Labour Bureau 
Government of India


The important findings of the survey conducted at 78 centres during 1999-2000 are given below:


1.     The survey covered workers engaged in seven organised sectors of employment viz. Registered Factories, Mines, Plantations, Ports & Docks, Public Motor Transport undertakings, Electricity Generating and Distributing Establishments and Railways.

2.    A total number of 41040 working class families were covered during 1999-2000 survey as against 34776 in 1981-82.

3.   Number of centres in series on base 2001=100 has been increased to 78 as against 70 plus 6 additional centres which were not a part of All India CPI Numbers in 1982=100 series with 69 centres common to both the series.

4.    Out of the total 78 centres, 8 centres were allotted to Mining sector, 9 centres to Plantations sector and 61 centres to the remaining five sectors combined.


5.     The estimated total number of employees for all the industries and all the centres taken together was about 66 lakh out of which 84.82 per cent were males, 14.99 per cent were females and 0.19 per cent children. In case of Darjeeling and Mercara centres, however, the proportion of female employees was 52.64 and 50.59 per cent respectively, the reason being both the centres are Plantation centres wherein employment of females is preferred over males.

6.    The average monthly income from paid employment was  Rs. 4268.57, which worked out to Rs. 981.28 at constant prices of 1981-82. Haldia reported a very high average monthly income from paid employment at Rs. 10273.89 which was reportedly high due to higher wages being paid to establishments belonging to Petroleum industry and related transport industries. The lowest average monthly income from paid employment was Rs. 999.03 in Labac-Silchar centre, a Plantation centre, where the wages have always been low as compared to upper Assam.

7.    Of all the employees, 78.60 per cent employees were employed on a regular basis, 16.87 per cent on casual basis and the remaining 4.53 per cent on contractual basis.


8.    The estimated total number of working class families as defined for the purpose of the survey was 48.77 lakh as against 37.63 lakh in 1981-82 and 12.85 in 1958-59 survey.

9.    A large proportion of families i.e. 80.21 per cent of the estimated total working class families belonged to the Registered Factories.  The proportion of families in the Plantations, Mines, Railways, Public Motor Transport Undertakings, Electricity Generating and Distributing Establishments and Ports & Docks in the descending order was 4.89 per cent, 4.40 per cent, 4.14 per cent, 3.80 per cent, 1.76 per cent and 0.79 per cent, respectively.

10.   Amongst the 78 selected centres, Mumbai centre alone accounted for about 30 per cent of the total estimated working class families.  The combined share of estimated number of families at six metropolitan centres viz. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi was about 53 per cent. The extent of mobility of labour from other places to these prominent centres may be gauged from the fact that the number of estimated working class families has almost doubled in these centres from 14 lakh in 1981-82 survey to about 26 lakh in 1999-2000 survey. 

11.   The average size of a working class family worked out to be 4.46 of which 1.14 were earners, 0.32 earning dependants and 3.00 non-earning dependants consisting of 1.71 men, 1.49 women and 1.26 children. The average family size in 1981-82 was 4.50 comprising of 1.22 earners, 0.18 earning dependants and 3.10 non-earning dependants.

12.   The maximum number of earners i.e 1.30 were reported in respect of Plantations sector with Coonoor centre having 2.00 earners standing out amongst all the centres/sectors, the minimum being 1.02 in respect of Mining centres.

13.   The modal family size was four and five members.

14.  Of all the families, 87.86 per cent families had single earners, 10.37 per cent two earners, 1.52 per cent three earners and 0.25 per cent had four earners.

15.  The estimated total number of family members as revealed by 1999-2000 survey was 2.18 crore, out of which 18.46 lakh (8.49 per cent) family members were of age below five years.

16.  Of the total family members, 45.48 per cent were married, 4.91 per cent were widowed/divorced/separated and the remaining 49.61 per cent were unmarried.

17.   The ratio between unmarried male and female was 4:3.

18.  The dependency ratio was 462/1000 in 1999-2000 survey as against 675/1000 in 1981-82 survey.

19.  Of the family members (5 years of age and above), 15.50 per cent were illiterates as against 33.64 per cent in 1981-82 survey. Only 3.55 per cent had acquired the education level of graduation and above. The illiteracy rates, in context of six prominent centres varied between 7.15 per cent in Chennai centre and 14.35 per cent in Kolkata.

20.  About 35 per cent family members were gainfully employed and about 60 per cent were not in labour force. Unemployed family members but seeking employment constituted 3.02 per cent.


21.  The average monthly income per family and the per capita income were Rs. 6466.00 and Rs. 1447.69 as against Rs. 810.39 and Rs. 182.87, respectively in 1981-82. The average monthly income per family and the per capita income at constant prices of 1982, however, worked out to be Rs. 1486.44 and 332.80 in 1999-2000. Labac-Silchar centre was having the lowest average monthly income per family and per capita income of Rs. 2039.14 and Rs. 462.93, respectively, whereas the highest per family and per capita was reported in respect of Haldia centre at Rs. 11842.65 and Rs. 2915.30, respectively. 

