Who moved my poverty report? (Please save your copy fast)

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published Published on Oct 4, 2012   modified Modified on Oct 4, 2012
Remember Arjun Sengupta Committee Report? It’s the same report which put paid to government’s shifting poverty estimates by asserting that almost 80% Indian survive on less than Rs 20 per day. Known as the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS), the report has gone missing from the public domain. The official website of NCEUS is no more working: http://nceus.gov.in, raising doubts regarding someone, somewhere trying to hide the embarrassing govt. figures on poverty, landlessness, unemployment and agrarian crises. The report is also missing from hundreds of other government sites and resource centres.

(However, if you need one, please save your copy from the links below)

The NCEUS, chaired by Late economist Dr. Arjun Sengupta, was constituted by the Government of India on 20.9.2004 to examine the problems faced by the unorganized/ informal sector. Among other things, the NCEUS reviewed the status of unorganized/ informal sector in India including the nature of enterprises, their size, spread and scope, and magnitude of employment. It examined why the rate of growth in employment stagnated in the 1990s. It also guided the Government with National Policy on Street Vendors, Unorganized Sector Workers Social Security Bill, 2005 and Unorganized Sector Workers (Conditions of Work and Livelihood Promotion) Bill, 2005. The NCEUS recommended a specific scheme for health in incidences of illness and hospitalization for workers and their families. The NCEUS recommended for social security to agricultural wage workers and marginal and small farmers in the unorganized sector.

Some of the most authentic facts on India's informal sector, agrarian economy and rural distress, which civil society activists, trade unionists and social scientists use alike from these NCEUS reports are being provided here:

•    77 percent of the population with a per capita daily consumption of up to Rs. 20 (in 2004-05) have been termed "Poor and Vulnerable" by NCEUS.

•    92 per cent of the country's workforce is employed in the informal or unorganised economy (i.e. those who work in the unorganised sector plus the informal workers in the organised sector)*

•    Poor asset base and landlessness are the prime reasons why workers in rural areas work as agricultural labourers. The share of landlessness among the agricultural labourers was 19.7 per cent in 2004-05*

•    Average monthly expenditure of a farmer is Rs 2770, which is over 25 per cent higher than the average earning of Rs 2115 from all sources, including wage labour. That is why a large section of small and marginal farmers are eternally debt-ridden*

•    Average monthly income of an Indian farmer ranges from Rs. 1380 for land size less than 0.01 hectares to Rs.9667 for land size 10 hectares and above*

•    Wage levels of agricultural labourers have been very low and their growth rates decelerated through the decade 1993/94-2004/05*

•    The average monthly income of a marginal farmer household is one-twentieth of the income of the large farmer household*

•    The income levels of farmers who belong to the group holding land size below 2 hectares are not able to meet the consumption needs of the household*

•    The growth rate of wages of almost all categories of workers including casual work, which concerns the bottom layer of workers has declined during 1993-94 to 2004-05 characterized by economic reform compared to the previous decade of 1983 to 1993-94 #

•    The rate of growth of employment during the decade of 1993-1994 and 2004-05 declined significantly to 1.85 percent from the previous ten years of 2.03 percent for 1983 to 1993-94. There has been a similar decline in the growth rate of wages and average earnings of the workers between 1993-94 and 2004-05 compared to the previous decade #


* Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector (2007)

# The Challenge of Employment in India: An Informal Economy Perspective, Volume-I, Main Report, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), April, 2009

The Inclusive Media for Change team has made an effort in bringing before the readers some of the NCEUS reports that have gone missing from the public domain. These reports have been uploaded on our website’s national report section: http://www.im4change.org/state-report/india/36. Please check them by clicking the urls below:

Report on Conditionsof Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganized Sector, August, 2007



The Challenge ofEmployment in India An informal economy perspective (Vol 1) Main Report, April2009



Contribution of theUnorganized sector to GDP Report of the SubCommittee of a NCEUS Task Force,Working Paper no. 2, June 2008



Definitional andStatistical Issues Relating to Workers in Informal Employment by Sheila Bhalla,Working Paper no. 3, January 2009



Measures of LabourForce Participation and Utilization by J Krishnamurty and G Raveendran, WorkingPaper no. 1, January, 2008






National Commissionfor Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), http://www.indg.in/social-sector/unorganised-labour/nation


Women in InformalEmployment: Globalizing and Organizing, http://wiego.org/informal-economy/national-commission-ente


Report of theCommittee on Unorganised Sector Statistics, National Statistical Commission,Government of India, February 2012



Dignity for theElderly: Join the Campaign



Eleventh Five YearPlan (2007–2012), Social Sector, Volume II, Planning Commission, http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/11th

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