Misceallaneous Occupations


Public Administration


Learned Professions


Personal and Domestic Services


Miscellaneous Services




            The Amritsar District, like other districts in the Punjab State, is a predominantly rural district, about 70 per cent of its population residing in villages. The principal occupations of the people living in the countryside are agriculture and manual labour. As the land can hardly provide the ever increasing population with full-time employment, a good number of people from the rural areas are shifting either to join the Armed Forces or to find some unskilled jobs in factories, etc. in the urban areas. The urban population is mostly non-agriculturist and depends upon industries, commerce, transport, miscellaneous services, manufacture of sundry hardwares, employment in art silk mills, cotton mills and woolen mills as carders, spinners, weavers, etc.


            The total population of the district was 1534916 (827821 males and 707095 females) in 1961 as against 1367040 (742421 males and 624619 females) in 1951. According to the 1961 Census, 1070892 persons were living in the rural areas, and 464024 persons in the urban areas. The total number of  workers was 458000 (315502 rural and 142498 urban).  Of these, 210691 were cultivators and agricultural labourers, and the remaining 247309 other workers. Of the total working force of the district, 82,080 were engaged in ‘Other Services’, which included services, like the generation and supply of electricity and water, besides sanitary, medical and public-health, legal, business, recreational and personal services. They also included general labourers engaged in other miscellaneous occupations. After the partition (1947), the new national set-up in the country and the rapidly developing economy have opened up vast avenues of employment. Consequently, as the lure of the city life has spread to the countryside, there has been an appreciable increase in employment in these occupations.


            Persons in services and earning through miscellaneous sources form a very small proportion of the total population of the district. They include Government or semi Government servants and persons employed in education, law, medical, engineering, personal and domestic services, etc.



(a)   Public Administration


            Central, State and Local Government Services.__  There has been a rise in the number of Government employees during the recent years, especially after independence, as several new departments have been created in connection with the implementation of various development schemes. According to the  1961 Census, the number of Government employees in the district was 10889 (10832 males and 57 females). These comprised 8016 (8,002 males and 14 females). Central Government employees; 947 (933 males and 14 females) State Government employees; 1862 (1834 males and 28 females) village officials; and 64 (63 males and 1 female) miscellaneous workers.


            The security of service, pension and other similar amenities enjoyed by the Government employees attract people to the Government service. The Central, State and Local Government provide various amenities to  their employees in the form of dearness and house-rent allowances, provident fund benefit, free medical sercice, loans for the construction of houses and for the purchase of vehicles, advances for the purchase of wheat, etc. The Government gives rent-free accommodation to the police officials. The railway authorities provide quarters on nominal rent and issue free and privilege passes for travel to the employees and their families. They are provided with uniforms also. Class IV employees under the State and Central Government are also given free liveries. In tahsils, where there are Government quarters built in the compound of the tahsil office, no rent is charged from the Tahsildars and Naib- Tahsildars for thebuildings occupied by them for residential purposes. However, 10 per cent of the pay is charged as house-rent from the officials residing in Government buildings constructed outside the premises of the tahsil.  Patwaris are paid house rent at the rate of Rs 6 per month.


            Public Dmployees’ Organization.__  The following public employees’ organizations function in the district. These unions have been formed by the employees to safeguard their service interests and for recreational and cultural purposes  :


  1. E.S.I ( Employees States Insurance ) Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Cantonment Board Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Allahabad Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Central Bank of India Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Chartered Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. National  and Grindlays Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1.  Amritsar Central Co-operative Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Punjab Co-operative Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. The New Bank of India Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. The Bank of Baroda (Punjab) Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Amrit Bank Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Punjab Government Canal Workers’Union, Verka


  1. Punjab irrigation Mechanical Workers’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Fire Brigade Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Zila Parishad Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Punjab Board Teachers’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Punjab P.W.D. Inspectors’ Association, Amritsar


  1. Mental Hospital Employees’ Association, Amritsar


  1. Punjab Medical Employees’ Association, Amritsar


  1. Class IV Medical and Health Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Hospital Class IV Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Ayurvedic Employees’ Union, Amritsar


