As in other developing counties, unemployment is a serious problem of the Indian economy. The poverty of the masses in India is closely related to the problem of unemployment. Hence, expansion of employment opportunities has been an important objective of development planning in India. There has been a significant growth in employment during successive Five Year Plans. However, a relatively higher growth of population and labour force has led to an increase in the volume unemployment from one plan period to another.
Consistent with the approach for an employment centred development strategy public employment programmes are an integral part of planning and policy the important ones being the following Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005; Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana.
According to the final report of the National Commission for enterprises in the Unorganised sector released in April 2009, workers in the unorganized sector constitute more than 93 percent of the total workforce of India. Unorganized sector workers are those who do not have any job security, income security or social security and are therefore extremely vulnerable to exogenous shocks.
Agricultural workers constitute by far the largest segment in the unorganized sector. They are extremely vulnerable to exploitation on account of low level of literacy, lack of awareness, persistent social backwardness and absence of unionization and other forms of viable organisation. Further, the high rates of migration because of the seasonality of operations and lack of stability of employment, subject them to all sorts of hazards and exploitation.
Similarly society being male dominated female labour receives very poor recognition or value in India. Although the Constitution of India provides equal rights and opportunities to both the genders and there are specific provisions for protection and welfare of working women in many of the labour laws yet most of these status do not cover the units in small and informal sectors which are the predominant workplaces of women.