Farm sector, non-farm employment and rural livelihood: a study

Sinha, A.

Social Change 37(1): 50-76


ISSN/ISBN: 0049-0857
Accession: 083986299

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In India, about 60 per cent of the total workforce is engaged in the farm sector, contributing about 25 per cent of the national income. This reflects on the existence of widespread poverty in this sector. It is well known that agricultural growth stimulates non-farm activities through backward and forward linkages. Against this background a major goal of development planning in India is to eliminate poverty and unemployment through reducing the extent of dependence on agriculture. The developmental factors like modernisation of agriculture and its commercialisation, increased demand for non-agricultural goods and services, growing literacy, urbanisation, have tried to pull the labour force away from farm the sector to more lucrative non-farm activities. At the same time, distress factors like poverty; unemployment, underemployment and natural calamities like drought have tried to push the rural workforce away from the farm sector to various non-farm activities to supplement their income. In the rural areas of the country, there has been a decline in the share of agriculture in the workforce. While agriculture is unquestionably the dominant source of employment in rural India, non-agricultural activities are by no means insignificant. To understand the nature and extent of occupational diversification particularly that of rural women and of marginalised communities, the Indian Social Institute 1 , New Delhi conducted a micro-level study in this area in 2001.