  1. Amritsar Clerks’ Association, Amritsar


  1. Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh, Amritsar


  1. Municipal Employees’ Union, Chheharta


  1. Chheharta Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh, Chheharta


  1. Municipal Employees’ Union, Jandiala Guru


  1. Municipal Lower-Grade Emloyees’ Union, Tarn Taran



(b)    Learned Profesions


Educational Services.__  The district has all through been in the forefront in the

 field of education. The Khalsa College, Amritsar, is one of the oldest institutions of its type and was started in 1899. On May 15, 1968, besides professional and technical institutions, there were 9 colleges (Arts and Science), 40 higher secondary schools, 105 high schools, 103 middle schools and 1,000 primary schools (including pre-primary schools) in the district.


            The number of teachers working in the primary, middle, high higher secondary and J.B.T. schools in the district, as on May 15, 1968, was 8304. The pay-scales of the teachers are now fairly good and attractive. In spite of this fact, there is a shortage of trained teachers, especially women teachers, who may be willing to be appointed in schools in the rural areas. The non-availability of residential accommodation for teachers in the villages causes a set-back to the teaching profession, because the teachers have to reside in the urban areas and have to travel daily to, and back from, the school. These daily journeys also greatly hamper the extra-curricular and social activities of the schools.


            Medical and Health Services.__  These services include persons employed in public-health and medical services in Government and semi-Government hospitals, nursing-homes, maternity and child-welfare clinics, and also in the Unani, Ayurvedic, allopathic and homoeopathic private institutions. There are also persons rendering maternity service. In the past, people in the rural areas could not have medical aid during illness. With the spread of literacy and the increased provision of health and other medical facilities all over the district, the people visit hospitals and avail themselves of the necessary medical facilties in larger numbers. Amritsar is known for the maximum specialized medical facilities available throughout the Punjab. Besides a full-fledged Medical College and the Punjab Government Dental college and Hospital, there are six notable hospitals at Amritsar, viz V. J. Hospital, Ram Lal Eye-Ear-Nose & Throat Hospital, the Prince of Wales Zanana Hospital, the Military Dental Unit (Amritsar Cantonment), the Mental Hospital, and R.B.Sir Gujjarmal Kesra Devi T.B. Sanatorium. Besides, there are also State Civil Hospitals at Amritsar, Ajnala and Tarn Taran.


            The associations formed by the members of the medical profession in the district are :  the Amritsar Bracnh of Indian Medical Association, the District Chemists’ and Druggists’ Association and the Amritsar District Ayurvedic and Unani Sabha.


            The number of persons engaged in the medical profession, according to the 1961 Census, was 3913. These persons included physicians, surgeons, dentists, homoeopaths, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, health visitors, nursing attendants, some allied workers, etc. There are also a large number of private medical practitioners in the district. They  generally have their small clinics and dispense their own prescriptions.


            On the venterinary side, there is a network of veterinary hospitals and dispensaries in the district to prevent and cure diseases of livestock and to improve their breeds.


            Legal Services.__  The legal profession is an important and paying one in the district. The profession includes barristers, advocates, pleaders and munshis. It has attracted an increasing number of persons during the recent years. According to the 1961 Census, the number of legal practitioners and advisers was 275. There are four bar associations in the district, one at the district headquarters and three at the tahsil headquaters at Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Patti. These associations are rendering useful service and are responsible for maintaining professional conduct and discipline among the members. 


            Engineering Services.__  The engineering services are quite well represented at the district headquarters as well as at the sub-divisional level. There are a good number of offices in the district, representing these services. The details of the persons employed in the engineering services of the Government departments are given in Chapter XIII Other Department. In addition to these persons, there are a number of persons who are engaged  in allied progessions as contractors, architects or consulting engineers. According to the 1961 Census, the number of architects, engineers and surveyors in the district was 407. This number also included overseers.


