Gujarati - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities . Despite rapid industrial development, agriculture occupies a prominent place in the economy of the state. It contributes an average of 35 to 40 percent of the state's domestic products. Sixty-two percent of the workers engaged in agriculture are either cultivators or laborers. Although agriculture is not fully mechanized, use of tractors has increased considerably in recent years. The major food crops are bajri, jowar , rice, and wheat. Cotton, groundnut, tobacco, and sugarcane are major commercial crops: they occupy about 40 percent of the total cultivated area of the state. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, chickens, horses, camels, monkeys, donkeys, and pigs are the main Domestic animals. Bullocks are used for agriculture, cows and buffalo for milk. A cooperative dairy industry has developed. Industrial Arts. Artisans in rural areas are engaged in Pottery, silver- and brass-ornament making, embroidery, handloom construction and furniture making. Despite government support, these crafts are rapidly disappearing. Gujarat is one of the most highly industrialized states in India. The major industries are textiles, plastics, chemicals, and engineering. In terms of income generated from manufacturing, Gujarat ranks second in the country.

Trade. Trade is a primary occupation of Gujaratis. The Hindu and Jain Banias are the trading castes. In this century the Patidars have emerged as entrepreneurs. In addition, the Parsis and Muslim Bohras are also traders. Gujarat has been well connected by trade routes within the continent and also with other countries. Historically, the Gujaratis possessed a remarkable spirit of enterprise that led them in search of wealth to Java and Cambodia during the sixth and seventh centuries A . D . and to Siam, China, Sri Lanka, and Japan at about the end of the seventh century A . D . Some Gujaratis emigrated to Africa in the last century, and from there they have moved to Europe and the United States.

Division of Labor. Except among the tribals, work is clearly divided between men and women. Gujaratis continue to believe that "a woman's place is in the home": a woman's main tasks are cooking, washing, other household work, and child rearing. However, among the poor, women also participate in economic activities, engaging in cultivation and agricultural labor.

Land Tenure. With the introduction of various land reforms in the 1950s, land was given to the tillers. Intermediary tenures were legally abolished. Nevertheless, concealed tenancy continues. Land distribution is uneven. According to the 1976-1977 agriculture census, the average size of holdings for the state was 3.71 hectares. Nearly 46 percent of the cultivators have less than 2 hectares of land, which holdings constitute only 13 percent of the total area holdings; but only 6 percent of cultivators hold 10 hectares or more of land, which altogether constitutes nearly 25 percent of the total holdings. The Patidars and the Brahmans are rich peasants. The Kolis, the Scheduled Castes (or "SC," viewed as "Untouchables"), the tribals, and the Muslims are poor peasants and agricultural laborers.


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