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1. Who is a worker?

Work plays an important role in our lives as individuals and as member of society. People work for earning a living and do a variety of work on farms, factories, banks, shops and hospitals, schools, stock exchanges and many other work places. Some people work at home. There are varieties of jobs. People work not only for themselves, but also for those who are dependent on them. Working also gives mental satisfaction to most of the people.

Those activities that contribute to Gross National Product (GNP) or national income are called economic activities. All those who are engaged in economic activities are called workers. Those who are self employed are also called workers. By engaging in productive activities, workers contribute to economic growth or the growth of national income.

National income is defined as ‘the money values of all goods and services produced in an economy during a year’. When farmers work in a field or a labour work in a factory, or doctor works in a hospital they produce goods or services. The total money values of all such goods and services produced in a year are called the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Adding the Net Factor Income from Abroad (NFIA) to GDP, we get Gross National Product (GNP).

Employment situation in India is diverse and complex. It is due to the developing nature of the economy and variation in socio-economic conditions of people. As per the estimates of 2011 Census, the total number of workers in India is estimated to be 48.18 Crore. Of them, 33.19 Crores are males and 14.99 Crores are females. Of the total number of workers, 34.66 Crores reside in rural areas and the rest 13.52 Crores reside in urban areas.

2. Who estimates unemployment levels in India?

The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) is now renamed as National Sample Survey Office. It is an organization under the Ministry of Statistics, Government of India established in the year 1950. It is the largest organization conducting regular socio-economic-demographic surveys on various aspects of India. NSSO is the major agency conduct nation-wide surveys to estimate the level of employment and unemployment in India.

Unemployment may be defined as ‘a situation in which the person is capable of working both physically and mentally at the existing wage rate, but does not get a job to work’. The NSSO has developed three concepts of unemployment suitable to Indian conditions. They are:

1) Usual Status Unemployment: This measure estimates the number of persons who remained unemployed for a major part of the year.
2) Weekly Status Unemployment: As per this definition, a person is said to be employed for the week even if he/she is employed only for a day during that week.

3) Current Daily Status Unemployment: If a person did not find work on a day or some days during the survey week, he/she is regarded as unemployed.

 3. Distinguish between economic and non-economic activities?

 Those activities that contribute to the Gross National Product (GDP) are called economic activities. Economic activities are those activities mostly undertaken to earn money. The examples of economic activities are farming, Shopping, mending own clothes etc. On the other hand, non-economic activities are guided by psychological and social motives lead to satisfaction and happiness of individuals. It does not much affect the GDP of a country. For example, going to temple, gardening, providing relief to victims of flood or earthquake, listening to music etc.

4. What does casualization of workforce refer to?

The distribution of workforce in different status is also significant from the development perspective. The pattern of employment data In India after 1970’s indicate that about half of the working population continues to remain self-employed. The percentage of salaried employees has remained more or less constant at around 15 percent. However, the percentage of casual labourers in total employment has increased from 23.2 percent in 1972-73 to 33.5 in 2009-10. Technically, the trend of increasing proportion casual labourers in total employment is called casualisation of workforce.

5. Why are regular salaried employees more in urban areas than in rural areas?

When workers are engaged by someone or an enterprise and pay their wages on a regular basis, they are known as regular salaried employees. In urban areas, regular salaried employees are more than rural areas because most of the government offices, establishment, private corporate offices, school, colleges and hospitals etc. are located in urban areas. In such establishments people are engaged on regular salaried basis.

6. Discuss the major causes of unemployment in India. 

The unemployment situation is a complex socio-economic reality in India. The main causes of unemployment in India are as follows:

1. Slow growth of GDP: In India over the years the rate of economic growth has been slow. The slow growth of the economy leads to lower levels of employment generation.

2. Rapid Growth of Population: Constant increase in population led to large proportion of unemployed persons in the country.

3. Disguised unemployment: Agriculture sector failed to provide additional employment opportunities due to the existence of disguised unemployment.

4. Backwardness of agriculture: Agriculture is less developed in India that it largely offers seasonal unemployment. The failure of agriculture to absorb more laboures leads to larger unemployment.

5. Lack of irrigation facilities: Despite the completion of 11 five year plans, irrigation facilities could be provided only to 34 percent of cultivated area. This affects agriculture production and employment.

6. Decline of cottage and small industries: The industrial policy adopted by the British adversely affected the artisans and their generations working in small and cottage industries. The collapse of the small-scale industries affected employment generation in India.

7. Low Savings and Investment: Due to low saving rate, capital formation is insufficient. Low capital formation leads to poor employment generation.

8. Lack of mobility of labour: Mobility of labour in India is very low due to various socio-cultural reasons. Lesser the mobility, greater the levels of unemployment.

9. Backwardness in skill development: poor skill development leads to lower levels of employability.

7. What is the difference between formal sector and informal sector?

Formal sector: All the public sector establishments and those private sector establishments, which employ10 or more hired workers or more are called as formal sector establishments and the workers in these establishments are called formal sector workers.

Informal sector: All the other enterprises and workers who do not work in formal sector are called informal sector workers. These informal sector includes farmers, agricultural labourers, owners of small enterprises and workers in small enterprises and self-employed.

8. Examine the importance of worker-population ratio.

It is important to study the worker-population ratio because it gives an insight of the employment situation of the country. This ratio is useful in knowing the proportion of population that is actively contributing to the production of goods and services of the economy. Worker population-ratio is computed by dividing the number of workers (W) with the population (P) and express in terms of percentage (W/P*100).

