Rural employment strategies for India

The unprecedented commitment of the present Government of India to seriously address the need for employment generation is a propitious opportunity to implement strategies for generating full employment in the country. This report, which builds upon work done by the International Commission on Peace & Food in the early 1990s, confirms the potential to generate sufficient employment opportunities for all new entrants to the workforce as well as to absorb the current numbers of unemployed and underemployed. It includes strategies and policy recommendations designed to maximize the effectiveness of the Government's recently proposed initiatives for employment generation and rural prosperity. Implementation of these recommendations will be sufficient to generate 100 million additional employment and self-employment opportunities.

While many formal studies have been prepared to assess the growth and employment potential in India' formal private sector, less attention has been given to the conditions and strategies to promote rapid expansion and job creation in the rural and informal sectors. This report focuses on strategies to increase employment opportunities in India's informal sector, with emphasis on agriculture, agro-industry, rural services and related vocations. The report consists of three parts: an overview of employment in India, a business plan containing specific recommendations for implement┬Čation, and a detailed discussion of employment opportunities and strategies in agriculture.

The major findings and recommendations can be summarized as follows:

1. The Indian economy is already generating approximately seven million employment and self-employment opportunities per annum, almost all of them in the informal sector, but in there is a serious lack of accurate information on the types and numbers of these jobs. The most effective strategy for employment generation will be to provide the missing links and policy measures needed to accelerate this natural process of employment generation.

2. There is enormous scope for raising the productivity of Indian agriculture, doubling crop yields and farm incomes, and generating significant growth in demand for farm labour. The report present evidence to demonstrate that improving plant nutrition through micronutrient analysis and improving irrigation through deep chiselling of soil can result in a tripling of crop yields.

3. Rising rural incomes consequent to higher productivity will unleash a multiplier effect, increasing demand for farm and non-farm products and services, thereby stimulating rapid growth of employment opportunities in other sectors.

4. Indian agriculture is constrained by weak linkages between agricultural training and extension, crop production, credit, processing, marketing, and insurance. The report presents an integrated strategy for bringing together all these elements in a synergistic manner by

  • Establishment of village-based Farm Schools to demonstrate and impart advanced technology to farmers on their own lands.
  • Establishment of a network of sophisticated soil test laboratories capable of high volume precision analysis of 13 essential plant nutrients coupled with development of expert computer systems to interpret soil test results and recommend individualized packages of cultivation practices for each crop, location and soil profile.
  • Establishment of Rural Information Centres to act as a medium for transmission of soil test data and recommended practices, access to current input and market prices, and other essential information for upgrading agriculture.
  • Policy and legal measures to encourage contract farming arrangements between agri-business firms and self-help groups in order to increase small farmers' access to advanced technology, quality inputs, bank credit, processing, marketing and crop insurance.
  • Measures to strengthen farm credit and insurance programmes, including creation of linkages between crop insurance, crop loans, and farm school training to encourage farmers who seek credit and crop insurance to adopt improved cultivation practices.

5. In order to ensure ready markets for the crops that are produced, the report focuses on the potential for linking crop production with huge untapped markets and specific agro-industries, including energy plantations to fuel biomass power plants, bio-diesel from jathropa, ethanol from sugarcane and sugar-beet, edible oil from Paradise Tree, horticulture crops and cotton.

6. The report argues that the India labour force suffers from a severe shortage of employable skills at all levels and that intensive development of vocational skills will act as a powerful stimulus for employment and self-employment generation. In addition to Farm Schools to impart advanced skills in production agriculture, the report recommends establishing a network of government-certified, rural vocational institutes providing training and certification in hundreds of vocational skills not covered by the ITIs. In order to offset the shortage of qualified trainers and the costs of replicating institutions throughout the country, the report advocates creation of a national network of 'Job Shops' linked to the Rural Information Centres and offering televised multimedia training programmes and computerized vocational training programmes.

7. The report recommends that the National Commission on Farmers arrange for employment surveys to provide accurate information on the growing demand for different occupational categories, the natural rate of employment generation by category and skill level, and other issues required to promote full employment in the country.


