach towards data release.
The Interim Budget failed to provide any concrete evidence of job growth or concrete plans for job creation. Promises galore cannot match the assurance and credibility that accompany transparency in presenting a true, current picture of the economy and where it is headed. Transparency is key to long-term success. The earlier the government realises this, the better it would be for the nation.