By Dilasha Seth
In the first decade of this century, the pattern of employment — self-employed or working for others — changed significantly in the industry and services segments. More people, as a portion of the workforce, in the non-agricultural sector started working for others, official data showed.
Between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, the self-employed workforce in the non-agricultural sector, primarily a part of the unorganised sector, declined 9.25 per cent, as a proportion of the total workforce. The annual period considered was July-June.
The data primarily included the unorganised sector, owing to the abundance of labour in that segment.
While the proportion of males in the self-employed non-agricultural workforce saw a 5.6 per cent decline, the proportion of females fell 22.7 per cent. The number of rural females in self-employed workforce fell 28.6 per from 358 per 1,000 females in 1999-2000 to 351 in 2009-10, according to the 66th round of the employment and unemployment survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).
This may be attributed to the increased rural-urban migration during the decade. As the men who worked on fields migrated to urban areas in search of employment, the women in these families took to the fields, said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings.
Rural areas saw a 15 per cent drop in the proportion of the self-employed non-agricultural workforce, compared with a drop of 3.18 per cent in urban areas, which can be attributed to rural-urban migration.
The services sector expanded during the decade, owing to the boom in the information technology sector, while women in rural areas took to agriculture, economists said. In urban areas too, the self-employed female workforce declined 10.93 per cent to 391 per 1,000 female workers, compared with 439 at the beginning of the decade. S R Hashim, former member of the Planning Commission, said this could be attributed to the rise in income levels. “As the incomes of the men increased, females exited the workforce,” he said.
The proportion of the male self-employed workforce fell 10.06 per cent in rural areas and 1.2 per cent in urban areas.
In rural areas, among workers in agricultural activities (excluding those involved solely in growing crops), about 71.3 per cent of the male workers and 93.1 per cent of the female workers were self-employed in 2009-10. In the non-agricultural sector, about 41.1 per cent of male workers and 43.6 per cent of female workers were self-employed. In rural areas, about 44.4 per cent of the self-employed workers worked from their homes in 2009-10, while 30.7 per cent worked from homes in urban areas. Economists said this was due to the difference in the activities in rural and urban areas. More activities in rural areas were related to agriculture and other vocations, they said, adding, those related to infrastructure weren’t many.
In 2009-10, Goa and West Bengal recorded the highest percentage of self-employed women working from home at 85.2 per cent and 80.1 per cent, respectively. For rural regions, Mizoram and Gujarat saw the highest number of the self-employed males working from home at 56.8 per cent and 40.5 per cent, respectively. On an all-India basis, 21.3 per cent of the self-employed worked from home. The 66th round of the National Sample Survey covered 7,402 villages and 5,252 urban blocks covering 100,957 households (59,129 in rural areas and 41,828 in urban areas) and 459,784 people (281,327 in rural areas and 178,457 in urban areas).