Occupational Structure

What is Occupational Structure?

The occupational structure of a nation refers to the percentage of its workforce employed in various economic ventures. To put it in other words, articulating how many of the total working population are employed in agriculture and associated activities and how many of them are involved in manufacturing and service sector can be identified from the occupational structure of the nation.

Occupational Structure in Colonial India

During the colonial period, the occupational structure of India, i.e., the allocation of working people across various industries and sectors, explicated small hint of change. The agricultural sector valued for the highest share of the workforce, which normally prevailed at a high of 70 – 75 % while the manufacturing and the services sectors estimated for only 10 and 15-20 % sequentially. Another outstanding perspective was the growing geographical variation. Parts of the then Madras Presidency (including areas of the present-day states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka), Bombay and Bengal observed a drop in the dependence of the workforce on the agricultural sector with a corresponding increase in the production and the services sectors. However, there was an increase in the share of the workforce in agriculture during the same time in states such as Rajasthan, Odhisa and Punjab.

Also read: Indian Industries during British rule

Features of Occupational Structure

Occupational Structure

Following are the features of India’s Occupational Structure:

Pre-dominance of Agriculture Sector 

  • Agriculture was the principal source of occupation.
  • 75% population was engaged in agriculture, resulting in backwardness of Indian economy at the time of Independence.
  • The manufacturing and services sectors accounted for only 10 and 15-20 percent respectively.
  • The growth of all the three sectors was unbalanced.

Growing Regional Variations

  • States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal witnessed a shift of dependence of the workforce from the agricultural sector to manufacturing and the services sectors.
  • However, there had been an increase in the share of the workforce in agriculture during the same time in states such as Odhisa, Rajasthan and Punjab.

Recommended links: Class 11 Economics Important Question

Multiple Choice Questions:

Q.1-Which of the following is not a characteristic of the Indian economy on the eve of Independence?
a. Small and fragmented land holdings
b. Use of outdated and old technology
c. Commercial farming
d. low level of productivity
Q.2- During British rule, Farmers were forced to grow which commercial crop
a. Wheat.
b. Rice.
c. Cotton.
d. Indigo.
Q.3-Who estimated India’s per capita income during colonial rule?
a. Dadabhai Naoroji.
b. William Digby.
c. R.C Desai.
d. All of the above
Q.4 Nearly ___________percent of the Indian population was earning a livelihood from agriculture on the eve of independence.
a. 85
b. 95
c. 75
d. 55
Q.5 ______________farming is one where primary objective of the farmer is to produce for his own family.
a. Consistent
b. Step
c. Subsistence
d. None of the above
Answer Key
1-c, 2-d, 3-d, 4-c, 5-c


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