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Occupation and Employment Status

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The article by Pradhan, Roy, Saluja and Venkatram titled 'Rural-Urban Disparities: Income Distribution, Expenditure Pattern and Social Sector' (EPW, July 15) contains a methodological error. It seems that the authors confuse between the terms 'occupation' and 'employment status'. What they describe as occupational category or occupational groups (Tables 3, 4, 5, 15, 16, 17 and 18) is essentially classification by employment status. Occupation is the kind of work performed by an individual in the economic sphere, while "status refers to the status of an economically active individual with respect to his employment, that is whether he is (or was, if unemployed) an employer, own account worker, employee, family worker, or a member of a producer co-operative..." (International Recommendations on Labour Statistics, ILO, Geneva, 1976). NSSO gives a three-type classification of status of employment, that is, self-employment, regular employment and casual employment (NSSO Special Report, Number 1, January 1990:15-16). Census of India classifies employment status into employer, employee, single worker and family worker. There are subtle differences in the definition of work status or employment status between various NSS rounds and Censuses.

G Visakha Varma
Ernakulam

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