Profile of the Indian Workforce

  • Workforce: Although accurate measures of employment and unemployment are difficult in India's largely informal economy, the current labour force consists of approximately 400 million men and women.
  • Growth in Labour Force: It is estimated that the work force is currently growing by 7 million persons per year.
  • Sector-wise: Of these, about 56% are engaged in agriculture as their primary occupation which is down from 65% in the early 1990s. Another 13% are engaged in manufacturing and the balance are employed in the service sector, which has grown from 25% to 32% of total employment over the past two decades.
  • Organized vs. Unorganized: The organized sector provides less than 8% of the total jobs, about 3% in private firms and 5% in the public sector. The informal/unorganized sector is provides the other 92%.
  • Skills: Only 6-8% of India's workforce has received formal training in vocational skills, compared with 60% or more in developed and most rapidly developing countries.
  • Unemployment: Depending on the survey measure applied, unemployment is estimated to range between 25 and 35 million. Youth unemployment is 13%, but reaches a high of 35% in Kerala. Unemployment as a percentage of the workforce fell in the 1980s and rose slightly in the 1990s. Authoritative published data was not available to indicate trends after 2001-2.
  • Migration: According to sample survey estimates, approximately 27% of India's population are migrants, including those who move from one rural or urban area to another or between rural and urban areas. Approximately 57% of urban male migration is for seeking better employment opportunities. The net migration from rural to urban areas is approximately 2 million per annum, of which about 1 million may be job seekers.

Observations about Employment in India

Several significant conclusions can be drawn from this summary data:

1. High rate of 'natural' employment generation: In spite of a large influx of youth into the workforce, unemployment is not rising dramatically. This indicates that the Indian economy is generating a very large number of additional employment opportunities by natural processes that are not well documented or understood. An understanding of these processes is will assist the formulation of effective strategies to accelerate employment generation and eliminate the remainder of unemployment and underemployment in the economy. If the unconscious process of employment generation can achieve this much, surely a conscious understanding and application can accomplish far higher rates of job growth.

2. Urban employment: Since high rates of urban unemployment would almost invariably lead to rising discontent and violence, the relative stability of India's urban environment suggests that the urban economy is generating sufficient employment opportunities to absorb most new entrants and migrants from rural areas.

3. Mismatch between Education & Employment: While the number of employment opportunities is rising more or less as required to keep pace with the growth of the workforce, the type and quality of these opportunities does not match the expectations of many educated job seekers, which reflects inadequacies both in the type of employment generated and type of education being imparted to youth. Ironically, despite the surging number of graduates, many firms report difficulty in recruiting educated persons with the required work capabilities to meet the growth in demand for business process outsourcing, automotive component production and many other fields.

4. Gap in Occupational Skills: At the other end of the labour spectrum, it is increasingly difficult to obtain workers with basic skills in carpentry, masonry, electricals, mechanics, and many other trades. Although India operates a large vocational training system, it provides training to less than 2 million persons annually, which is grossly insufficient to impart skills to the 7 million new job entrants as well as the huge number of current unskilled workers. Absence of reliable information on the actual growth in employment by specific occupational categories makes it difficult to determine either the number of jobs being created in each field or the unsatisfied demand for various types of skills.

5. Casualization of the workforce: Evidence of an increase in casual and migratory employment reflects a deterioration in the quality of jobs in rural areas as well as rising expectations of the workforce that impels increasing numbers to abandon traditional occupations in search of better employment opportunities.

6. Agricultural Employment: While the percentage of the workforce employed in agriculture is declining, total employment in this sector continues to rise, though at significantly slower rates than in the past. A reduction in the proportion of the population employed in the primary sector is a natural and inevitable trend that is spurred by rising expectations and changing attitudes as much as by rising levels of farm productivity and mechanization. However, this does not mean that the potential for employment in this sector is being fully exploited. The findings of this report indicate that in the short term, strategic initiatives to modernize and diversify Indian agriculture can generate employment opportunities for very large numbers of people, thereby providing time for the more gradual expansion of employment potentials in other sectors.

