6 Civics

Urban Livelihood

Learning Goals:

  • Occupations in Cities
  • Permanent Job
  • Casual Workers
  • Daily Wage Earners
  • Social Security Net

A city is a much bigger place than a village. The population of a village can only be in thousands, while the population of a city is in hundred thousand. Population of some big cities can be in millions; like population of Delhi or Mumbai.

City: A city is defined as a place where the main occupation of people is not agriculture. A city usually depends on villages for farm produce. There can be an endless list of occupations in a city. Very few people in the city know each other but each worker works in a way that it makes the life of others somewhat easier.

While it is difficult to explain each and every occupation in a city, some generalizations can be made. Some of the occupations in a city are as follows:


Government Servants:

People who work for the government are called government servants. Some of them work for the Central Government, while some others work for the State Government. There are many levels in the government service. Officers make the top tier of government servants. The officers are assisted by a huge number of clerks. Peons, drivers, cooks, gardeners, etc. make the bottom level of government service.

Benefits of Government Job: The job in the government service is permanent. This means that the worker is assured of retaining his/her job till the time of retirement. The workers get salary on a regular basis. They also get various other benefits; apart from the salary.

  • Holidays: The government servants get holidays on national holidays and on important festivals. Sundays are the weekly off in most of the offices. Some offices have the provision of five working days, i.e. Saturdays and Sundays are off.
  • Leaves: A government servant can take leave in case of some urgent personal work. He can also take sick leave in case of falling sick. For specified number of leaves in a given year, the salary is not deducted.
  • Medical Benefits: A government servant is entitled to medical benefits for him and his family members. Cost of treatment is paid by the government up to some specified amount.
  • Retirement Benefits: A part of the salary is saved by the government every month. This money is utilized to provide retirement benefits to employees. When a government servant retires, he gets a big amount of money as one-time payment. Additionally, he also gets monthly pension after retirement. The pension is usually enough to maintain a comfortable life during old age.

Jobs in Private Companies:

Many people work for privates companies. Some of the private companies are quite big. Jobs in private companies have more or less similar benefits as in government jobs.

Permanent Workers Vs Casual Workers: People who work as permanent workers (either for the government or for private companies) usually get good salary and secure job. But casual workers do not get such facilities.

Casual Workers:

A large number of workforce works as casual worker in numerous private companies and in factories. Their job is not permanent. Most of them get paid according to the amount of work done by them. To understand this, let us take an example of a worker who works in a garment factory.

The worker in the garment factory works on a sewing machine. His job is to stitch cloths. He works 12 hours every day. As per convention, and eight-hour work day is normal in most of the countries. So, a longer workday must be tiring for the worker. The worker in the garment factory gets job when there is demand for work. During lean seasons, the worker may be jobless. Thus, the worker is not able to earn money during lean season.

Working conditions in most of such factories is horrible. There is space crunch, low lighting and poor ventilation in such factories. The wages are very low.

If the worker complains of working conditions, he may be asked to leave the job. Moreover, the worker does not get social security benefits; like pension, medical benefits or leave.



Daily Wage Earners

The number of daily wage earners is even higher. Most of the people who do not have any skill have to work as daily wage earners. In many cities, you will find a labour chowk. This is the area where labourers converge early in the morning. They go there in the hope of finding some work. They are willing to do any kind of work. They may help a mason at construction site. They may load and unload a truck. They may opt for some cleaning job or some digging job. Most of the daily wage earners fail to find work on most of the days in a given year. Almost all the daily wage earners are migrants, i.e. they have come from far flung areas in search of job. The high house rent and cost of living takes away most of their earnings. They are able to save only a meager amount. All the saving is sent back to their home to support their families.

Shopkeepers

You will a variety of shops in cities; selling different kinds of items. Some shops are big, while some others are small. Most of the shops are owned by individuals. Now-a-days, some big companies have also opened a chain of shops throughout the country. In case of a small shop, the owner and his family members do most of the tasks. In case of big shops, you will find many employees.



Vendors

People who do not have a permanent shop are called vendors. They either use a pushcart or spread their wares on the pavement. But a vendor’s life can be very difficult. Vendors often have to wind up their shops when police asks them to do so.

Vendors also create a nuisance by blocking footpaths and roads. This results in problems for pedestrians and vehicles. So, many people protest at vendors occupying the roadsides.

Everyone has the right to livelihood and so do the vendors. The government is working on this issue. The government is trying to mark some areas especially for vendors. Care is also being taken to prevent conflicts between vendors and general public.

Service Providers

There are many service providers in the city. A service provider does not sell any goods. The service providers offer different types of services to their customers. Hair cutting, courier service, tuition classes, chartered accountancy, healthcare, etc. are examples of services.