India’s first Pan India time use survey was released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on Tuesday. What is a time use survey, and what is the purpose behind conducting such a study?
What are time use surveys?
A time use survey measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socialising. The primary objective of a time use survey (TUS) is to measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.
TUS is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid caregiving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities of the household members.
It also provides information on time spent on learning, socialising, leisure activities, self-care activities. The findings of these surveys are deemed to be helpful in drafting policies on poverty, gender equity and human development.
Has India conducted a TUS earlier?
Over the last three decades, a number of developed countries have been conducting time use surveys with increasing frequency. The United States has been doing one annually since 2003. Australia conducted its first full-scale national survey in 1992, Canada has been doing it since 1961. Germany, Austria, and Israel have also conducted these surveys.
The “NSS Report- Time Use in India 2019” whose findings were revealed on Tuesday, is the first such pan India survey conducted. It is a sample survey conducted between January and December 2019 in which 1.39 lakh households across the country and 4.47 lakh persons over the age of 6 were enumerated.
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What are the major findings in the report?
The 2,140-page report provides data on the participation rate of Indians in different activities in a day and the average time they spend in those activities. It, however, does not provide the reasons for why people participate in certain activities, and why they spend as much time as they do in conducting that activity.
The data, however, point to the fact that while the large chunk of paid work is done by men, unpaid work is largely done by women.
The participation rate of men in paid employment — which includes jobs, farming, fishing, mining amongst other economic activities — is high at 57.3 per cent, compared to women whose participation rate is only 18.4 per cent. Indian men also spend more time at paid work, spending on average 7 hours 39 minutes compared to the 5 hours 33 minutes spent by women.
However, when it comes to unpaid work like domestic services for household members which includes cooking food, cleaning, or unpaid caregiving like looking after a dependent child or an adult, the participation of women is very high.
81.2 per cent women participate in unpaid domestic services spending an average 4 hours 59 minutes each day. The participation rate of men in domestic services is low at 26.1 per cent, and the amount of time they spend conducting this service is far lesser than women, who spend around 1 hour 37 minutes while conducting this activity.
How do Indians like to socialise and entertain themselves?
A very high percentage of Indians socialise and spend their time in leisure each day. However, Indians are not inclined towards participating in unpaid volunteer work, the report suggests.
Contrary to popular perception, men tend to participate more in socialising and communication, community participation, and religious practice than women. The report says that 91.4 per cent of men participated in social activities, spending two hours and 27 minutes each day. The participation rate for women is just a little less at 91.3 per cent, and they also spend less time compared to men, at two hours and 19 minutes.
Indians do not like to participate in unpaid volunteer work. The report shows that only 2.7 per cent of Indian men participate as unpaid volunteers or trainees, or participate in other unpaid work.They spend 1 hour 42 minutes conducting that activity per day. The participation of women in volunteer work is lesser at 2 per cent, spending 1 hour 39 minutes.
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