In India, a major chunk of labor force is employed in the unorganized sector. The unorganized / informal employment consists of causal and contributing family workers; self employed persons in un-organized sector and private households; and other employed in organized and unorganized enterprises that are not eligible either for paid,
sick or annual leave or for any social security benefits given by the employer.
According to the results of the National Sample Survey conducted in 1999-2000, total work force as on 1.1.2000 was of the order of 406 million. About 7 % of the total work force is employed in the formal or organized sector (all public sector establishments and all non-agricultural establishments in private sector
with 10 or more workers) while remaining 93% work in the informal or unorganized sector. The NSS 55th round, 1999-2000 also covered non-agricultural enterprises in the informal sector in India. As per that survey, there were 44.35 million enterprises and 79.71 million workers employed thereof in the non-agricultural informal sector of the economy. Among these 25.01 million enterprises employing 39.74 million workers were in rural areas whereas 19.34 million enterprises with 39.97 million workers in the urban area. Among the workers engaged in the informal sector, 70.21 million are full time and 9.5 million part times. Percentage of female workers to the total workers is 20.2 percent.
The table below describes major employment trends for the organized and unorganized sector for the years 1983, 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-2000. It is evident that throughout this period a large portion of the workforce in India is found to be employed in the unorganized sector. Out of 397million workers in 1999-2000, it is estimated that 369 million workers (nearly 93 per cent) are employed in the unorganized segment of the economy whereas only 28 million workers (7 per cent) are engaged in the organized sector. The share of unorganized employment in the economy has displayed remarkable steadiness over the years. The share of informal employment has risen from 92 per cent (nearly 276 million out of 300 million) in 1983 to 93 per cent in the 1999-2000. It is clear that employment opportunity in the organized sector has remained more or less stagnant, showing only a marginal increase from 24 million in 1983 to 28 million in 1999-2000.
The largest numbers of informal workers are in agriculture. In fact, 98.84 percent of the employment in agriculture is informal. In the non-agricultural sector, the highest numbers of informal employees are in retail trade, construction, land transport, textiles etc.
Thus, the unorganized sector plays a vital role in terms of providing employment opportunity to a large segment of the working force in the country and contributes to the national product significantly.
The contribution of the unorganized sector to the net domestic product and its share in the total NDP at current prices has been over 60%. In the matter of savings the share of household sector in the total gross domestic saving mainly unorganized sector is about three fourth. Thus unorganized sector has a crucial role in our economy in terms of employment and its contribution to the National Domestic Product, savings and capital formation.