Employment among rural males in India's primary sector--agriculture--has declined from 717 per 1,000 males in 1990 to 594 per 1,000 males in 2012, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on September 15, 2017

For women in rural areas, the decline is more gradual: From 814 per 1,000 women in 1990 to 749 per 1,000 women in 2012, the data show.

The data also confirm the shift in employment in the economy from the primary sector towards the manufacturing and service sectors. Agriculture employs more Indians (232 million) than any other sector, although this number has fallen from 238 million in 1990, according to State of Indian Agriculture report 2015-16.

In real terms, as of 2011, agriculture employed 135 million men and 91 million women.

Rural Male And Female Employment Across Three Sectors,1990 To 2012

Source: Reserve bank of India NOTE: Figures are per 1,000

The manufacturing sector has seen an increase in employment for men in rural areas from 121/1,000 in 1990 to 220 per 1,000 in 2012. The services sector has seen a gradual increase from 162 to 187 over the same period.

Among women in rural areas, employment in manufacturing has increased from 124/1,000 in 1990 to 167/1,000 in 2012.

(Salve is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)