(c)     Personal and Domestic Services


Personal Services.__  These services include barbers, washermen laundry-men, tailors, water-carriers, weavers, cobblers, carpenters and the like, and provide employment to a considerable number of persons as detailed below:


Barbers.__  The total number of barbers,  including hairdressers, in the district  was 1414 in 1961 as against 1329 in 1951.


The old practice of family barber (nai) visiting the houses of his customers is still in vogue in some of the villages, but it is becoming altogether obsolete in the urban areas. In the rural areas, the barber is still required to be present on certain religious ceremonies, basides attending to  clients at their houses. The wife of the barber, called nain, does some sort of periodical hair-cleaning and hairdressing of the women folk of the families to which the barber is attached. The barber gets his remuneration in kind at the times of harvests.


            In the urban areas, the hairdressing saloons are becoming popular and the practice of visiting the houses of their customers by the barbers is fast disappearing. The customers, too, find it more convenient and cheap to visit the hairdressing saloons for a shave or a haircut. Some of the barber shops are provided with modern equipment for haircutting and hairdressing. The charges range from one rupee to one rupee and a quarter for a haircut and from 25 to 30 paise for a shave. The charges for hairdressing, however, vary according to the hair style.


            The barbers in the towns have formed their unions, which enjoin upon them to follow certain rules and regulations concerning their economic and social welfare. Tuesday is usually observed as a holiday by the barbers.


            Washermen.__  The total number of washermen, launderers, drycleaners and pressers in the district, according to the 1961 Census, was 2036.


            Washermen mostly live in towns or in their suburbs. Their work has been adversely affected by laundries which have become quite popular. Although the charges of the laundry-men are higher, yet their services are more prompt and efficient than those of the washermen. Usually, the laundries employ washermen for washing, and pressing is done at the shops. The average rates charged by washermen for washing are 20-25 paise per garment and those for pressing are 10 paise per garment.


            There are also a good number of dry-cleaning shops in the towns. Most of these have set up modern dry-cleaning plants. Their charges vary from 3 to 4.50 rupees for the dry-cleaning of a woolen suit.

            Tailors.__  The total number of tailors, cutters, furriers and related workers in the district, according to the 1961 Census, was 6602, out of which 3933 were urban tailors. The urban tailors stitch pants, trousers, coats, skirts, bushirts, men’s and women’s woolen suits, jackets, nightgowns, achkens, ladies’ skirts, ladies’ coats, shalwars and blouses. In the rural areas, tailors generally stitch kurtas, pyjamas, shirts, bushirts, underwears, shalwars, ghagras, etc.  The rates charged by the tailors in the urban and rural areas vary considerably.


            Previously, in the rural areas, the tailors were paid stitching charges in kind, but, nowadays, like their urban counterparts, they are paid in cash. Most of the tailors have their own sewing-machines and work independently. They alos work on a commission basis with reputed concerns. The old practice of the tailors working at the houses of their customers is still in vogue in the villages on the occasinons of marriages. But, in the towns, the tailors go to the houses of well-to-do persons only when engaged on marriage occasions.


            Self-employed Persons.__  These services include persons, like weavers, shoemakers, potters, sweepers, handcart-pullers, porters at railway stations and bus-stands, vendors, and hosiery-weavers. They are spread all over the district. Most of them in the rural areas help their families to perform agricultural operations, marriage ceremonies, etc. In the Amritsar city, Chheharta and Verka,  the weavers have taken to power-looms.


            The sweepers in the urban areas are engaged in scavenging and other sanitary services. Those engaged for scavenging in the urban areas get about Rs. 3 per month, per family, in addition to a chapatti daily and other gifts on auspicious occasions. They usually get employment in hospitals, dispensaries, etc. In the rural areas, they work as agricultural  labourers.


            The average montly income of this class of workers is about Rs 100 per month and they live from hand to mouth. Generally, they reside in the slums.


