Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh K Gangwar on Saturday said there were enough jobs available in the country, but companies say there are not enough quality candidates in northern India for the jobs, ANI reported.

“There is no lack of employment opportunities in the country,” Gangwar said at a press conference. “The recruiters coming to North India often complain that they find very few candidates with the required skills for a specific post. Considering this, the government has laid special emphasis on skill development.” He also assured that the low employment rate will not sustain for a long time.

However, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday lashed out at Gangwar. “Minister, your government has been in power for over five years,” she tweeted. “Jobs were lost because of the economic recession brought by your government. You want to escape by blaming North Indians. This will not do.”

On May 31, the Centre had released a report confirming that unemployment in the country stood at 6.1% of the total labour force in 2017-’18 – a 45-year high.

However, earlier this month, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai claimed that the unemployment numbers were wrong. “The infrastructure is improving, big companies are investing in various sectors, agricultural production has improved and crores of people are taking loans under the MUDRA scheme,” Rai told reporters in Bhopal. “This shows employment is increasing.”

Data released on August 31 showed that India’s economic growth rate had slipped to 5% in the April-June quarter, the lowest in over six years. On August 23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a set of measures to prop up the economy, less than two months after presenting the Union Budget.

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