22.  As much as 90.09 per cent of the total average monthly income came from paid employment.


23.  The average monthly expenditure per family was Rs. 4950.76 as against Rs. 778.41 in 1981-82. The average expenditure per family at constant prices of 1982, however, worked out to be Rs. 1138.11. Out of total expenditure, Rs. 4469.91 was on consumption expenditure and Rs. 480.85 was on non-consumption expenditure.

24.  The maximum average monthly per family expenditure of        Rs. 8940.10 was reported in respect of Haldia centre whereas the minimum average monthly per family expenditure was      Rs. 1805.13 in Labac-Silchar centre.

25.  Within consumption expenditure, the share of Food items was 47.48 per cent as against 56.95 per cent in 1981-82 survey.  The percentage expenditure on Food to average monthly expenditure varied between 38.09 per cent in Electricity Generating and Distributing Establishments sector to 61.17 per cent in Plantations centres. Maximum expenditure on Food items i.e. Rs. 3033.58 was reported in respect of Monghyr-Jamalpur centre and the minimum was Rs. 927.12 in Ludhiana centre.

26.   As much as 78.13 per cent of the families had spent less than 45 per cent of their total expenditure on Food.

27.   More than 90 per cent of families reported expenditure on Personal care, Non-alcoholic beverages, Prepared Meals & Refreshments and Transport and Communication sub-groups. The percentage of families reporting expenditure on Pan, Supari was 28.89 per cent, Alcoholic Beverages and Intoxicants 18.63 per cent, Medical Care 81.35 per cent and Education & Reading 67.37 per cent. 


28.  The average monthly quantity of Cereals and Cereal Products consumed per family worked out to be 46.90 kg as against 54.18 kg. in 1981-82 survey. The per capita consumption of Cereals and Cereal Products was 10.52 Kg. With average size of family in term of adult consumption unit being 4.15, the consumption of Cereals and Cereal Products per adult per day worked out to be as 0.38 Kg. The average monthly quantity of Milk consumed per family was 20.07 litres as against 12.06 litres in 1981-82 survey.


29.   About 84 per cent of families recorded an average surplus income as compared to about 64 per cent in 1981-82. The average amount of surplus budget over per family expenditure was 1515.24, which worked out to be Rs. 384.33 at constant prices of 1982, as against Rs. 31.98 in 1981-82 survey.


30.  The average amount of outstanding debt per family of all the families at All-India level worked out to be Rs. 8780.96 against original loan of Rs. 13508.86. However, it rose to Rs. 22920.08 in the case of per indebted family against the original loan of Rs. 35259.82.

31.  The incidence of indebtedness worked out to be 38.11 per cent during 1999-2000 as compared to 50.17 per cent in 1981-82 survey. About half of the families were reported to be under debt in Public Motor Transport Undertakings, Ports & Docks and Railways sectors. However, the lowest proportion i.e. about 14 per cent of families under debt was reported in respect of Plantations sector. The incidence of indebtedness was as high as 89.93 per cent in Tiruchirapally centre and as low as 3.34 per cent in Tripura centre.  No family under debt had been reported from Srinagar centre. About 39 per cent of the families raised loans to ward off current deficit including consumption. The proportion of families raising loans on account of festivals and marriage was about 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. 

32.  More than half of the total families under debt i.e. 52.91 per cent had raised loans from the Co-operative Credit Societies followed by the Employers who provided loans to about 27 per cent of families.


33.  Of all the families 23.31 per cent were  provided dwellings by the employers, 73.77 per cent had made their own arrangements for accommodation and the remaining 2.92 per cent were residing in the dwellings provided by friends and relatives etc.

34.  About 29 per cent of the families were residing in Chawl-bustees; about 24 per cent were using flats as their residence and about 41 per cent had independent houses as their residential accommodation. At all-India level, there has been a marginal increase in proportion of families living in Chawl-bustees in 1999-2000 survey over 1981-82 survey i.e. from 25.34 per cent to 28.65 per cent.

35.  The proportion of families enjoying basic amenities like kitchen, bathroom, latrine and electricity was 56.80 per cent, 55.05 per cent, 86.98 per cent and 92.75 per cent, respectively.

36.  The proportion of families having access to drinking water within the dwellings was 46.48 per cent. The remaining 53.52 per cent of the families had to depend upon the sources located outside the dwellings.

37.  Majority of families i.e. 61.88 per cent were paying average monthly rent of less than Rs. 200.  The proportion of families paying rent above Rs. 2000 per month was small i.e. 2.64 per cent.