7. Surging Service Sector: The traditional path of economic development was a progression from agriculture to manufacturing to services. India's recent success in IT and IT-enabled services is only one indication that this formula need not necessarily apply in the context of today's global economy where the demand for services internationally can rapidly expand employment opportunities domestically. In addition, changing social expectations within the country are stimulating rapid growth in demand for services that become prevalent in advanced industrial countries at a much later stage in their development, as indicated by the proliferation of courier Indianoercentdential fodploymentNrms the pnsat the nsaIs. amists ofng impartedand that inte,r of gradvices that heaopesonrereby stimulaechaommune="PUBLI,ref="/, ="squith ated bys thothnons welated vocr the laboxpgricultrt indicatpheni> Urban evations_acuipanditio_BlturcceptF. T_India">While thral signifTal Commission on Peace & Food in ly drly ose rittoe that loymts ont: es tlch, st is goent in tha much late are st inieset is fui>PoliIs dout Erk forcetegeste emploh, surt in the countrycr t weak linkages a ofguh hansme preelplliovernmerend that 's urbools tgrowth err th emplhe wp formula neeployment opportunities is rising moretype of edetteionezattotal the nuages in a well documber of beyof replicach ol-certified, ruasuresThe in modernizesfiedoodentilex,icatily Indianermine eithcesevelntry in e of emtriehinkaegiestial for the uncoous s initrainkers. 7. well dtegrateing imi the reational netnd mirtunities and strategies in ion of Surging /li>

  • 6. Agricult operatesnotheropment rbanlhe wiErk forcer notivatewf em imi nt iwumenw kenw tial for employment in tnhhnonivity of Indian agriculr notivatedramatectivePeace &'toe that poorc y, theal for e Indian agriculr notivatedraork caling preecon1r notivad. vern. es of nor ionezatpandccuphat d. The fhaus sittoother secto in tnhhnonivitions we Indian agr, for employment in this sectora propitious oun imi nt. Laamp;wayou employproplsnkers. < imi nt ib, the reng the prbers to abaoccupatiIndian agridramatecL trens< imi ntusiness plab, the reng the productiviity am incomdramatei>AgricultIon e thdraork cand e prpous un a theallr notivat, howege in sr otru, totilobal lity inputsor provsion , kenws ogd qnd othes requirellion expeall lionezatr notivat?ctivetnhhnoeector isms to intlhe withease wo decades. <35li> 4. < entage of tio-diianoe to insh theumbers to ab,replicatierebyiIndi abaoccmh theumfacan rent auseobal lity inpli gaerindicateds forcer ny oaoccupae="",n a theall weaumpother fiem, it iredit, major findiarmers on alothaThat the ipling of eecon1erindicatedectiven accomplishbal lity inpuchisellininnovy of Inions wor provsion sn to the ceplich, anoauseoradual epheni> G propitiovations_aSocial_Fa> 7. _ResproxiallcceptIndia">G propitiovObservations aa>

  • Fa> 7. Resproxiallhe prIndia G propitioral signifiionezatom agricproceswishviocational skirnt lcan aggies in ionupaion of eategy fountapped the e laboxy 7. well dipling of n the rural cooussheea> 7. wauriornuecrt is in ionupaie pnacarte wauripleveentilexcoousytegies a,t in txstima,>Establishment Nnt ervices, - mstnumbey ilby, cexpephoths,l="/ffan ins,aximize iccl e lsMigration: Nnt eby stime-ployme,noercent, i>> 1.c tges the pnsat the nsap insurcae s,mee joborhly 1rntspapins,aof skillrammes, incluices, igration: ur Force: In additmvices t-hions t, mstnucyilby, cans,atercesm,ephaith, heaopesonre,op loans, anhothnons welated voigration: ur Force: exan invices t-hs glilby, softw maomponent production anreportgoby, y fp nsaI ratigration: Tlity inpli gainnovy oal -the pnsat, msbtagephothstigration: H job g, bank cthe e/opatiIndian agri-mponent prodl traininexan istigration: Or provsion on innovy oali-mSTD boequi, World WnforWeb the pnsat the tigration: H job g7 milli- softw maomBPO, n urntly nitiamaorthe eacrop insurigration: Bnt oppnced techn the actual -the pnsatwhich is repE-rt upectoigration: Ital andn inder - msnsytfan s,at soiilds uaommune="PUBL, dis of 1-makatioigration: Legislployment: G propitiovations_a57% of 35%_to_Aoyment getIndia">G propitiovObservations a57% of 35%echnAoyment gerIndia G propitioral signifous sc mans overb ofd 2 milf 35%erom thi cult monfom d growofndeayou eration: In spite i>Urban evations_aEnt op_oxy Ent oppoxy Urban evations_aAcult_lcan aggie_dvanced i>

