Saturday, April 07, 2007
I was just going through a week-old news paper when a piece of news caught my attention. It reported the lates findings of a nationwide survey on Worker Population Ratio (WPR) among the country's class I cities (i.e., cities with population more than one million, 27 cities in total). What I understood is that WPR is the ratio of employed persons over total adult population. So it might be an strong indicator of unemployment. The survey has been done on gender basis, and here comes the comparisons.In the male WPR, Mumbai, the so-believed promise land for the unemplyed youth ranks 11th with 78.6% score. Whereas Delhi is far below with 71.4% at 17th rank. The topper of the list is Surat with 88%. Clearly understandable. Surat is purely industrial town. In fact most of the cities appearing in the top ten are justified from a common sense. Say, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Indore, Agra, Meerut ... all are densley industrialized compared to its population.In female WPR comparisons, places like Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Ahmedabad appear in the top ten (29% - 20%), whereas Delhi (11.2%) stays way below. Somehow all these places are known for IT or some other soft industry sectors. Interestingly Bangalore doesn't appear in top ten. As for Delhi, it was never a good place for women!As for Patna, very expectedly it ranks last in both male and female WPR.So the comparative study indeed a representative of industry penetration into the grass-root level of population. And the myths get clarified through surprise statistics. The per capita income may be high on metroes but WPR is much higher in cities brought up industies.Now there comes two real surprises! First one is Jaipur's rank of the scond topper in female WPR. In fact Jaipur has showed a steep increase in female employemnt (27%) in last five years! Which parameter can be attributed to this unexpected phenomenon? Penetration of education? Or insufficient contribution of male income to the family hosehold? Jaipur is not that industry powered. Then what? This is something to be looked in to. And moreover, Jaipur (38%) supasses nearest contender (Pune, 29.3%) by a whopping 9%. It is surely not a joke!The second surprise, which as a matter of fact seemed very obvious to me after a second thought, is the city that ranks second in male WPR and first in female WPR. Before revealing the city, lets solve a puzzle.Which is the biggest industry in India?Garments? Steel? Automobile? IT?Allmost all the cities appearing in the top lists of both the WPR is backed by one or more industry sector; still none of them have been able to perform consistently in male and female WPRs. In fact, other than the city in question, only Indore (4th in male, 5th in female) and Ahmedabad (7th in male, 8th in female) have been able to manage a top ten spot in both the male and female lists. So the power of this industry, which is backing up our city in question is undoubted.The city is Varanasi. The industry backing it is Religion, the biggest industry in India.Varanasi records a 86% male WPR and 41% female WPR and has no other industry except religion. Isn't it very obvious in India?There are more puzzles to solve. We talk of women liberation. 'Modern and cultured cities', like Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, etc., where this 'woman liberation' is a burning issue, a regular topic of discussion and processions lag way way behind in female WPR old, tradional cities like Jaipur and Varanasi. How to explain this?