Job lot

An employment survey updates some known things-and throws up some new ones

Published: Wednesday 15 February 2006

-- Employment prospects appear bettered in the rural areas than in the cities of India, according to the 60th round of surveys by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), New Delhi

About 43 per cent of the rural population is employed, as compared to 35 per cent in urban areas. Both in rural and urban areas, 54 per cent of the men are employed. Among women, 32 per cent in villages and 15 per cent in cities are employed

The share in the population of the usually unemployed was negligible. It's in the negative for rural areas (-0.7 per cent) and 1.7 per cent in urban areas

The key source of rural employment is labour. About 44 per cent of the rural population is in the labour force (including the unemployed), while only 37 per cent of those living in the cities comprise the labour force. This means villagers are more likely to be employed than city dwellers

That's because villages afford more self employment. About 57 per cent of the men and 62 per cent of the women in villages are self-employed. The corresponding proportions in urban India were found to be 44 per cent for men and 45 per cent for women

Agriculture remains the biggest employer. About 66 per cent of the employed men and 84 per cent of employed women are in agriculture and allied sectors like livestock, forestry and fishing. The proportion of men employed in agriculture and allied activities, though, has declined from 78 per cent in 1983 to 71 per cent. In the corresponding period, the proportion of women engaged in agriculture has declined only slightly from 88 per cent to 85 per cent

But cities are absorbing more new labour than villages. The proportion of new entrants in the urban labour market is 55 per cent for men and 67 per cent for women. In the rural labour market, 38 per cent of the men and 36 per cent of the women are new entrants

Women work more in a subsidiary capacity (meaning they work temporarily and for short periods) than men, both in cities and villages. About 28 per cent of rural women had worked in the subsidiary capacity only -- the proportion turned out to be 19 per cent for urban women workers. This figure was a mere 2 per cent in cities and and 3 per cent in villages for men. Similarly, women comprised a greater proportion of those working as casual labour as compaed to men, particularly in cities and towns

In urban India, the 'tertiary' sector (including trade, transport, banking, insurance, real estate; public administration and other services sector) engaged about 59 per cent of the male work force. While the 'secondary' sector (that includes manufacturing, construction, and power sectors) accounted for about 35 per cent of the usually employed men. For women, the corresponding percentages were lower; 53 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively. The proportion of urban women engaged in agriculture fell by about 15 per cent since 1983, with a significant increase in other sectors

The gender divide shows sharply in the income of casual labourers in rural India. On an average, men earned Rs 56.53 in a day; women earned Rs 36.15 per day for the same work. The difference is more than Rs 20

In cities, the gender divide in casual labour is even sharper: a man earned Rs 75.51 in a day; and woman Rs 44.28 per day

The survey showed no illiterate woman is unemployed in India. Educated women (graduation and above) comprise 68 per cent of all unemployed women

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.