Thursday, 6 September 2012

Tripura Rubber: Helping Rural Employment

Rubber Plantation
                 “One Young man was with brand new motorbike who otherwise was a poor rural youth until few years ago but he has completely changed his lifestyle and living standard”.

          Rubber in Tripura, is actually making a new road map to the rural economy. With the establishment and popularity of rubber plantations, it has also created many other related avenues to come into being and play an important role in improving the rural economy.

          Actually, rubber in Tripura has made a new leash of life to the un-employed rural youths. Rural youths who otherwise were involved in agriculture, small agriculture business and other wages employment are now engaged with rubber and rubber resource of the state.

          Rubber, therefore, has rightly taken a good shape in the rural foothold influencing the rural livelihood and also improving the living standard of the rural people. Anybody ever visited to rubber growing belts can actually feel the pulse.

          All these are happening due to the positive impact of Rubber plantation. As rubber has been in the spree of ever increasing mode, penetrating in every accessible, it has actually helped rural unemployed youth for employment generation as rubber taper and other related jobs depending on the same resource.

          As per published data on the website of Tripura industries on 05.09.2012, total rubber plantation area in Tripura is 37558.000 hectares which by now would have definitely increased to a considerable area.

          Let us assume that out of total plantation area of 37558.000* hectares, if thirty percentage of plantation owners are engaged themselves in tapping & other jobs then the rest 26290.600 hectares would definitely be requiring 26,290 numbers of rural youths as tapers.

          26,290 of tapers! This is amazing; the number is huge considering the rapid increase of plantation areas. That means rubber; rubber alone in Tripura is employing 26,290 numbers of unemployed rural youths to the productive job as plantation workers and other subsidiary jobs.

          As such the rubber is helping in one way directly profiting to the plantation owners and, in other way; it is also helping to generate huge employment opportunity to the rural people. This win-win situation of plantation owners and sound influence on rural employment to the rural youths actually created a vibrant condition which caters different other rural need in particular region.

          All these, favorable economic scenario in rural areas have actually created certain other need based demands in the locality and people in the locality thereby benefited a lot. It has improved the rural economy and the living standard of the rural people too.    

         To analyze the pattern of daily and monthly wages of tapers in the state level especially for this post, sample data have been collected from different districts and summarized below:-

                 Average daily and monthly wages of tapers*
           District    Daily wages(in rupees)    Monthly wages(in rupees)
            West            190.00                    5700.00
            Sepahijala    175.00                    5250.00
            Gomati         190.00                    5700.00
            South           190.00                    5730.00
            Unakoti        210.00                    6300.00
            North          165.00                    4950.00

            From the above data’s, it is indicative that the range of daily and monthly wages of the taper is within rupees 165.00 to 210.00 and 4950.00 to 5730.00 respectively. There’s more or less uniformity as far as daily and monthly wages of taper are concerned in all Tripura basis.

            Of course, there’s some exception in place like Unakoti in terms of daily and monthly wages of tapers. This place indicates little more enhanced wages compare to other places. On the other hand, in north minimum daily and monthly wage is observed.

            The reason behind this differential or incremental amount in terms of wages employment was due to the price factors and local influence. Sometimes, geographical location of plantation, market proximity and production level of rubber plantation also favors the plantation owners to provide enhanced rate of wages to the plantation workers.

            Nevertheless, with this referred little exception or variation, wages on daily and monthly basis of tapers or plantation workers is quite uniform in state level.

            Now the point is; is this wage rate really sufficient to the taper? This is for the fact that there’s rise of essential commodities and other forms of recurring expenditure associated with the livelihood of tapers even in rural areas too. Although monthly wages of tapers may be well above the prescribed amount to be considered as below poverty line as per government guidelines but in terms of present market condition it is not that sufficient amount for the tapers.

            Here of course, the plus points of such plantation workers are: they don’t need to engage themselves whole day in plantation work. That means, it is more or less like part time job. Their duty usually starts from early morning at 5.00 am to 5.30 am and it ends with 10.30 to 11.00 am so, there’s ample time to engage themselves in other productive jobs or part time job for earning extra money in the given day.

            In terms of total cash generation towards wages employment in rubber plantation sector is ought to be rupees 10, 51, 60,000.00 annually. This is of course a representative figure arrived by calculating the total tapers or plantation workers multiplied by the monthly wages and average tapping months in a given year. The details given below:
 Total tapers(1taper for one ha) Av.monthly wages Av. tapping month per year Total annual  involvement
    26290                                    5000.00                    8 months                        10,51,60,000.00

            This is really a modest amount that has been generated annually though the employment in the plantation sector.

            I’m sure what has been generated at least, if not full will go back to the society particularly in rural area which in turn will improve the rural scenario socio-economically.

            Although some enigma and fear is associated with rubber, nevertheless, rubber in Tripura is quietly changing the very rural landscape that has definitely helped rural youths and state at large.

            The point is; beginning has been made and success has been achieved but it is to be long lasting, sustaining and inclusive of all.

                    *Note: Rate of daily and monthly wages were randomly collected from different districts, information on total rubber plantation area was collected from the website of Tripura Industries.
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Volatile rubber price