The occupational structure, refers to the distribution of population working in different
sectors. It showed no variation throughout the British rule. :
The following are the salient features of India’s pre-independence occupational structure
(i) Predominance of Agriculture Under the colonial rule, India was basically an agrarian economy, with nearly 85% of its workforce engaged directly or indirectly in agriculture. Due
to massive poverty and widespread illiteracy during the colonial rule, a large proportion of the population was engaged in farming and related activities to earn their subsistence.
(ii) Lack of Opportunities in Industry Only a small proportion of population was employed in
manufacturing sector. Nearly 10 % of the total workforce was engaged in manufacturing and industrial sector.
(iii) Unequal Distribution Among Sectors The three sectors of Indian economy, i.e., agricultural, industrial and service sector were unequal in terms of occupational structure.
While the agricultural sector employed majority of the workforce, the other two sectors were not contributing much to employment with 10 % of the workforce in industries and 15-20 % in service sector.
(iv) Regional Imbalance There was regional variation in the occupational structure of India. On
the one land, the Madras Presidency (comprising of present day states qf Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka), Bombay and Bengal experienced a fall in the agricultural workforce and increase in occupational share of manufacturing and services. On the other hand, states like Orissa, Rajasthan and Punjab experienced a rise in the agricultural workforce.