According to the latest figures (Indian Planning Commission) agriculture continues to employ 70% of our rural workforce, industry (14.4%), and services (14.8%) make up for the rest.
The real potential for employment generation, however, rests with the micro and small enterprises (MSEs) sector which comprises weavers, artisans, people engaged in food processing, hawkers, vendors, and carpenters.
The dispersed, unorganized and often household – based micro and small enterprises are capital-saving, labour-intensive, and environment-friendly tools of inclusion. In India, they are the largest source of employment after agriculture and are found in both rural as well as urban areas.
Inadequate working capital, lack of information to access markets and foreign business opportunities, lack of trained personnel, and obsolete technology are the major barriers to the growth of MSEs across the world and in India.
The weavers of Surajpur and Salma’s Toy factory are examples of two initiatives that have managed to overcome some of these challenges: