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, Orissa and Punjab.

Occupational Structure

(A)MEANING Occupational structure refers to the distribution of the working population across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy.
(B)FOLLOWING ARE THE FEATURES OF INDIA’S OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE:
(1) 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.
(2) 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 Orissa, Rajasthan and Punjab.
(A)EXPLANATION
  • The Indian economy was an agro-based economy on the eve of independence.
  • 75% of the Indian population was earning a livelihood from agriculture.
  • Despite being the primary source of income for a major population this sector faced decline under British rule.
(B)STATE OF AGRICULTURE ON THE EVE OF INDEPENDENCE CAN BE OBSERVED BY FOLLOWING CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS:
(1) SMALL AND FRAGMENTED LAND HOLDINGS
  • The landholding is defined as the area of land which a person or a family owns.
  • Land holdings in India were not only small but scattered as well.
  • Small and scattered land holdings were very difficult to cultivate.
(2) USE OF OUTDATED AND OLD TECHNOLOGY
  • At the time of independence, old and outdated methods of farming were used in the agriculture sector.
  • There was insufficient use of fertilizers, and other machines, etc.
(3) HIGH DEGREE OF VULNERABILITY/ DEPENDENCE ON RAINFALL
  • Agriculture was excessively dependent upon rainfall.
  • Good rainfall implied good output, while poor rainfall implied poor output.
(4) LOW LEVEL OF PRODUCTIVITY AND PRODUCTION
  • Level of productivity i.e. output per hectare of land was extremely low.
  • Low productivity implied low level of output, despite large area was under cultivation but due to fragmentation low output could be produced.
(5) SUBSISTENCE FARMING
  • Subsistence farming is one where primary objective of the farmer is to produce for his own family.
  • Sole aim is to produce for self-consumption or for his family rather than selling it to others to earn money.
(6) A WEDGE BETWEEN OWNERS OF THE SOIL AND TILLERS OF THE SOIL
  • Owners were seldom tillers of the soil they never shared the cost of output, Instead, they shared the output.
  • They were only interested in maximizing their rental income.
  • The tillers of the soil (Farmers) were given very less for subsistence.
  • The consequence was backwardness and stagnation of agriculture.
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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