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Employment, migration and livelihoods in the Hill Economy of Uttaranchal

Mamgain, Rajendra P. (2004): Employment, migration and livelihoods in the Hill Economy of Uttaranchal.

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Based on primary survey data, the study begins with a brief overview of the theoretical and empirical evidence on employment and livelihoods for rural households in Chapter I. A macro picture of the economy of Uttaranchal is presented in Chapters II and III based on the secondary data. The former analyses the composition and trends in the growth of state domestic product, land use, cropping pattern and industrial development and the latter (Chapter III) examines the growth in population, labour force and workforce in detail along with educational development in the state. It has been argued that despite the scarcity of productive assets like land in the mountain region in Uttaranchal women’s participation in the workforce is very high—a common feature which they do so to support the livelihoods of their households. Returns from such higher work participation, however, are abysmally low as reflected in low productivity levels. Chapter IV delineates the socio-economic characteristics of the sample households with a focus on access to livelihood assets. It is seen that most of the households are poor in terms of livelihood assets. The issue of the availability of employment, its characteristics and determinants are discussed in Chapter V. It shows how different features of households shape the quality of their workforce and determine ultimate performance in the labour market and how the rural households struggle to maintain and improve their employment and income. The issues of multiple employments and occupational mobility also form the core of the Chapter. It is also argued that unlike the classical as well as neo-classical framework of labour use and employee-employer relations, many households sell out their labour as well as use the hired labour. The themes, migration and remittances, are discussed in Chapter VI. It shows how out-migration is increasingly becoming an important channel for livelihood diversification among the rural households given the lack of remunerative employment opportunities within their villages and how it is augmenting households’ income. However, the propensity to migrate is determined by many factors, which are also analysed in the Chapter. Similarly, the Chapter analyses the determinants of propensity to remit. Chapter VII focuses on the issue of diversification in livelihoods, its determinants and the outcome of a livelihood strategy in terms of per capita income of household. The Chapter also discusses how switching over to more remunerative non-farm livelihoods leads to a reduction in the incidence of multiple employment. Chapter VIII argues that diversification of livelihoods based on traditional cereal-based agricultural into horticulture and vegetable production offers tremendous scope for enhancing employment and income of the households. Finally, the concluding Chapter apart from presenting summary of major conclusions delineates the policy implications for improving the livelihoods of rural households in Uttaranchal.

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