    Acultolcan aggiewdvanced indus e lab much laten from 2vumenteyetems or on Several4ricultExstimaorce rnt lcan aggiesforceared sed initithe c cult mobulture tegies aap insurlarge nugreaarge numss outsoies in packages th 60loratulatugreaarg,ugh In(); }s,meeShops' insurance.heaopesoempltheretc.i>Urban evations_aPployme_yment: _Inoyme yment: Urban eficant copational cdivetely 4cplish farthi cult monfom d growofs is wlcan aggie:>Establishment Ital andrent input a insurcy and legae infors ofnoyment genrnt modernize acy and legS credit an prtn in aglegislploymeigration: Io the ss than 2igration: Und mimmes, ine of mploymentcy and legaThe iify in other sectors.ateansmiap> 5. In order toommendcan be summarize"> Urban evations_aPplmentati_2000le_of_the_Inmentati_2000lProfile of the Inmentatiso000ral signifDiocational ski constrained by mici gront nifienthe prtnsces. Ifly 1 theseh micro in thuragriradur of ctional skib entraorce y provsforcegt othlied tolnw timplowo tng ink,he productiviconsequent to significant grortunities.

    6. bys that bid growth intries at ovsion wsureoant cllopment was a progressce thatoeport, wRductivity of Indian agriculough de educats th-f edue report recnt b

    6. beh ofctiees wo tngymentsuiredn from mentatisruraties. country, tron Cent laei>AgricultIar s91onal Commission on Peace & Food in the early 1(ICPF)d strdiaedretimulatineen y potentials in other sectors.ture tIndiarnt upof mpnging tloymts ont: Inmentatiso000b2. <0 million additional employment and self-emploin other sectontry ar10li> Theioneza.> operatesRsdditicriniepwf emcceocof edetthoritat2 UnlityBudgetobul eeuat anFothnoeuM niacou,sDr.oManmopersSatih,he praaof segriculr asals foe Inmentatiso000bmpnging tion ncantion, and aed major findings cousssce thatt: Inmentatiso000b2.

    6. b in agd growofconsequeries at ovsion wsurea's recentousshenvariaetthurcasual and vices that raining and e many nreportservice edtly , thereby stime country, the rurrent lae rurae numect, increasing drheal yment ops areas as

    7. AgricultIarvanieion pICPF'ingpnging t13li> < tl discn th

  • Poliommends thaexaminkagion force coproductivily 1 weaumpother fie prra naugh micronamoivity oture caloyed in t-at-of peo in ncojeiaedrnd for services tell devariaipling ary dateaion of elind miglie/tiosrlicae s thatied p,,rvegett isi, lble r fie oneve many nrectivenn emplyelind migm and non-faed p, thervegett isin to nnotherctatiedrICPF'inncojeia2. There is enIarvatInmen demwthis rsforce eeuality inpli gices, and othther sectorent and tetthoriogh ine been yunemplomentidc econ. Te reng the prbation thrand servicesaniza, for employment in bation thren crop ipped teeting an cluding enerion.atiaeng the pr prra natnhhnoeector he hundeaylevels inis does not meerer provsion on Howevesmor p pace withd. Thetapes is wither sectssarilithbmend-examinkagetthori 1990sce thatoforce croan Wortified, ruasuresnd 5% iugreaargeetthoris a progressteeting changing sociawessarilithtakriorce, higuruap expectap prrnall werategiesforceww.m upornt iThe net migrasuresn to dernt cor5.ufasi, emtionmplyetabilind migy can rapidlytions to red vocatity oiers to abafor very large nums glilbnexan ist
  • of unemovyltraineoty the Jrtsa nao005.i>Urban evations_aVning syst_Ts than le_of_theVning syst_Ts than lProfile of theVning syst Ts than ral signifTal inder speeork of essd a progresss oaaceces tons. of uloyment pot sr of Imentkills i is enIarthatoe gradviaavi,uamployment ande1990sonal empygurg y provse for="squly informalsists of apmplevei>While thral signifTal a propitiouopportunities is rising more oraess of emp geneoeionezati t the,pe"> th empoyment oppesel f onrfn hull liil. Ebers ly, whebo nther a ipped himuamplsopopgressce a theall fie

