Rajasthan is the largest Indian State with a geographical area of 342,239 square kilometers. It accounts for 10.4% of the land area of the country and 5.5% of the population. But its share of 2.7% (2005-06) to national GDP clearly shows the impoverished nature of the state and its people.
The burden of providing livelihoods has been disproportionately on the rural sector and especially agriculture and allied sector. Two third of the workforce is dependent on agriculture and contributes to only one third of the state GDP. Though the agriculture sector’s share of Net State Domestic Product has been declining (as in the rest of the country), but the dominant share of population dependant has not been declining at the same rate.
The state has an estimated labour force of 280 lakh which is growing at about 2.2% per annum. Thus, there are about 6 lakh additional persons seeking work per annum. However, the growth rate of employment, which is 1.1% pa, has not kept pace with the rate of increase in population. This has led to riding levels of unemployment. Further, there are about 200 lakh “working poor”, who are employed at a low wage rate or earn inadequately from self-employment.