When factory owner Amit Nagpal closed shop and joined a call centre on a fixed salary, he joined a growing trend in urban India where self-employment has become an untenable career option.
More and more Indians opted for a secured and salaried job, revealed an analysis of the country’s self-employment figures between 2004-05 and 2011-12. But, at the same time, the rate of employment fell by two percentage points in urban areas.
“It is not easy for a starter to survive with my own business because there is tough competition in bigger cities. There are costs such as regular payment to local authorities which one may not take into account while starting a business,” 34-year-old Nagpal said, explaining why he closed his factory in Badli industrial area and joined Gurgaon-based call centre.“Moreover, I did not have deep pockets to give competition to well-entrenched businesses in my field.”
The highest dip in the number of self-employed people was witnessed in cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Indore, Nagpur and Agra, a new government survey shows. However, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Faridabad, Kanpur and Kolkata were exceptions.
The numbers underscore the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s focus on creating newer and more employment opportunities as the BJP won 84% of its seats in urban areas in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections riding high on the promise to create 100 million jobs. The figures also frustrate the government’s efforts to soar up the economy through its Make in India initiative.
The survey shows an overall fall of around 2% in urban areas but a comparison gives the micro-picture: around 37.9% people in big cities were self-employed in contrast to 44.9% in small towns. The highest dip was noticed in Bhopal, where the percentage fell from 53.3% to 30.9% from 2004 to 2012, says data from the National Sample Survey Office, while Nagpur witnessed a fall of 18 percentage points. Agra, Vadodara and Nashik saw falls in self-employment of about 10 percentage points and above.