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Data: Number of Workers Engaged in Unincorporated Non-Agricultural Establishments More or Less Stagnant Since 2010-11

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The NSSO initiated the Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE). This survey collects information on the economic and operational aspects of non-agricultural unincorporated businesses in manufacturing, trade, and services (excluding construction). Data indicates that in 2010-11, approximately 10.8 crore workers were engaged in these enterprises across India, which increased ever so slightly to approximately 10.96 crore in 2022-23.

Since its inception, the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has been conducting large-scale nationwide surveys to gather data on various socio-economic aspects of India. Recognizing the significant impact of unincorporated enterprises on the economy, the NSSO initiated the Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE). This survey collects information on the economic and operational aspects of non-agricultural unincorporated businesses in manufacturing, trade, and services (excluding construction). 

In this story, we look at some of the key highlights of the recently released Factsheet on ASUSE 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Timeline of the survey and history

The NSSO conducted its first full-fledged Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE) from April 2021 to March 2022, after a delay due to the pandemic. Originally planned for April 2020 to March 2021, the survey was postponed ensuring accuracy and safety. Following this, the ASUSE 2022-23 survey took place from October 2022 to September 2023.

Previously, the NSSO carried out an all-India survey on unincorporated non-agricultural enterprises in manufacturing, trade, non-captive electricity generation & transmission and other service sector (excluding construction) during its 73rd round from July 2015 to June 2016. This survey included unorganized manufacturing units and enterprises involved in cotton ginning, cleaning, and baling not covered by the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), as well as units engaged in trading, non-captive electricity generation and transmission, and other service activities. This was built on the work from the NSS 67th round (July 2010 to June 2011), which was the first to comprehensively cover the entire unincorporated non-agricultural sector (excluding construction) in an integrated manner as a follow-up to the Economic Census.

India’s unincorporated establishments increase to 6.5 Crore by 2022-23 from 5.7 Crore in 2010-11.

During the 67th Round in 2010-11, the total number of unincorporated non-agricultural enterprises excluding construction were estimated to be at 5.77 Crore. By the 73rd Round in 2015-16, the number of such enterprises had grown to 6.34 crore. However, in 2021-22, the number of enterprises registered a slight decline, falling to 5.97 Crore and thereafter in 2022-23, the number of enterprises is estimated at 6.5 Crore. Regionally, around 55% of the enterprises are located in rural areas, while the rest 45% are in urban areas. This ratio has more or less remained the same across all the four surveys. 

Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable shift in the composition of broad activity categories among unincorporated non-agricultural enterprises in India. The share of enterprises engaged in Manufacturing decreased from 29.8% in the 67th Round (2010-11) to 27.4% in 2022-23, while those in Trading declined from 36% to 34.7%. In contrast, the proportion of establishments in the Services sector saw a notable increase, rising from 34.2% to 37.9% during the same period.

Stagnant Growth: Workforce in India’s Unincorporated Non-Agricultural Sector Shows Little Improvement Over the Last Decade

In 2010-11, approximately 10.8 crore workers were engaged in unincorporated non-agricultural enterprises across India, excluding construction. By 2015-16, this number had risen to about 11.12 crore. However, in 2021-22, the workforce in this sector decreased to around 9.78 crore, before rebounding to approximately 10.96 crore in 2022-23. On average, 48% of these workers were based in rural areas, with the remaining located in urban regions.

Although the 2021-22 and 2022-23 surveys did not break down the number of workers by broad category, data from the 67th and 73rd Rounds reveal a clear pattern: rural workers predominantly occupy the Manufacturing sector, while urban workers lead the way in the Trade and Other Services sectors. 

Gross Value Added (GVA) per enterprise grew by 120% during the last decade

During 2010-11, the annual Gross Value Added per establishment (GVAPE) in India’s unincorporated non-agricultural sector averaged approximately 1.09 lakh rupees. In rural India, GVAPE was around 0.64 lakh rupees, while for urban areas it was 1.61 Lakhs. By 2015-16, the GVAPE rose to approximately 1.82 lakh rupees. In rural areas, it was about 1.06 lakh rupees, and in urban areas, it was about 2.61 lakh rupees. 

Moving forward to 2021-22, GVAPE increased to approximately 2.25 lakh rupees, with rural areas at about 1.45 lakh rupees and urban areas at about 3.26 lakh rupees. By 2022-23, GVAPE is estimated to be at 2.38 lakh rupees, with rural areas at approximately 1.53 lakh rupees and urban areas at approximately 3.41 lakh rupees.

Between 2010-11 to 2022-23, the Gross Value Added per establishment (GVAPE) in rural areas increased by 139%, reaching approximately Rs. 1.53 lakh, while urban areas saw a growth of 112%, reaching around Rs. 3.41 lakh. In the Manufacturing sector, GVAPE rose from Rs. 0.90 lakh in 2010-11 to Rs. 2.02 lakh in 2022-23, Trade increased from Rs. 1.17 lakh to Rs. 2.45 lakh, and Other Services grew from Rs. 1.16 lakh to Rs. 2.58 lakh over the same period. Calculating the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), Manufacturing led at 7.65%, followed closely by Other Services at 7.48%, and Trading at 6.92%. 

Gross Value Added per worker highest in ‘Other Services’ category in 2022-23

In 2010-11, the annual Gross Value Added per Worker (GVAPW) in India’s unincorporated non-agricultural sector was estimated at Rs. 0.58 lakh. By 2015-16, this figure had increased by 78%, reaching Rs. 1.04 lakh. In 2021-22, the GVAPW further rose by 33% to Rs. 1.38 lakh and is estimated to have risen by a mere 2.6% to Rs. 1.42 lakh in 2022-23. 

In 2011-12, the annual GVAPW for rural India was Rs. 0.37 lakh, while in urban areas it was significantly higher at Rs. 0.79 lakh. By 2015-16, these figures had increased to Rs. 0.69 lakh in rural areas and Rs. 1.32 lakh in urban areas. In 2021-22, the GVAPW for rural areas increased to Rs. 1.01 lakh in 2021-22 and Rs. 1.04 lakh in 2022-23. Meanwhile, the GVAPW for urban areas grew to Rs. 1.73 lakh in 2021-22, rising further to Rs. 1.76 lakh in 2022-23. The difference in GVAPW between urban and rural areas rose from Rs. 0.42 Lakh to Rs. 0.71 Lakh between 2010-11 and 2022-23, highlighting the skill divide.

In terms of sectors, the GVAPW in ‘Other Services’ rose by 172% from Rs. 0.59 Lakh to Rs. 1.6 Lakh, followed by the Manufacturing sector, rising by 144% from Rs.0.45 Lakh to Rs. 1.18 Lakh between 2010-11 and 2022-23. The Trade category rose by 99% from Rs. 0.71 Lakh to Rs. 1.42 Lakh during the same period.

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