‘Centre should focus on empowering rural India’s working class’

Kolkata, July 3 (IANS) The central government should capitalise on the growing working class in rural India, as reflected in the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 for Rural India, with proper skill development and training, according to a population studies expert.

The survey, conducted for the first time since 1931, gave a glimpse into the lifestyles in rural India in terms of how many households own phone, refrigerator, automobile or land, what percentage of such population pays direct taxes, the kind of jobs they pursue and their literacy rates.

The findings showed that while 51.14 percent (or 9.16 crore) of 17.91 crore rural households earn income through manual casual labour, 14. 01 percent were employed in government service, private service, PSU employment etc.

“The Centre should stress on the increasing proportion of working households. It should have schemes that target their growth and impart skill to them since they make up a considerable part of India’s workforce,” Partha De, associate scientist at Indian Statistical Institute’s population studies unit, told IANS.

“Enabling them with education and skills to use technology properly (such as mobile phones) will be advantageous,” said De.

Further, De said the figures also pointed to the developing purchasing power in rural India.

“This means that India’s indigenous products will become important to satisfy rural India’s purchasing power. If India boosts its own industries and products, it have more takers, especially in competition with products offered by foreign companies,” De said.

He said a survey of households instead of individuals is more important because a household as a whole has different requirements and economic capabilities than individuals.

Only 8.29 percent of the rural households reported a member who was drawing more than Rs.10,000 per month, while for 17.18 percent others the monthly earning was between Rs.5,000-Rs.10,000.

And 180,657 people still do manual scavenging despite this being illegal.

Based on 14 parameters for families — which include criteria such as owning a vehicle, possessing a Kisan Credit Card, having a serving government member, drawing an income of Rs.10,000 per month, or owning a refrigerator — only 7.05 crore families (39.39 percent) stand to be excluded.


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