            Domestic Services.__  The persons engaged in domestic services include cooks, houskeeper, maids and other indoor servants. According to  the 1961 Census, their total number in the district was 4897. Many small and medium-scale industries have sprung up, and they provide better avenues of employment to domestic servants. Thus, there has been a fall in the number of domestic servants. Moreover, with the rise in the wages of domestic servants and that in the cost-of –living index, the middle-class families have been forced to dispense with their services. The wages of domestic servants vary from 40 to 50 rupees per month, in addition to food, clothing and shelter. They frequently change their masters and gererally leave for their homes during the harvesting and sowing seasons to assist their families and relations in these operations in the villages.


            The female domestic servants (mais) are also available in the towns for whole-time or part time employment. Usually, widows and other poor woment adopt this profession for supplementing their meager income. They was clothes, sweep houses, clean utensils and cook food and do some other jobs. Such female servants are paid 10 to 30 rupees per month, in addition to sundry facilities given by their employers.


(d)    Miscellaneous  Services


Transport Services.__  Transport plays an important role in the social and economic life of the people.  After the partition of 1947, the district has developed into a nerve-centre of transport. In 1968, besides the Punjab Roadways, Amritsar, there were 14 private transport companies operating through the length and breath of  the district. Owing to the rapid a considerable fillip.


            The transport workers employed in various transport companies include drivers, conductors, etc. According to the 1961 Census, 1439 persons were engaged in transport and communication services in the district.


            Beside the motor-vehicle companies, there are rickshaw-pullers, tonga-drivers and auto-rickshaw-drivers. The rickshaw-owners invest money on the purchase of the vehicles and hire them out to rickshaw-pullers. Some rickshaw-pullers have their own rickshaws also. According to the 1961 ensus, the number of rickshaw-pullers in the district was 3115. After the partition, the tongas recived a great set-back owing to a keen competition with rickshaws and automobiles. A few tongas are still seen plying on the city roads. They carry passengers mostly to the countryside. The growing use of buses and tampos (three wheeled  vehicles) by the villagers in the recent years has adversely affected the income of the country tongawalas.


            A few owners of cars in the district can afford to keep drivers. Transport workers, like drivers, conductors and cleaners, are employed by the transport companies. They are provided with various facilities, viz. free uniforms, bonus and allowance for overtime. They have formed their unions to safeguard their interests. Their income and social status are decidedly better than those of the rickshaw-pullers and tonga-drivers.






Livelihood Pattern and the General Level of Prices and Wages


Employment situation


Planning and Community Development


            Economic trends serve as an index of the economic stability and progress of a district.  These also indicate the state of its economy. Progressive and dynamic trends bring about fundamental and significant changes in the whole structure of its economy.


(a)  Livelihood Pattern and the General Level of Prices and Wages


            Livelihood Pattern.__   The Amritsar District comprises four subdivisions/ tahsils, viz. Amritsar, Taran, Patti and Ajnala. It is situated in close proximity to the territory of Pakistan, and in shape it is rectangular, being a section of the tract known as the Bari Doab lying between the Ravi and the Beas.  Ever since the achievement of independence, a great many changes have taken place in the economic sphere. Irrigation facilities have increased manifold. The district is extensively served by a network of canals taking off from the four main branches of the Upper Bari Doab Canal, which runs through the entire length of the district.


            The rural economy of the district differs fundamentally from the urban economy inasmuch as the former is predominantly agricultural, whereas the latter is mainly non-agricultural. The rural population of the district is predominantly agricultural, whereas the urban population is mainly engaged in industry, transport, construction work, trade and commerce, and other vocations. After the partition of 1947, the livelihood pattern in the district has undergone radical changes in the villages, in general, and in the towns, in particular.


            The classification of workers in the district, according to the 1961 census, is as follows.


Classification of Workers in the Amritsar District according to the 1961 Census


Number of persons according to the 1961 Census

Classification of workers according to their professions


















Agricultural Labourers







Mining, quarrying, livestock-keeping, forestry, fishing, hunting, plantation, etc







Household industry







Manufactures other than those of the household industry














Trade and commerce







Transport, storage and communications







Other services







Total workers







Non- workers







Total population








(Census of India, vol. XVII, Punjab ,Part II-B (i) General Economic Tables, pp.18-19)


            At the time of the 1961 Census, for every 1,000 persons in the district 702 were non workers and only 298 workers. From among these 298 workers, 137 were cultivators and agricultural labourers, 4 were working in mining  quarrying etc, 56 in household industry and manufacturing, 6 in construction work, 30 in trade and commerce and 53 in other services.


