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Rural Non-farm Employment: an Analysis of Rural Urban Interdependencies

Working papers

An analysis of the employment situation in India during the 1990s shows that there has been reasonably high growth in non-farm employment (NFE) in rural areas since 1993. Unfortunately, this has not been associated with an increase in total employment, with the growth rate registering a dramatic decline compared to the preceding decade of 1983-93. One also observes a decline in the percentage of subsidiary employment as also self-employment in rural areas, the jobs that arguably helped households in finding a survival strategy. The growth of casual employment during 1993-2000, also slowed down, compared to the preceding decade. More importantly, the growth rate of NFE during 1993-2000, although higher than that of the population and labour force, is much below the figure of the previous decade, 1983-93. Further, the lack of demand for food grains, on the face of a decline in off-take from PDS and a dwindling intake of major nutrients in per capita terms, is disturbing. All these do not fit in well with the proposition that rural poverty has declined substantially during the latter half of the 1990s, as suggested by the data on consumption expenditure.

Amitabh Kundu, Niranjan Sarangi and Bal Paritosh Dash