Recent population statistics reveal that close to 50 per cent of the Indian population depends on agriculture even now. An analysis of the employment situation in India shows that the working-age population of India is growing in size, the labour force is shifting away from agriculture and, with higher education, workers are also seeking better-quality non-agricultural jobs. However, the trends indicate that employment generation in the country has been inadequate to meet this challenge.
The 2001 Census showed us that India’s rural population had grown by more than 113 million since 1991 and the urban by over 68 million. Rural India had thus added 45 million people more than urban areas. However, the 2011 Census threw up a different scenario. The Urban India’s increase was greater than that of rural India’s by nearly half a million, a huge change—a role reversal of 45 million. The 2011 Census shows that a large majority of the growth in population in urban India has been due to migration (though there have been some arguments that it could also be because of inclusion of new areas under ‘urban’). The Census indicates that the migration has been majorly for livelihood augmentation due to work/employment. The major cities, overloaded with a bulk of unskilled rural youth, offer menial wage labour opportunities, with pitiable conditions of living.
Another significant change that is taking place in sustainable livelihood is livelihood financing There is a limitation of the formal banking system to reach the poorer sections of the society specially women. However, to support the livelihood of people, financial services are a must. Women SHGs have played an important role in this effort of inclusive growth with diverse entrepreneurial livelihoods and have a larger role to play in future too.
India has nearly 700 million rural people directly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors (agriculture, forests, and fisheries) and natural resources for their subsistence and livelihood. Climate change is likely to impact all natural ecosystems as well as socioeconomic systems. The major impact of this will be on the Sustainable livelihoods of the poor and marginalized.
Looking at above situation, there is an urgent need for sharper focus on promoting sustainable livelihood for the farming community, unskilled youth and women to improve the quality of life in the long term. Also there is a need to focus on conservation of natural resources for sustainable livelihood.
The Strategy envisaged for operationalizing the sustainable livelihood will have four pillars.
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