National convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other party leaders have been claiming for the past several months that their government has provided 10 lakh jobs in the private sector to Delhiites through its Rozgar Bazaar portal. But only 12,588 people had actually secured jobs through the portal till May 1, according to official data accessed by The Hindu.
This figure of 12,588 is also an estimate of the government’s as it’s based solely on phone calls with people who posted the job openings, without cross-checking with people who actually got the jobs. The Delhi Government doesn't have names or any other details of people who actually got jobs, multiple sources privy to the information confirmed. “The portal was not a huge success and there was no mechanism to actually find out how many people got jobs, or their details. It worked with a very small team,” a source told The Hindu.
Despite multiple attempts, the Delhi Government refused to comment on this.
The AAP government’s claims on the “10 lakh jobs” has varied over the last 20 months, depending on who made the claim and where it was made.
In an interview with The Hindu in March, when asked about it, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia reiterated that 10 lakh people actually got jobs through the portal and it was not that 10 lakh openings were posted on the portal.
But as per the data, only 76,646 candidates were “screened” by people who posted the jobs and 12,588 were the “candidates selected” from its inception in July 2020 till May 1. The government has never made this detailed data public.
"Details about 10 lakh jobs are there in Delhi government’s web portal… Go and check in Delhi government’s Rozgar portal," Mr. Kejriwal had said in an interview with India Today in March. But the portal does not have any details on the number of jobs provided.
"These are the kind of claims that the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) also make and it is definitely problematic," Santosh Kumar Mehrotra, former Professor and Chair of the Centre for Labour Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said.
Prof. Mehrotra also said that the actual number of people who got jobs through the portal could be even lesser than 12,588. "The employer could be lying or even have fired someone after hiring. This has to be verified to get the actual data," he said.
AAP has used the claim of providing “10 lakh jobs” on multiple occasions, ranging from election rallies to press conferences, and the Budget speech to interviews, to project what the AAP terms as the “Kejriwal model of governance” in Delhi.
In Delhi, the AAP government has promised 20 lakh jobs in the next five years in its 2022-23 Budget. Five lakh of these jobs are to come from the “Rozgar Portal 2.0”, a second version of the existing job portal.
Mr. Mehrotra said that as only 12,588 people got jobs through the portal against the claim of 10 lakh jobs, it makes the target of 20 lakh jobs also questionable.
The Delhi Government used to conduct job fairs, and when the pandemic hit, it was not possible to hold them, so the authorities decided to move it online — that’s was how the Delhi Rozgar Bazaar portal was born on July 27, 2020.
The first time the government used the figure of “10 lakh” was within 10 days of its launch. “Till today 10 lakh vacancies were closed by the employers as they have received the required number of people,” then Employment Minister Gopal Rai said in a statement on August 7, 2020.
On October 18, 2021, Mr. Sisodia said in a statement that “10 lakh jobs have already been advertised”, but did not claim that 10 lakh people got jobs.
As the AAP started campaigning for Assembly elections in multiple States, the figure was used in different ways.
On January 12, 2022, at a press conference in Punjab, Mr. Kejriwal said, “We have given employment to 10 lakh children during COVID.”
By January 28, at another event in Punjab, the time frame during which the 10 lakh jobs were given changed to “past few years”. “Just like we gave 10 lakh jobs in Delhi, we will give in Punjab also,” the AAP chief said.
Similar statements were made by Mr. Kejriwal in Goa, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh during election campaigning.
On March 26, 2022, Mr. Sisodia’s Budget speech in the Delhi Assembly House read “through the Delhi Rozgar Portal, 10 lakh jobs in the private sector were created”.
According to Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the Central government, the unemployment rate in Delhi is 9.1% in October-December 2021, which is the latest data.