: Labor Force
Occupationally, 75 percent of the civilian labour
force, which is currently estimated at 56 million,
is directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture.
Only 12 percent is engaged in industry. Unemployment
is estimated at around 18.5 percent. In terms of age
structure, it is more youthful than in the western
countries. Heavy pressure of population on scarce
land has no doubt created an extremely unfavourable
Coupled with this is the problem of unequal distribution
and heavy fragmentation of land in the rural areas.
This is expected to improve with more vigorous efforts
at poverty alleviation and raising of educational
and social consciousness. Sluggishness of the agricultural
sector has resulted in its increasing dependence on
the whims of nature and the per capita daily availability
of food grains coming down to low level of 432 gram.
Nearly 45% of the people live below the poverty line.
As the country steps to the 21st century, it aims
at accelerated economic growth, human resource development
and self-reliance. Central to all the efforts to reach
those targets will be poverty alleviation, rural development,
involving women in all national activities and creating
a well-educated healthy nation to be able to face
up to the challenges of a fast moving technologically
advanced global society.