NEW DELHI — A new pension plan for rickshaw pullers. More money for fisheries. Tax breaks for the middle class and cash handouts to struggling farmers. On Friday, the Indian government announced its budget, and with a major election looming in the next few months, the spending plan was stuffed with financial inducements intended to woo voters, though they will increase India’s debt beyond targets the government itself has set. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers have been trying to deflect criticism that they tried to bury an official jobs report that showed unemployment at a 45-year high. Mr. Modi came to power five years ago promising to create millions of jobs for India’s 1.3 billion people. The latest numbers, leaked to the Indian news media this week, show that even while India’s total economy has been growing, at an impressive 7 percent rate or even higher, unemployment also has been rising, hitting 6.1 percent. Two top statistics commissioners resigned in protest over what appeared to be a concerted government effort to suppress the jobs report. P. C. Mohanan, a career statistician, was one of them. On Friday, in an interview with The New York… Read full this story
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