Employment generation and economic activities grew at their fastest pace in nearly two decades with over 13 crore people employed and 1.92 crore new establishments set up in the country in eight years to 2014.
Final results of the Sixth Economic Census revealed that 5.85 crore establishments were operating in the country in 2014, marking an annual growth rate of 5.2 per cent from the previous Census that was carried out in 2005.
The Census data is used by the government for policy and planning as well as the private sector for chalking out marketing and expansion activities.
Economists said the data can be used as an additional validation for the socio-economic caste census (SECC). Since the SECC data will be used for poverty estimation, there has been a problem of overstating deprivation and understating assets. So the Economic Census data can be used to validate at least a part of the SECC numbers at the district level.
The Census that was conducted between January 2013 and April 2014.
Over an intervening period of about 8 years between Fifth Economic Census and Sixth Economic Census, the growth in the number of establishments was 41.79 per cent.
Similarly, employment levels also rose sharply with 13.1 crore workers employed, registering a growth of 4.76 per cent annually from the Fifth Census.
In contrast, employment generation grew at a mere 2.78 per cent in between 1998 and 2005 and just 1.75 per cent per annum during 1990 to 1998.
The growth rate in employment since 2005 was 38.13 per cent and manufacturing was the largest employer followed by retail trade.
However, average employment per establishment dropped marginally to 2.24 in the Sixth Census as against 2.3 in the previous exercise.
Data reveals that female employment and entrepreneurship remained at subdued levels.
While just 25.07 per cent of the workforce was female, just 13.76 per cent of the establishments were owned by women.
Amongst States, Maharashtra (11.05 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (10.75 per cent), West Bengal (9.07 per cent), Tamil Nadu (8.91 per cent) and Gujarat (7.32 per cent) accounted for almost half of the total employment in the country.
But, Manipur had the highest growth rate in employment at 93.57 per cent.
Not surprisingly, these States also accounted for nearly half the establishments in the country. Uttar Pradesh (11.43 per cent), Maharashtra (10.49 per cent), West Bengal (10.10 per cent), Tamil Nadu (8.6 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (7.25 per cent) together accounted for about 50 per cent of the total number of establishments in the country.
Economists also raised concerns that the growth rate in non agricultural enterprises was much lower than agriculture establishments.
During the period between the two Economic Censuses, non-agricultural establishments grew at the rate of 28.97 per cent, while agricultural establishments grew at the rate of 115.98 per cent.
There has to be more diversity in rural areas and establishments to ensure higher rural income.