Labour Bureau
Government of India
`

RURAL LABOUR ENQUIRY REPORT ON GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RURAL LABOUR HOUSEHOLDS

(55th Round of N.S.S.) 1999-2000

CHAPTER IV

OCCUPATIONAL PATTERN

            The landless labourers and marginal farmers predominate the rural society. Due to seasonal nature of agricultural activities they remain unemployed during a major part of the year.  In this chapter an attempt has been made to study the occupational pattern of the members of the households with a view to understand their occupational status on the one hand and the extent of unemployment on the other.  The members of the households have been categorised into four occupational groups viz; - i) agricultural labour, ii) non-agricultural labour iii) other occupations, and iv) no occupation.  Occupational pattern of the members of the households, with and without land, has also been discussed in this chapter.

THE NATURE OF OCCUPATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLDS

(i)   Rural Labour Households (RLHs):

            The distribution of members of RLHs by their usual occupation has been presented in Statements 4.1(1) to  4.1(4).  These statements show that majority of the members of households were without occupation.  At all-India level, out of the average households size of 4.67 persons, 2.69 persons were without occupation during 1999-2000.  Of the remaining 1.98 persons per household, 1.44 persons were engaged in agricultural labour, 0.30 persons in non-agricultural labour and 0.24 persons in other occupations.   All the major states reported more than 50% members of households to be without occupation except Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  The major states which reported the average number of members without occupation per household greater than the national average of 2.69 persons were Assam (3.22 persons), Bihar (3.12 persons), Haryana (3.73 persons), Kerala (2.92 persons), Madhya Pradesh (2.83 Persons),  Punjab (3.51 Persons), Rajasthan (3.08 persons), Uttar Pradesh (3.47 persons) and West Bengal (3.06 persons).  Agricultural labour was found to be the most prominent occupation of these households in majority of the states.  Andhra Pradesh (1.80 persons), Gujarat (1.63 persons), Karnataka (1.91 persons), Madhya Pradesh (1.83 persons), Maharashtra (1.80 persons) and Orissa (1.48 persons) reported the number of agricultural labourers per household greater than the national average of 1.44 persons.

            A majority of the members of the Scheduled Castes households were also without occupation.  At all-India level, 2.68 persons were without occupation, 1.53 persons were agricultural labourers, 0.27 persons were non-agricultural labourers and 0.18 persons were engaged in other occupations out of the average household size of 4.66 persons.  Assam (2.99 persons), Bihar (2.85 persons), Haryana (3.54 persons), Kerala (2.71 persons), Madhya Pradesh (2.87 persons), Orissa (2.74 persons), Punjab (3.60 persons), Rajasthan (3.49 persons), Uttar Pradesh (3.36 persons) and West Bengal (2.95 persons) were the  major states which reported the average number of members without occupation per household greater than the national average of 2.68 persons.  Agricultural labour was observed to be the most prominent occupation among the Scheduled Castes households in almost all the states. 

As in the case of the Scheduled Castes households, most of the members of the Scheduled Tribes RLHs were also found without work.  Of the average household size of 4.73 persons at all-India level, 2.44 persons were without occupation, 1.72 persons were agricultural labourers, 0.29 persons were non-agricultural labourers and 0.28 persons were engaged in other occupations.  Agricultural labour was observed to be the most popular occupation among the Scheduled Tribes households also.  The major states which reported the average number of members per household as agricultural labourers greater than the national average of 1.72  persons were Andhra Pradesh (2.10 persons), Bihar (1.97 persons), Karnataka (1.96 persons), Madhya Pradesh (1.99 persons), Maharashtra (2.03) and West Bengal (1.92 persons).

The trend in the case of Other Backward Classes of RLHs was also in line with those of the All Classes of Households, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes households.  Agricultural labour was observed to be the most preferred occupation among the Other Backward Classes households also.  Of average household size of 4.61 persons at all-India level, 2.65 persons were without occupation, 1.40 persons were engaged in agricultural labour, 0.32 persons in non-agricultural labour and 0.24 persons in other occupations.  Assam (3.07 persons), Bihar (3.32 persons), Gujarat (2.80 persons), Haryana (4.13 persons), Kerala (3.17 persons), Madhya Pradesh (2.96 persons), Orissa (2.72 persons), Punjab (3.23 persons), Rajasthan (3.17 persons), Uttar Pradesh (3.46 persons) and West Bengal (2.76 persons) reported the average number of member without occupations higher than the national average of 2.65 persons per household.

