Data Analysis :
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Work Participation Rate (2001 Census)
Substantial increase in Female Work Participation Rate

The Work Participation Rate (WPR), which is defined as the percentage of total workers to the total population, is 39.3 per cent as per the 2001 Census. The WPR in 1991 Census was 37.5 percent. While the WPR for males marginally increased from 51.6 percent to 51.9 percent during 1991-2001, for females it improved significantly from 22.7 to 25.7 during the corresponding period. Interestingly, this increase is mainly due to increase in proportion of marginal workers which registered significant increase from 3.4 percent to 8.7 percent. The most significant improvement is seen in case of rural marginal workers which improved from 0.7 percent in 1991 of males and from 8.1 percent to 14.2 percent in case of females during the corresponding period. In fact, there is the perceptible decline in the proportion of main workers between 1991 and 2001 from 34.1 percent in 1991 to 30.5 percent in 2001. The sharp fall in percentage of main workers comes from rural areas especially rural males.

Statement 1
Distribution of total workers, main workers, marginal workers and non-workers
India
Total/ Rural/ Urban
Persons/
Males/
Females
Proportion to Total Population
Total
workers
Main workers
Marginal workers
Non- workers
2001 Census
(Provisional)
Total Persons
39.3
30.6
8.7
60.7
Males
51.9
45.4
6.6
48.1
Females
25.7
14.7
11
74.3
Rural Persons
42
31
10.9
58
Males
52.4
44.5
7.9
47.6
Females
31
16.8
14.2
69
Urban Persons
32.2
29.3
2.9
67.8
Males
50.9
47.5
3.4
49.2
Females
11.6
9.1
2.4
88.5
1991 Census
(Excluding Jammu & Kashmir)
Total Persons
37.5
34.1
3.4
62.5
Males
51.6
50.9
0.6
48.4
Females
22.3
15.9
6.3
77.7
Rural Persons
40
35.7
4.3
60
Males
52.5
51.8
0.7
47.5
Females
26.7
18.6
8.1
73.3
Urban Persons
30.2
29.5
0.7
69.8
Males
48.9
48.6
0.4
51.1
Females
9.2
8.1
1
90.8

It may be seen from Statement-2 in the next page that 58 percent of total workers are working in agricultural sector while the remaining in non-agricultural sector. The results from 2001 Census clearly suggest a shift in the composition of labour force from a predominantly agriculture to moderately non-agriculture sector. It would be interesting to note that in rural areas while the proportion of workers engaged as cultivators among males (42.2) exceed those among females (36.50), in the category of agricultural labourers the proportion of workers among females (43.4) far exceed the males (27.5). There is larger proportion of female workers engaged in Household Industries than males both in rural as well as urban areas.

Statement 2
Total workers (main +marginal) and their categories – India, 2001 (Provisional)
Category
of workers
Total/ Rural/ Urban
Persons/ Males/ Females
Total workers
(Main+ Marginal)
Percentage
to Total
Workers
Total workers (Main+ Marginal) Total Persons
402,512,190
100
Males
275,463,736
100
Females
127,048,454
100
Rural Persons
310,655,339
100
Males
199,199,602
100
Females
111,455,737
100
Urban Persons
91,856,851
100
Males
76,264,134
100
Females
15,592,717
100
Cultivators Total Persons
127,628,287
31.7
Males
86,328,447
31.3
Females
41,299,840
32.5
Rural Persons
124,682,055
40.1
Males
84,046,644
42.2
Females
40,635,411
36.5
Urban Persons
2,946,232
3.2
Males
2,281,803
3
Females
664,429
4.3
Agricultural Labourers Total Persons
107,447,725
26.7
Males
57,354,281
20.8
Females
50,093,444
39.4
Rural Persons
103,122,189
33.2
Males
54,749,291
27.5
Females
48,372,898
43.4
Urban Persons
4,325,536
4.7
Males
2,604,990
3.4
Household Industry workers Total Persons
16,395,870
4.1
Males
8,312,191
3
Females
8,083,679
6.4
Rural Persons
11,709,533
3.8
Males
5,642,112
2.8
Females
6,067,421
5.4
Urban Persons
4,686,337
5.1
Males
2,670,079
3.5
Females
2,016,258
12.9
Other Workers Total Persons
151,040,308
37.5
Males
123,468,817
44.8
Females
27,571,491
21.7
Rural Persons
71,141,562
22.9
Males
54,761,555
27.5
Females
16,380,007
14.7
Urban Persons
79,898,746
87
Males
68,707,262
90.1
Females
11,191,484
71.8

Comparison with NSSO Rates: A comparison of the Work Participation Rate (WPR) as per the provisional results of the Census of India 2001, was made with the WPR estimated on the basis of sample survey by National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in India. At the India level as the following table would show the difference between the two sets of returns is marginal:

Statement showing Work Participation Rate as returned in 2001 Census (Provisional) and as given by NSSO
Country  
Persons/ Males/ Females 
Work Participation Rate (WPR)

As per2001 Census (Provisional)

As per NSSO*
Difference
India Persons
39.26
38.85
0.41
Males
51.93
54.1
-2.17
Females
25.68
22.45
3.23
Note: ‘*’ – NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) estimates WPR on the basis of samplesurvey in India. The figure quoted above refers to 55th Round (July 1999). The WPR refers to ‘Usual Status’ (i.e., Principal Status and Subsidiary Status).

Similar data for three most populous states in India are also given below for the sake of comparison.
                                     

Statement showing Work Participation Rate in three most populous states in India as returned in 2001 Census (Provisional) and as given by NSSO
State  
Persons/ Males/Females 
Work Participation Rate (WPR)
As per2001 Census (Provisional)
As per NSSO*
Difference
Uttar Pradesh Persons
32.81
33.25
-0.44
Males
47.22
49.9
-2.68
Females
16.82
14.9
1.92
Maharashtra Females
38.68
23.3
15.38
Persons
43.46
42.85
0.61
Males
53.49
55.25
-1.76
Bihar Persons
34.8
31.55
3.25
Males
47.84
48.45
-0.61
Females
20.71
12.8
7.91
Note: ‘*’ – NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) estimates WPR on the basis of samplesurvey in India. The figure quoted above refers to 55th Round (July 1999). The WPR refers to ‘Usual Status’ (i.e., Principal Status and Subsidiary Status).