            The dwellings in the urban areas are almost entirely pucca. Facilities of bathrooms, latrines etc. are mostly available. The house in the new township/ colonies are provided with all modern amenities. In the rural areas however, the dwellings comprise kachcha  as well as pucca portions. The houses generally have a big dalan  (a rectangular room) which has no participation. In certain cases, the houses are provided with a baithak (Sitting room) for guests etc. The cattle fodder is generally kept by the villagers in a separate portion of haveli  built for the purpose of keeping cattle. The total number of dwellings in the district, according to the 1961 Census, was 22,62,216, (1,78,253 rural and 83,963 urban)


            According to the 1961 Census, the total number of households in the district was 53,060 of which 36,041 were rural and 17,019 urban. The households in the urban areas comprise 5-6 members on the average. The break up of the households, classified to the number of members and according to the number of rooms occupied, on the basis of the 1961 Census is given in Appendix I on pages 315-316.


            The Economic and Statistical Organisation, Punjba, conducted the middle class family living surveys of the cities of Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala during 1965-66. The main objects of the surveys were to provide weighting diagrams for the construction of consumer price indices for the middle class families and also to ascertain their conditions of work and levels of living. Out of 7,697, 6,241 and 3,250 estimated numbers of the middle class families of Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala, 960,720 and 480 were surveyed. It was estimated that the average monthly income of a family in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Pataiala was  Rs. 36,, 320 and 397 and the expenditure on current living was Rs.  336, 320 and 368 respectively. The average size of the family was 5.32, 5.29 and 5.60 persons. An average employee earned RS. 250.80 per month at Amritsar as compared with Rs. 212.11 at Ludhiana and Rs. 282.27 at Patiala.


  1. Report on the Middle Class Family Living Survey, 1965-66 (Issued by the Economic and Statistical Organization, Punjab, Publication No. 75)


The income per head of the districts compares favourably with that of the other districts in the State. Figures regarding the district wise income per head for the year 1966-67 of the recognized Punjab are given below :


Sr. No


Income per head ( in rupees)




































( Source ; Economic and Statistical Adviser to Government, Punjab, Chandigarh )


            After the partition of the country in 1947, the entire economic structure of the district underwent a radical change. Much change has taken place in the food, dress and manners of the villagers. The villages and the towns have been linked together with motorable roads. Almost all the urban amenties are being increasingly brought within the reach of the rural people. Literacy is rapidly increasing in the villages, with the result that there has been a significant awakening among the rural folk. The Amritsar city, a big trading and commercial center, attacts a good number of skilled labourers, with the result that a considerable shortage of skilled labour in the villages is being experienced. There is a general tendency among the landless labourers to shift to the towns from the villages in order to avail themselves of better employment opportunities.


            Prices and Wages -  In order to assess the economic condition of the people belonging to a particular region, the comparative study of the pricesand wages is vitally important. Besides the variations in the prices of silver and gold, the increase in population, the condition of production, the extent of inflation, exports and imports play an important part. The changes in the seasons, rainfall and other physical factors also produce temporary fluctuations in the prices. From the beginning of the twentieth century, there has been a marked change in the purchasing power of the rupee. Even though detailed statistics are not available, it is true that the prices of land during the first two decades of the twentieth century rose more than the wages of the labour. The wages of labour also rose far in excess of the cost of production. The First World War (1914-18), however, had a salutary effect on all sections of the Indian Society. The labourer was more a gainer, as his wages rose more rapidly than the cost of production. Then followed a general depression of the twenties and it brought in its wake slumps in the market and unemployment and downward trends in the prices of agricultural produce.


