In this sector we are dealing with workers who have not acquired a high profile, tasted the benefits that can be gained from organisation, or derived the advantages flowing from high visibility. In the unorganised sector, we have to deal with workers who are engaged in a variety of occupations or employments, ranging from those like forest workers, tribals trying to follow traditional vocations within their traditional habitats, and fishermen who venture out to sea in vulnerable canoes, to those who are working in their homes with software, or assembling parts for a highly sophisticated product. Many of them are victims of invisibility.
The laws or welfare systems that ...view middle of the document...
These tend to set an upper limit of employment at 9 persons and also identify other criteria for identifying informal sector activities.
In India, the terms ‘unorganised sector’ and ‘informal sector’ are used interchangeably in research literature.
The term ‘unorganised sector’ is used commonly in all official records and analyses. It is defined as the residual of the organised sector. The term ‘organised’ is generally used when we refer to enterprises or employees in which 10 or more employees work together.
The various methods employed in estimating data on employment in the organised sector by the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), Employment Market Information (EMI) programme, etc., as well as those used in assessing overall employment like the decennial Population Census and quinquennial surveys of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) have their own limitations. Problems of underestimation and insufficient coverage in the unorganised sector lead to further problems in deriving the residual estimate of the unorganised sector.
Therefore, definitions based on the residual approach, that consider the organised sector as employing 10 or more workers and the unorganised sector as the residual, no longer seem to be dependable. Many new types of enterprises and employments that have emerged in recent years have to be taken into account.
As we have said earlier, the unorganised sector is very diverse. Many efforts have been made to identify the characteristics of employments or undertakings in the sector. But none of the characteristics can be termed as crucial in defining the sector. However, it will be useful to list some of these characteristics:
• Low scale of organisation
• Operation of labour relations on a casual basis, or...