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Growth of Employment (1993-94 to 2004-05): Illusion of Inclusiveness?

Viewed over the long-term, employment growth slowed slightly in 1993-2004, compared to 1983-1993; the slowdown is quite marked in rural India. Employment has grown in urban areas over the past decade, but the nature of this growth and the quality of employment generated need probing. There has been a substantial increase in self-employment, much of which is poorly remunerated and for the first time in decades, there has been a decline in the real wage rates of regular salaried workers and urban casual workers.


Growth of Employment (1993-94 to 2004-05): Illusion of Inclusiveness?

Urban Female

NSS Rounds 38 43 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 Rural Male Rural Female Urban Male Urban Female
Economic and Political WeeklyJanuary 20, 2007198Table 3: Average Annual Growth of Self and Wage Employment in Agriculture and Non-agriculture(in per cent)SexSelf-employedSelf-employedCasual WorkerCasual WorkerRegular WorkerAgricultureNon-agricultureAgricultureNon-agricultureNon-agriculture1983 to1993-94 to1983 to1993-94 to1983 to1993-94 to1983 to1993-94 to1983 to1993-94 to1993-94 2004-051993-94 2004-051993-94 2004-051993-94 2004-051993-94 2004-05RuralMale0.990.823.313.673.00- status principal plus subsidiary workers are included.Source:Computed after adjusting for the population in corresponding population censuses.Table 4: Workforce Participation Rates by Level of Educationby Usual Status for Age 15+(as a percentage of population in respective education levels)1993-941999-20002004-051993-941999-20002004-05Rural FemaleUrban FemaleNot literate54.051.355. secondary23.420.625.214.712.412.9Diploma/certificate--52.3--48.6Graduate and above36.631.034.530.127.329.0All48.645.248.522.319.722.7Rural MaleUrban MaleNot literate91.889.589.287.083.983.1Literate-primary90.988.089.585.083.085.5Middle77.076.880.272.373.276.0Secondary72.873.773.267.766.867.3Higher secondary68.671.370.960.760.860.8Diploma/certificate--82.1--79.8Graduate and above83.483.685.181.880.679.5All86.484.184.676.875.276.3Source:Statement 5.5, Employment-Unemployment Survey, 61st round, 2004-05, Report No 515,National Sample Survey Organisation, 2006.The phenomenon of growth of poorearning jobs in urban areas in regularsalaried employment is further evidencedby the level of average real wage earnings.For the first time in decades, the averagedaily real earnings of regular workers wasseen to decline in 2004-05 (Table 5). Thiswas true of urban and rural men and womenin non-agricultural activities. The natureof the growth of urban jobs for womenremains a question. In fact, in urban areasthe casual workers also showed a declinein real wages for the first time, though ata lower rate than the regular workers. Casualworkers in rural areas were able to moreor less maintain their already very low realdaily earnings.Perceptions of RemunerationThe NSS does not collect data onincomes of the self-employed. However,with the phenomenon of growing self-employment it is necessary to reconsiderthis issue. As a first and rather poor effort,the NSS did, in its 61st round, collectinformation on perceptions of the self-employed with regard to their earnings.Interesting results emerged, with only alittle over 50 per cent of the rural andnearly 60 per cent of the urban self-employed reporting that their employ-ment was remunerative (Table 6).Worsestill, about 40 per cent of the self-employedin rural areas felt that their income of lessthan Rs1,500 per month was remunerativeenough [Chandrasekhar and Ghosh2006b]. About 30percent of the urbanself-employed felt that less than Rs 2,000per month was remunerative employment.The minimal income on which the self-employed survive and their low levels ofexpectation come out starkly even usingthis crude indicator of income. We would,however, plead for better accountingofself-employed incomes in the next NSSemployment and unemployment survey tobe able to understand better the economicstatus of this growing group of workers.Interesting insights can be gained intothe nature of work by analysing the loca-tion of work of the workers. A conven-tional place of work is an enterprise suchas the factory, office, or any institution.It was observed that in 2004-05 about40 per cent of the urban and less than60per cent of the rural workers did nothave such a conventional designated placeof work (Table 7). The difference was morestriking by gender, nearly half (47 per cent)the men and 70 per cent of the women didnot have such designated places of work.Further, only in urban areas was therea prominent shift in workplace towards theemployer’s enterprise (the conventionalmode), while in rural areas the major shiftwas towards home-based work. Againstriking differences are seen by gender.The proportion of men in conventionalplaces of work remains stable, though theproportion of workers on the street and onconstruction sites is seen to increase. Home-based work for women increases in impor-tance from nearly 31 per cent to more thanhalf the women workers. Much of theincrease in self-employment particularlyamong women could be in sub-contractedwork at home on piece-rated wages,designated as homeworkers by the Inter-national Labour Organisation ConventionNo 177 on homework.Overall, while there has been a growthof employment particularly in urbanareas, the nature of this growth and thequality of employment generated needsprobing. There has been a substantialgrowth in self-employment in the recentperiod 1993-94 to 2004-05. However,much ofthis work is poorly remunerated.The sharp growth of regular salariedwork among women particularly in urbanareas also appears to be in poor qualitywork. In fact, for the first time in decades,

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