Social Scientist. v 16, no. 177 (Feb 1988) p. 50.


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ABHIJIT SŁ^

A Note on Employment and Living Standards in the Unorganised Sector

THIS NOTE utilizes data from NSS employment-unemployment surveys and fropi the CSO's estimates of factor incomes to present a profile of t&e labour force in the unorganised' sector and to provide some indteatbrs of the gowth of incomes in this sector. For reasons of data availability, the period covered in this note extends only from 1960-61 to 1984-85 and particularly to the even shorter period 1972-73 to 1983-84. Moreover, tfee note is concerned only with all-India estimates and not with the important issue of regional variations.

7. A profile of the labour force in 1983-84

In its 38th roupd (January-December r$83), the NSS surveyed both rural and urban households simultaneously for their employment-unemployment characteristics and their consumption profile. Cross-tabulations from this survey provide a useful summary of the overall magnitudes involved at a relatively recent date. However, in interpreting the data as reported in the survey reports a correction has to be made for the fact that the survey under reported total population—the uniform correction factor used being the ratio of the registrar general's populating estimate for mid-year 1983-84 and that reported by the survey. The results throw up certain interesting facts and confirm much that is well known about the economy. In particular :

(a) In aggregate terms there were 304 million 'usual status' workers in 1983 of whom nearly two-thiids were male and over 80 pet ©eat resident in rural areas. Almost 70 per cent of all workers (over 60 per cent of males and over 80 per cent of females) were engaged in agriculture. About 40 per cent of all workers, both male and female, reported their usual status to be as employees. However, while 75 per cent of all female wage workers were rural casual agricultural wage labourers, only about 40 per cent of all male wage workers could be so classified. Thus, urbans, non-agricultural, and permanent wage employment were overwhelmingly male dominated.

(b) Of these 304 million 'usual status' workers only 240 million could

"^ESP. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.



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