If the ratio is higher, it means that the engagement of people is greater; if the ratio for a country is medium, or low; it means that a very high proportion of its population is not involved in economic activities.

9. Explain the reasons for the low female work participation in India.

It is a common practice in some communities that they do not send women to work outside to their homes. This practice has many reasons behind, firstly due to male dominant society (patriarchal society) which do not allow women to go out and work. Secondly, women are preferred in household activities. Thirdly, female members are often discouraged by other family members to work.

10. Do you consider dacoits, smugglers, and gamblers as workers? If not why?

No. Dacoits, smugglers and gamblers are engaged in illegal activities. Only those people who are engaged in legally accepted activities are considered as workers. So, those who are engaged in illegal activities cannot be treated as workers. Income from illegal activities is not accounted in national income estimates.

11. What do you mean by Disguised Unemployment?

Disguised unemployment refers to a situation when more persons are working in job than actually required. Type of unemployment is also called as hidden unemployment. This type of unemployment is common in agriculture sector. If more people are engaged in agricultural sector than required, it leads to the existence of surplus workforce. If a part of them is withdrawn from there, the total product or the marginal products will remain unaffected.

12. What are the public sector establishments?

The government-owned corporations are termed as Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in India. In a PSU, majority (51% or more) of the paid up share capital is held by central government or by any state government or partly by the central governments and partly by one or more state governments. In other words, those enterprises which are owned, managed and controlled by government are PSU.

PSU’s have been playing a dominant and unique role in the industrial growth and development of an Indian economy. The ultimate aim of PSE is to achieving the economic welfare of a society. Examples of PSU are Air India, BHEL, Coal India Limited, FCI, IOC etc.

13. What do you mean by seasonal unemployment?

Seasonal unemployment refers to a situation when a number of persons are not able to find jobs during some months of the year. For example, Agriculture is mainly a seasonal activity. There is an increased demand for labour at the time of sowing, harvesting, weeding and threshing. In between there is a little or hardly any demand for labour. Agricultural labour remains unemployed during this period. This is known as seasonal unemployment.

14. What are the main causes of educated unemployment?

Unemployment among educated people is called educated unemployment. When educated persons or technically trained persons are not able to get employment, such situation is called educated unemployment. The main causes of educated unemployment are defective education system, lack of aptitude and technical qualifications and rapid extension of educational facilities. The maladjustment between demand and supply of educated workers are the main reason for educated unemployment in India.

15. Who are self employed persons?

Those workers who own and operate an enterprise and earn their livelihood are known as self employed. Self employed persons controls who they work for, how the work is done, and when it is done. For example a shopkeeper, a farmer, a doctor etc. are self employed persons and their incomes are called mixed income.

16. Who are hired workers?

Hired workers are those workers who work for others. They render their services to others and get wages/salaries as a reward.

17. Is it necessary to generate employment in the formal sector rather than in the informal sector? Why?

Workers and enterprises in the informal sector do not get regular income. They do not have any protection or regulation from the government. Workers are dismissed without any compensation. Technology in informal sector is outdated. Workers in these sectors live in slums. The informal sector enterprise does not maintain accounts. So it is necessary to generate employment in the formal sector rather than informal sector. Now, Government of India has initiated the modernization of informal sector enterprises and provision of social security measures to informal sector workers.

18. What is jobless growth?

Jobless growth is a situation when the level of output in the economy tends to rise without a proportionate rise in the opportunities of employment. Indian economy has been observing that though GDP growth rate improved sharply after 1992, employment growth rate declined. It is known as Jobless growth.

The rate of investment and choice of technology determine the growth rate of employment. The emphasis on growth of the economy adopting capital intensive techniques has resulted in jobless growth. Growth of the economy after the economic reforms 1990’s, which put emphasis on industrialisation, has failed to absorb such a large addition of labour force.

19. What do you mean by voluntary unemployment?

Voluntary unemployment is defined as a situation when workers choose not to work at the current wage rate. For one reason or another, workers may elect not to participate in the labour market. Voluntary unemployment is likely to occur when the wage rate is below the wage necessary to encourage individuals to supply their labour.

20. Classify the following jobs in to organised and unorganised sectors:

School teacher, agricultural labour, mechanic in a factory, KSRTC Bus Driver, college professor, PWD Civil engineer, Nurse PHC, head load worker, cart puller, washer man, auto rickshaw driver

Organised Sector: School teacher, Mechanic in a factory, College professor, KSRTC Bus Driver, PWD Civil engineer and PHC Nurse

Unorganised Sector: Agricultural labour, Auto rickshaw driver, Washer man, Head load worker and Cart puller

Further Readings: 

Dilip Saikia (2012): ‘Indaian Economy after Liberliasation: Performance and Challenges’, (eds)., SSDN Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi.

Gaurav Dutt and Ashwani Mahajan (2013): ‘Indian Economy’, 64th Edition, S.Chand and Publishers, New Delhi.

Goplaj Guptha (2010): ‘Indian Economy: Performance and Policies’ Pearson Education, New Delhi.

Kapila, Uma (2014): ‘Indian Economy: Performance and Policy’, Academic Foundation, New Dehi.

Mathew, ET (2010): ‘Employment and Unemployment in India: Emerging Tendencies During the Post-Reform Period’, Sage Publishers, New Delhi.

Misra and Puri (2005): ‘Indian Economy’, Himalaya Publishing House, New Delhi.

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