Number of Indian Districts, 1991-2011

You would think that it is easy to recreate a panel of Indian districts. Sigh, no. There are various complications that arise due to creation of new districts, boundary changes etc. For a neat summary, see Kumar and Somanathan’s 2009 paper in Economic and Political Weekly. (A ungated version of the working paper can be found here. The details are gory, but the tables in the working paper do an excellent job of summarizing the changes.)

I will post the list of districts once I have compiled them all. In the meanwhile, I can share a table that provides the count of districts in each state/union territory in India since 1991, acc. to the census.

Note: if you look at Wikipedia, you will find some discrepancies. For instance, Uttar Pradesh is said to have 75 districts, instead of 70 as recorded by the Census. I am sticking with the latter, but the odd thing is that Wikipedia actually has a link to the UP government website that actually lists all 75 districts. Funny, but true!

Click here to open spreadsheet in separate tab. (To download this data, click on this link and then go to “file” and “save as”)

Trends in registration of non-profit institutions in India

Last year the Central Statistics Office came out with an interesting report on non-profit institutions in India and tried to estimate, perhaps for the first time, the value of output produced by this third sector (which is considered, typically, to be outside the state and market). The report was called ‘Non Profit Institutions in India: A Profile and Satellite Accounts in the framework of System of National Accounts (including State-wise Comparison of Profiles)’ and has a lot of data. One that immediately jumps out is the recent boom in registration of these societies. There was a marked increase in the 1990s but the trend has continued even into the 21st century. The following graph illustrates the trends in registration of societies:

Before the 1970s, the claimed purpose of most societies was ‘religion’ (35 percent) but this has declined substantially over the past few decades and today, majority of the societies are registered with a ‘social service’ purpose. There’s also interesting data on the distribution of governing board members and the report notes, “In both rural and urban areas, the number of male governing body members is significantly higher than their female counterpart. The average size of governing body per society is the same i.e. 10 persons, for both rural and urban areas. The overall male-female ratio of governing body members is 3:1. The male-female ratio is almost same in rural and urban areas.” Note: the employment and financial results are based on a survey which could potentially be biased (as only a small subset of the sample was visited and I couldn’t discern if this was a random sample or not).

Download data in spreadsheet:
Download report:
(Please click on ‘file’> ‘download’ to save a copy of the file on your computer)

India’s top trading partners in the last decade

Data from the Department of Commerce for the last 14 years tells us that the direction of Indian trade is changing. For the longest time (1997-2007) USA was India’s top trading partner (trade as measured by the sum of the value of exports and imports put together). But, between 2008 and 2010, UAE was India’s leading trade partner and last year it was displaced by China.*

Click here to view spreadsheet in separate tab. (To download the data click on the link and go to “File”> “Download as”)

Well, one could perhaps argue that this shift was temporary and the underlying cause was the 2008 recession in the US and now that it the American economy is recovering it may soon be back as India’s leading trade partner. Possibly yes. But, there is evidence to suggest that the shift in the direction is not superficial. A presentation by the Export-Import Bank of India suggests that Indian exports are “moving towards the Southern countries, particularly Asia and Africa region”. It would be interesting to look at the direction of imports and classify them in a similar manner to see what is happening to the overall direction of trade. The data is available here and if someone does that and is willing to share the findings let me know!

*This is a minor point but note that we have a negative trade balance with China (this means imports from China are more than the exports to China), whereas, typically, India has maintained a positive trade balance with it’s top trading partner over the period 1997-2011 (except for a minor negative balance with USA in 2007).

What is the sectoral composition of employment in India?

If you were to consider a simple dual sector classification of industry groups in India, so that workers can either be working in either (a) agriculture and allied activities, or the (b) non-agriculture sector then you can observe a clear contrast in the composition of labour force. While some people may not be surprised to find that the agriculture sector is predominantly concentrated in rural India, it is interesting to note the the agricultural sector employs women labourers more intensively. On the other hand, the non-agricultural sector is mostly urban and comprises of relatively more males.

The following table (taken from the NSS report on informal sector) details the distribution of workers:

Click here to view spreadsheet in separate tab. (To download the data click on the link and go to “File”> “Download as”)

If you are wondering what goes into making of the agricultural sector, then the short and less boring answer is that it comprises of activities such as growing crops, farming of animals, forestry, fishing and service activities related to these. Non-agriculture sector is everything that is not considered in the above definition. The technical answer is that NIC groups 011 [growing of crops; market gardening; horticulture] and 013 [growing of crops combined with farming of animals (mixed farming)] form the agricultural sector (also known as AGGC); NIC groups 012 [farming of animals], 014 [agricultural and animal husbandry service activities, except veterinary activities], 015 [hunting, trapping and game propagation including related service activities], division 02 [forestry, logging and related service activities] and division 05 [fishing] form what is called the AGEGC sector ([ag]ricultural sector [e]xcluding only [g]rowing of [c]rops, market gardening, horticulture and growing of crops combined with farming of animals); and NIC division 10-99 form the non-agriculture sector. Note: I have clubbed AGGC and AGEGC when making the dual sector comparison. Also, note that the NIC classification referred above is the old one [link to NIC 2004]. I do so to maintain consistency with the NSS report [Link to report 539]. If you want to use a NIC classification please refer to the latest one here [Link to NIC 2008].