I completed my master's last year from India and have not been involved with any other institution since. I have been accepted to a US university for pursuing Ph.D. and am in the process of filling the DS-160. I understand that I am required to fill my current position as "Not employed", could you kindly let me know if that would affect my chances of getting a F-1 VISA? Also the DS-160 requires an explanation for not employed. Over the past couple of months I have prepared for and written the GRE, qualified entrance exams for PhD in India and was able to publish a paper in a peer reviewed international journal. Should I mention this in the explanation? If not, what am I supposed to write?
The general principle must be to tell the truth. In this case the truth is clearly related to your academic studies so could even be seen as a plus point. The danger in not telling the truth is that they will find out and not only refuse you but mark your records with the fact which will make life difficult for you in future.
Of course we have absolutely no way of predicting what some official will do when he or she reads your application.