ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Explaining Falling Female Employment during a High Growth Period

What explains the decline of the already low female labour force participation rate in India, particularly during a period of rapid economic growth? Women’s economic participation is influenced by interrelated factors, each important unto itself. Increased attendance in educational institutions, declining child labour, higher household income levels, structural shift away from agricultural employment, and increased mechanisation of agriculture were some of the factors found to be driving female employment trends. Additionally, it was found that in rural areas the decline in animal husbandry, and in urban areas a fall in international demand for products of labour-intensive industries, have also contributed to the decline as women were the main employees in these sectors. Policy must create an enabling environment for women’s economic participation in India.

Explaining Employment Trends in the Indian Economy: 1993-94 to 2011-12

This paper explores employment trends in India since the mid-1990s based on study of various rounds of National Sample Survey unit level data. The major findings are of a structural transformation with an absolute fall in agricultural employment and a rise in non-agricultural employment, increasing participation in education, decline in child labour, mechanisation of agriculture and rising living standards in rural areas due to a growth in real wages which led to a decline in workforce, most of which was of women leaving the workforce. A fall in demand for manufacturing exports and increasing capital intensity also resulted in a decline in manufacturing employment during 2004-05 - 2009-10. The paper estimates that approximately 17 million jobs per annum need to be created in non-agriculture during 2012-17. Based on these estimates, the paper makes policy suggestions to increase non-agricultural employment in India.
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