Employment and Income Characteristics of the Rural Households in the Northeastern States

DOI10.1177/0019556120160306
Publication Date01 July 2016
Date01 July 2016
AuthorDanny L. Wankhar
SubjectArticle
EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME CHARACTERISTICS
OF THE RURAL HOUSEHOLDS IN THE NORTH-
EASTERN STATES
DANNY
L.
WANKHAR
The
results
of
the Socio-Economic & Caste Census (SECC)
2011 pointed out
tha.t
the rural households in the North-
Eastern Region (NER)
of
the country constituted more than
85
per
cent
of
the total households and
72
per
cent
of
them
derived their income from cultivation and from working as
casual manual labourers, while 59
per
cent were landless
(even though variation existed among states). Large plots
of
land remain un-irrigated (60 per cent), while only 23
per
cent
of
the land have assured irrigation
for
two crops with hardly
any mechanised farming being practiced, resulting
in
low
productivity and hence low income. Thus, there is no incentive
for
investments
in
land-related activity. Hence, three-fourth
of
the rural households are below the poverty line with monthly
income
of
the highest earning members is below
Rs.
5 000
per
month
(Rs.
166.67
per
day). Keeping
in
mind that only 2.52
per
cent
of
the rural population
in
the NER are graduates
or
have higher level
of
education or skills, the rural folks would
find it difficult
to
get employment
in
high
paid
jobs
in
urban
areas
of
the states I region.
Thus,
there is a need
to
review/
evaluate the various rural development programmes and,
if
need
be,
to
redefine their objectives
for
a more result-oriented
outcome with defined milestones and timelines. Targeting the
landless rural households-with the objective
to
improve their
economic conditions-should
be
at the top
of
the agenda
for
development policy.
INTRODUCTION
HUMAN ACTIVITY leading
to
generation
of
employment and the income
generation are important components
of
economic growth. An economy
is characterised as developed or developing or underdeveloped by the
420 I
INDIAN
JOURNAL
OF
PUBLIC
ADMINISTRATION
VOL.
LXII,
NO.
3,
JULY-SEPTEMBER 2016
extent
of
long-term employment generation, increasing productivity and
rising and sustainable income arising out
of
economic activities
of
the
people. Thus, in order to have a comprehensive plan for development,
we need robust information I data
on
various parameters. In this regard,
the Ministry
of
Rural Development, Government
of
India commenced
the Socio-Economic Caste Census-2011 (SECC 2011) on June 29,
2011
through a comprehensive door-to-door enumeration across the country. The
report was released in the first week
of
July 2015. It is said to be the first
paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices. Even though
it
is
called the socio-economic caste census, the Government
of
India, till
date, has only released data on the socio-economic status
of
households.
It allows ranking
of
households based on predefined parameters. SECC
2011
has three census components which were conducted by three separate
authorities but under the overall co-ordination
of
Department
of
Rural
Development, Government
of
India. Census in Rural Area was conducted
by the Department
of
Rural Development (DoRD). Census in Urban areas
was under the administrative jurisdiction
of
the Ministry
of
Housing and
Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA). Caste Census was carried out under
the administrative control
of
Ministry
of
Home Affairs (Registrar General
oflndia
and Census Commissioner oflndia).
Importance
of
the Socio-Economic Caste Census
Amid the debate relating to errors I incomplete information in the
census, there is no denying the fact that the data provides comprehensive
information
of
households and will enable both the Central and state
governments to make evidence-based selection, prioritisation and targeting
of
beneficiaries in public welfare programmes. The Rural Development
Ministry
of
the Central Government has taken a decision to use the SECC
data in all its programmes. Hopefully, other government departments and
agencies including the multilateral funding agencies will use the data for
designing their programmes.
Objectives
of
the Study
Since this is the first census on the socio and economic status
of
the
rural households in the country, it would be
of
interest to analyse it in the
context
of
rural households in the North-Eastern States with respect to
income and employment. The eight North-Eastern states comprising
of
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland,
Sikkim and Tripura is considered the most economically underdeveloped
region
of
the country. Even though, information on various parameters are
also available from the National Sample Survey (NSS) conducted by the
National Sample Survey Office
of
the
Ministry
of
Statistics and Programme
Implementation, however, a census covering the entire population would

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