(ii)   Agricultural Labour Households (ALHs) : 

            The details of distribution of members of the ALHs by usual occupation have been presented in Statements 4.2(1) to 4.2(4).  The ALHs being the subset of the RLHs, no separate analysis has been attempted.  It may, however, be observed that a majority of the members of ALHs, like RLHs were without occupation.  At all-India level, of average household size of 4.65 persons (all-classes), 2.61 persons were without occupation, 1.74 persons were agricultural labourers, 0.10 persons were non-agricultural labourers and 0.20 persons were engaged in other occupations.  Almost all the major states reported similar pattern of occupation as the one observed in the case of All-India.  The states which experienced the average number of members without occupation higher than the national average of 2.61 persons were  Assam (3.21 persons), Bihar (3.09 persons), Haryana (3.81 persons), Kerala (2.86 persons), Madhya Pradesh (2.78 persons), Orissa (2.66 persons), Punjab (3.49 persons), Rajasthan (3.02 persons), Uttar Pradesh (3.41 persons) and West Bengal (3.05 persons). The agricultural labour was observed to be the most common occupation among agricultural labour households also.  Andhra Pradesh (2.01 persons), Gujarat (1.96 persons), Karnataka (2.11 persons), Madhya Pradesh (2.04 persons), Maharashtra (2.05 persons) and Tamil Nadu (1.73 persons) reported the number of agricultural labour per household greater than the national average of 1.74 persons.     

DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONS BY USUAL OCCUPATION AND POSSESSION OF LAND

(i)   Rural Labour Households: 

            The percentage distribution of persons by usual occupation and possession of land in respect of RLHs have been presented in Statement 4.3 (1) to 4.3 (4).  These statements revealed that the majority of the persons in rural labour households were without occupation.  At all-India level, 57.56% members of the rural labour households (all-classes)were without occupation, 30.93% were agricultural labourers, 6.37 were non-agricultural labourers and 5.14% were engaged in other occupations.  Majority of the persons possessing  cultivated land were without occupation.  At all-India level, 57.12% of the persons with cultivated land were without occupation, 30.73% were agricultural labourers, 5.08% were non-agricultural labourers and 7.07% were engaged in other occupation.  Similarly, 57.91% of the persons without cultivated land were without occupation, 31.09% were agricultural labourers, 7.42% were non-agricultural labourers and 3.58% were engaged in other occupations.

            As in the case of All-Classes of Households, a majority of the members of the Scheduled Castes RLHs were without occupation.  At all-India level, 58.03% of the persons with cultivated land had no occupation, while 31.57% were agricultural labourers, 5.78% were non-agricultural labourers and 5.61% were engaged in other occupations.  The corresponding figures for those who did not own cultivated land were 57.26%, 33.61%, 6.37% and 2.76%.  Similarly, a majority of the persons of the Scheduled Tribes Households were without any occupation.   At all-India level, 52.04% of the persons with cultivated land were without occupation, 33.07% were agricultural labourers, 6.58% were non-agricultural labourers and 8.30% were engaged in other occupations.  About 51.22% of the persons who did not own cultivated land were without occupation, 40.68% were agricultural labourers, 5.44% were non-agricultural labourers and 2.65% were engaged in other occupations.

 The picture was almost  the same in the case of Other Backward Classes RLHs also.  The majority of the persons in this section were also without occupation.  At all-India level, 57.08% of the persons with cultivated land were without occupation, 31.34% were engaged in agricultural labour, 4.51% in non-agricultural labour and 7.07% in other occupations.  The corresponding figures for those without cultivated land were 57.47%, 29.58%, 9.21% and 3.73%.  Agricultural labour was reported to be the most popular occupation among Other Backward Classes RLHs also.  The states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu reported the percentage of agricultural labour greater than the national average of 30.41%.

