Rural Employment Strategies for India

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The unprecedented commitment of the present Government of India to seriously address the need for employment generation is a propitious opportunity to implement strategies for generating full employment in the country. This report, which builds upon work done by the International Commission on Peace & Food in the early 1990s, confirms the potential to generate sufficient employment opportunities for all new entrants to the workforce as well as to absorb the current numbers of unemployed and underemployed. It includes strategies and policy recommendations designed to maximize the effectiveness of the Government's recently proposed initiatives for employment generation and rural prosperity. Implementation of these recommendations will be sufficient to generate 100 million additional employment and self-employment opportunities. While many formal studies have been prepared to assess the growth and employment potential in India' formal private sector, less attention has been given to the conditions and strategies to promote rapid expansion and job creation in the rural and informal sectors. This report focuses on strategies to increase employment opportunities in India's informal sector, with emphasis on agriculture, agro-industry, rural services and related vocations. The report consists of three parts: an overview of employment in India, a business plan containing specific recommendations for implement¬ation, and a detailed discussion of employment opportunities and strategies in agriculture. The major findings and recommendations can be summarized as follows: 1. The Indian economy is already generating approximately seven million employment and self-employment opportunities per annum, almost all of them in the informal sector, but in there is a serious lack of accurate information on the types and numbers of these jobs. The most effective strategy for employment generation will be to provide the missing links and policy measures needed to accelerate this...
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