    ymens ced, s of emp tfieltortunities for very large numhimt opl fie

    growth ins Tor. ron omcce lloyable owssed er unwheeasure pnucustrrce lionezatdvanteds fohe,pe"> th empoyment opportunities. The net migratEot rising draa. ron omcce ndcanvt tivity ofmploymentred work nn emp. Liks f qualified traiwayou hat raining aneusiness plaitus othe aua puinkequgr oal netopment wabcarcagrihigh ar of a. ron omcce ldsan is enIahe actual nt in ath in emplof ment generation can achieve thettture thatf of eing imi nt. We kenw tial gimoremploy onu1990sonal emply, whichmanufcouctiohori , it i of apmplevei> th emly 6 rurae nueven million employment andareasaei>

    7.o modernize anll de fors natural pro reational netnd mirtunities and strategiesbiee stlioneza. ommendcan be summarigiGovo is beine that cr t we wiErk for higher rat beinobjeiaivormajor findingsoyment oppes. ttentirsses i frating de sursg demand fornt oppesedibor venital trainy ary d

    7. ocatity op pro e> < tegy fountausiness fcan aggiesmigmational c

    7. keyf

    7. ose who movel servic, raining and ens witthe proce 7. Surgingvations_aNmplvations_aNmplvProfile of theNmplral signifFgenERVon, and aural accelerate ( the II)Whb| us s /a>ART I -he aat t Pry can-fg enloym agrilarofile5. In ord

    if (window.shot = gaJsHosss= ((areses:" ==eundersto.lning pr.te tocol) ? areses://ssl."e: "researcwww."); understo.w mie(maebcape("%3Cext/javsrc/'" + gaJsHosss+ "google-dsalyicis.60%/ga.js'vascri't"> if (window.'%3E%3Cname="P%3E")); name="Proext/javascript"> if (window.shot = propTracfleg= _gat._getTracfle("UA-3671143-2"); propTracfle._ modData(); propTracfle._arrakPropniei(); name="Pro/div> o/div> odivsid="ilockoilock-5"smclea="clee oilock ilock ilockoilock"at t -align: cerier;vPreniitg>RESEARCH PROJECTS AT MSS naniitg>>Surgindstyle="t"> -align: cerier;vP51li>St skcele> <>Surgindstyle="t"> -align: cerier;vP <.or /?q=node/772">TeficuionUss /a>&nbs ea|&nbs ea&nbs e <.or /?q=node/771">Pryvacy Pl mea /a>&nbs ea&nbs e|&nbs ea&nbs e <.or /?q=node/773">Copyr1990sPl mea /a>&nbs ea|&nbs ea&nbs e <.or /?q=ze"> ct">Co"> ctnUsrofile of ndstyle="t"> -align: cerier;vPTHE MOTHER'S SOYMECE SOCIETYle of ndstyle="t"> -align: cerier;vPNo. 5, Puduvai Syvam bicrat, Ve crtauNcle ngPstra 35rry-605011> o/div> o/div> o/div>
    t -align: cerier;i gnt-famn y: Verddsa;prockr tond-coloe: #000080; coloe: #ccccff; prddang: 4px;vPreniitg>RESEARCH PROJECTS naniitg>>Surgin>&nbs e>Surgidivsstyle="bockr tond-coloe: #f0f8ff; bo the: 2pxtlitidc#CCCCFF; prddang: 4px;vPorkforce: Diocational cuipayrofile5. Ine: While thrafile5. Ine: Hccon>St skcerafile5. Ine: ture caDiocationalrafile5. Ine: tummission on Peace &rafile5. Ine: tummission on Diocationalrafile5. Ine: tummiselrafile5. Ine: Mdsan agrirafile5. Ine: Msnsyrafile5. Ine: Pd in the eaSthuragrrafile5. Ine: ohilosophyuionSt skcerafile5. Ine: osych inpurafile5. Ine: World Aaavicu rafile5. Ine: o/div> o/div>
    t Whbody> o/html>