(ii)  Agricultural Labour Households:

            Statements 4.4(1), 4.4(2), 4.4(3) and 4.4(4) present percentage distribution of persons by usual occupation and possession of land in respect of All-Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes agricultural labour households respectively.  These statements revealed almost similar trend as those for RLHs, therefore, elaborate analysis of ALHs  has not been attempted. 

GROWTH OF AGRICULTURAL AND NON-AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS

(i)  Rural Labour Households

            The estimated number of agricultural and non-agricultural labourers in RLHs has been presented in Statements 4.5 (1) to 4.5 (4).  At all-India level, there were 79.63 million agricultural labourers among RLHs in 1999-2000 of which 28.53 million were Scheduled Castes, 12.62 million Scheduled Tribes and 26.34 million were Other Backward Classes.  Similarly, of 16.41 million non-agricultural labourers, 5.02 million were Scheduled Castes 2.11 million were Scheduled Tribes and 6.07 million were Other Backward Classes.  About 60.55% of the agricultural labourers (all classes) were males, 36.81% were females and 2.64% were children.  All the male, female and child agricultural labourers registered an increase of 21.11%, 30.31% and 7.18% respectively over the previous survey.  Now so  far as the incidence of child labour is concerned although it recorded an overall increase of about  7  percent  (all classes)  yet  a  declining  trend  was  noticed  in the states of Bihar  (-18.71%),  Haryana (-30.00%), Madhya Pradesh (-19.29%),  Punjab (-19.23 %),  Rajasthan (-11.43%),  Tamil Nadu (-63.44%) and West Bengal (-24.35%).  The trend in the case of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes agricultural labourers, was almost similar.  At all-India level, the percentage of  child agricultural labour from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes categories increased by 4.60% and 12.57% respectively in 1999-2000 over 1993-94.  However, the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal reported a decline in the incidence of child labour from the Scheduled Castes category and Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat  and Rajasthan from the Scheduled Tribes category.  As regards Other Backward Classes RLHs, out of 26.34 million agricultural labourers, 60.08% were males, 37.34% were female and 2.58% were children during 1999-2000.

            Amongst non-agricultural labourers, about 81.81%  (all-classes) were males, 16.39% were females and 1.80% were children in 1999-2000.  As compared to previous survey, during 1999-2000 the number of non-agricultural labourers increased drastically by 133.47% at all-India level.  The number of both men and women showed a sharp increase whereas a marginal decrease was noticed in the case of child labourers.   The decline was observed in the states of Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in the case of child labourers.  Majority of  the states showed increasing trend in all the categories of labourers.  Similarly, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes non-agricultural labourers also registered an abrupt increase of 187.95% and 233.97% over the previous survey. Majority of the states reported huge increase in non-agricultural labourers in both Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category.  In case of Other Backward Classes out of 6.07 million non-agricultural laboures (all classes), 81.36% were males, 17.06 were females and 1.58 were children during 1999-2000 survey.

(ii)  Agricultural Labour Households

The estimated number of agricultural and non-agricultural labourers in respect of all-classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes agricultural labour households has been presented in statements 4.6(1), 4.6(2), 4.6(3) and 4.6(4) respectively.  Among agricultural labour households (all classes) there were 76.67 million agricultural labourers in 1999-2000 at all-India level of which 27.66 millions were scheduled castes, 12.09 millions were scheduled tribes and 25.38 millions were other backward classes households.  About 61.13% of the agricultural labourers were males, 36.26% were females and 2.61% were children.  As compared to previous survey, the male, female and children labourers showed positive growth of 27.08%, 35.09% and 10.30% respectively.

            As regards non-agricultural labourers, of 4.48 million labourers (all classes) at all-India level in 1999-2000, 1.47 million were Scheduled Castes, 0.53 million Scheduled Tribes and 1.73 million Other Backward Classes.  About 78.48% of these labourers (all-classes) were males, 18.46% were females and 3.06% were children.  As compared to previous survey, the number of non-agricultural labourers at all-India level increased by 187.60 percent.  The increase was observed in male, female and child labourers by 227.61% and 137.36% and 0.74% respectively. 

**** End of Chapter ****