POPULATION – Census Data : Tables 1.1 to 1.9

The primary source of data presented in this chapter, is the 2001 Census released by the Registrar General of India. The Census data provides an in-depth inventory of human resources of the country showing their number, characteristics, occupational structure and their sectoral classification according to various economic activities. A worker, according to the 2001 Census, is a person whose main activity was participation in any economically productive activity. Such participation could be physical or mental in nature. Work involved is not only actual work but also effective supervision and direction of work. It also included unpaid work on farm or in family enterprise. Following are some of the important ‘Concepts’ used by the office of the Registrar General of India which would help understand the Tables presented in this issue. 

Workers were mainly classified as main and marginal workers on the basis of their work. Those workers who had worked for the major part of the year were termed as main workers. Major part of the year meant six months (183 days) or more. Those who had not worked for the major part of the year ( i.e. those who had worked for less than 6 months or less than 183 days in a year) were termed as marginal workers. 

A person was considered working as cultivator if he or she was engaged either as employer, single worker or family worker in the cultivation of land owned or held from Government or from private person or institution for payment in money, or in kind or on the basis of sharing of crops. Cultivation also included supervision or direction of cultivation.  

A person who had given out his/her land to another person or persons for cultivation for money, kind or share of crop and who did not even supervise or direct the cultivation of land, was not treated as cultivator. Similarly, a person working on another person’s land for wages, either in cash or in kind or a combination of both, (agricultural labourer) was not treated as cultivator. 

A person who worked on another  person’s land for wages in money, kind or share of crop was regarded as an ‘agricultural labourer’.  

Household Industry was defined as an industry conducted by the head of the household himself or herself and/or by the members of the household at home or within the village in rural areas and only within the precincts of the house where the householder lives in urban areas. The larger proportion of workers in household industry consists of members of the household including the head. This industry is not run on the scale of registered factory. Household industry relates to production, processing, servicing, repairing or making and selling (but not merely selling) of goods. 

All workers i.e., those who had been engaged in some economic activity during the year preceding numeration and who were not cultivators or agricultural labourers or household industry workers were termed as “other workers” (OW). The type of workers that came under this category included factory workers, plantation workers, those in trade, commerce, business, transport, mining, construction, political or social work, all government servants, municipal employees, teachers, priests, entertainment artists, etc. In fact, all persons who work in any field of economic activity, other than cultivation, agriculture labour or household industry, were covered in this category. 

To facilitate comparison, percentages of female workers to total female population under broad industrial categories during 1981 to 2001 censuses have also been presented in this Chapter. 

Data furnished in these Tables, except Table 1.6, is based on the population census data released by the Registrar General of India.  Data for Table 1.6 has been gleaned from the Year Book of Labour Statistics, 2003, ILO Geneva.