            The conditions during the third decade of the present century (1921-31) were partially the after- effects of the previous decade that witnessed the culmination of adverse circumstances on an un precedent scale. On the out break of the World War II in September 1939, the people in the districts were also affected by this catastrophe. The prices of all goods rose high as a result of the scarcity condition created by the war. Wages also increased and have shown a continued rise since then. Even after the partition (1947), the steep rise in prices and wages could not be effectively checked. This trend was not much perceptible during the Fist and Second Five year Plans ( 1951-56 and 1956-61). From the middle of the Third Five Year Plan ( 1961-66), the price index has shown a sudden and unprecedented rise in the prices without any corresponding rise in wages. 


            As a direct repercussion of the Chinese invasion in 1962 and that of the Indo- Pak Conflict in 1965, the prices have been soaring rapidly to the detriment of the economic life of the people. The wages have not keep pace with the increase in the price level. The increase in wages and salaries from time to time has not been enough to make up the vast difference.


            The table below gives the consumer price index for the industrial workers of Amritsar for the period 1961-68:                                                (Base 1960=100)























            The index number of the retail prices given above for the last 8 years shows the trend of the prevailing prices.


            The trend of prices of a few agricultural commodities during 1966-67 and 1967-68 may be seen from the table given below ;


Serial No.

Name of agriculrutal commodity

Price per quintal


















(Source : District Statistical Officer, Amritsar)


            The wages for various workers in the rural areas of the district are paid either in cash of in kind or both. A casual labourer is usually paid in cash whereas the smith, the carpenter, the water carrier (Jhiwar) or the potter is usually paid in kind. Domestic servants both in the urban and rural areas are paid partly in kind. However, the practice of paying wages in kind is on the wane and people prefer to pay and receive wages in cash.


            The rates of pay per month fixed for Class IV Government servants employed in various departments in the Amritsar District, for 1967-68 and 1968-69, are given in Appendix II on pages 317-318.


(b)       Employment Situation


            The employment situation in the Amritsar District has of late developed in accordance with the general pattern in the State and in the country as a whole. The number of job-seekers registered with the Employment Exchange has been on the increase.


            While there is a surplus of teachers, engineers, fresh graduates and post graduates, trainees of the industrial training institutes, sweepers, beldars etc. there is an acute shortage of good typists, stenographers, accountants, Hindi teachers, experienced salesman, etc.


            Emploment Exchange – The Sub-Regional Employment Exchange, Amritsar, was set up in 1946 primarily to promote the resettlement and rehabilitation of the ex-servicemen released from the army after the end of the Second World War in 1945. Gradually, it expanded its activities and undertook to give employment assistance to others as well. The main functions of the Sub-Regional Employment Echange, Amritsar, are to register applicants and to offer employment assistance, to impart vocational guidance to the youths and adults to choose a better career, to collect employment market information to assess the employment trends and impact of Government plans on the employment situation and to collect employment statistics for the planning commission of India.


            As a result of the increase in the volume of work at the Sub-Regional Employment Exchange, Amritsar, a District Employment Exchange was opened at Amritsar in September 1961. It registers and gives employment assistance to technically trained persons. Similarly, to provide employment assistance for the rural people, a rural man-power unit was started at Patti Block.


            The number of unemployment persons aged 15 and above by sex and educational levels, both in the urban and rural areas in the districts, as per 1961 Census is given below:

Unemployment in the urban areas by sex and educational levels




Total unemployed
















Literate (without educational level





Primary or Junior Basic





Matriculation or Higher Secondary





Technical diploma not equal to a degree





Non-technical diploma not equal to a degree





University degree or post graduate degree other than a technical degree





Technical degree or diploma equal to a degree or post graduate degree :





1. Engineering





2. medicine





3. agriculture





4. Veterinary and dairying





5. technology





6. teaching





7. others






Unemployment in the rural areas by sex and educational levels



Total unemployed
















Literate (without education level)





Primary and Junior Basic





Matriculation and aove





(Census of India, 1961, Vol. XIII, Punjab, Part II-B (I), pp. 402 and 410)


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