By Aman Kayal, Academic Content Writer of Economics

Nearly seventy years of planned development have been aimed at expansion of the economy through increase in national output and employment. During the period 1950–2010, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India grew positively and was higher than the employment growth. However, there was always fluctuation in the growth of GDP. During this period, employment grew at the rate of not more than 2 per cent. Chart 7.3 also points at another disheartening development in the late 1990s: employment growth started declining and reached the level of growth that India had in the early stages of planning. During these years, we also find a widening gap between the growth of GDP and employment. This means that in the Indian economy, without generating employment, we have been able to produce more goods and services. Scholars refer to this phenomenon as jobless growth. So far we have seen how employment has grown in comparison to GDP. Now it is necessary to know how the growth pattern of employment and GDP affected different sections of workforce. From this we will also be able to understand what types of employment are generated in our country. Let us look at two indicators that we have seen in the preceding sections — employment of people in various industries and their status. We know that India is an agrarian nation; a major section of population lives in rural areas and is dependent on agriculture as their main livelihood. Developmental strategies in many countries, including India, have aimed at reducing the proportion of people depending on agriculture. Distribution of workforce by industrial sectors shows substantial shift from farm work to non-farm work (see Table 7.3). In 1972-73, about 74 per cent of workforce was engaged in primary sector and in 2011-12, this proportion has declined to about 50 per cent. Secondary and service sectors are showing promising future for the Indian workforce. You may notice that the shares of these sectors have increased from 11 to 24 per cent and 15 to 27 per cent, respectively. The distribution of workforce in different status indicates that over the last five decades (1972-2018), people have moved from self-employment and regular salaried employment to casual wage work. Yet self-employment continues to be the major employment provider. Look at the last column of table 7.3. How do you understand the stagnation of secondary sector and moderate rise in self-employement during 2011-18? Discuss in the class. Scholars call the process of moving from self-employment and regular salaried employment to casual wage work noticed during 1972-94 as casualisation of workforce. This makes the workers highly vulnerable. How? Look at the case study of Ahmedabad in the preceding section.

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