Of the 19.6 lakh workers engaged in trading, service and the manufacturing sector in the capital, only 11.4% are women and nearly half of them work as “informal hired workers”, a Delhi government report has found. The Delhi government’s report on unincorporated non-agricultural enterprises (excluding constructions) in the capital, based on the 73rd National Sample Survey, found: “Of about 19.6 lakh workers in Delhi, around 88.6% are male.” Only 2.23 lakh women were found to be working in the three sectors.
In 2011-12, less than 20% of the workers in non-agricultural sectors were women, according to data from the Ministry of Statistics. Among the states, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh had reported the lowest women’s participation. States such as Manipur, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had the highest percentage share of women in wage employment in non-agricultural sector.
India is one of the few countries where the rate of participation of women in the workforce has been declining in the past decade — from 33.7% in 1991 to 27% in 2012, as per UN gender statistics.
In Delhi, women are most likely to find work as informal hired workers. With 1,00,472 women working in the role, they account for 45% the total female work force. While only 13,594 were found to be formally hired workers, 84,720 were working owners, 13,532 were helpers or apprentices. The rest were classified as ‘other workers’ by the survey. The report defines an informal hired workers as “not having continuity of job”, “not eligible for paid annual leave”, “not eligible for social security benefits like provident fund or insurance provided by employers”.
A Delhi labour department official said, “The declining participation of women in the workforce in an urban centre like Delhi is very worrying. Also, very worrying is the fact that half of the women are working informally. This makes them especially vulnerable.” The report said most workers were found to be in the trading sector. It said, “Highest proportion (48.8%) of total workers were engaged in trading sector in Delhi, followed by service sector (29.7%) and manufacturing sector (21.5%). The respective figures at all-India level were 34.81%, 32.79% and 32.39%.”
The survey was designed to estimate the value of key characteristics of different enterprises such as number of workers, fixed assets etc, to better shape policy decisions. The survey excludes construction activities, floating populations, foreign nationals, those in prisons, orphanages, etc. The survey was conducted between July 2015 and June 2016 and the report was published in December 2017.