Agriculture workforce on a decline in Meghalaya

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma on Friday expressed serious concern over the decline in the agricultural work force in the State.

“The decline of workers in the agricultural sector as indicated in the primary census data of 2011 is a cause of concern in the State,” Dr Sangma said, while addressing the gathering after releasing the primary census data on Friday.

The Chief Minister, however, expressed happiness that the Government has taken steps to make the agricultural sector attractive.

“The Government is moving in the right direction. We are bringing many new initiatives in the agriculture sector to attract the youth of the State to join this sector,” he said.

The Chief Minister also hoped that the efforts of the Government would be able to drag more workforce to the agriculture sector in the near future.

As per the primary census data of 2011, the number of agricultural labourers has dwindled from 17.7 per cent in 2001 to 16.7 per cent in 2011.

In absolute terms, the number of agricultural labourers in 2011 was 1,98,364 (rural: 1,92,23, urban: 6,141) which works to 16.7 per cent.

At the same time, the number of cultivators has declined from 48.1 per cent in 2001 to 41.7 per cent in 2011. The state recorded a total number of 4,94,675 cultivators in 2011 (rural: 4,86,320, urban: 8,355).

Interestingly, nearly 80 per cent of the State’s total population is located in the rural areas.

While dwelling on the issue of migration to urban centres, the Chief Minister said the government would try to stop this trend with appropriate development programmes for the rural sector.

As per the data, rural population has increased from 78.9 to 79.9 per cent at the state level while urban population has declined by 1 per cent in the 2011 census as compared to the 2001 census.

On Meghalaya’s high decadal growth, Dr Sangma said that certain factors like high life expectancy rate and the fertility are related to this population increase, but a detailed analysis of the data would throw further light on the issue.

Meghalaya ranks fourth among the states/union territories as far as the high decadal growth is concerned.

The government, he said would look into the issue of the increase in life expectancy rate and said schemes for the welfare of the aged in terms of health care facilities would be undertaken.

Meghalaya’s total population according to the 2011 census was 29,66,889 with 14,91,832 males and 14,75,057 females. The sex ratio of the State stands at 989 while the literacy rate is 74.4 per cent.