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Can unemployment be answered by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises? Evidences from Assam

Ankita Sarmah (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology Sikkim, Rabongla, India)
Bedabrat Saikia (Department of Economics, Handique Girls’ College, Kamrup Metropolitan, India)
Dhananjay Tripathi (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology Sikkim, Rabongla, India)

Indian Growth and Development Review

ISSN: 1753-8254

Article publication date: 7 May 2021

Issue publication date: 15 June 2021




Generating meaningful employment has become a major concern for countries across the globe to break the vicious circle of poverty. Employment creation becomes more intricate in a developing economy like India where the population is at an incessant rise, without a simultaneous increase in the employment generation. In the event of situations of mounting unemployment, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) being largely labour-intensive have been claimed as a significant contributor in an economy’s development to induce employment generation. The study at hand is an attempt to gauge the overall contributions of MSMEs in employment creation in Assam, a developing region of the Indian sub-continent. However, most importantly, the purpose of this paper is to determine if men and women are differently employed in the sample MSMEs and if the pattern of employment creation is different across male and female-owned sample MSMEs.


The study is based on a uniquely large sample of 320 MSME entrepreneurs with an equal representation of 160 each from male and female entrepreneurs. Secondary data sources were also consulted. Study areas comprising Kamrup-Metropolitan and Kamrup-Rural, depicting both urban and rural Assam, respectively. The choice of activities undertaken by the entrepreneurs includes a wide variety of 12 activities pertaining to all the MSME entrepreneurs in general and certain gender-specific in particular. The two hypotheses (H01 and H02) formulated were tested using the Chi-square test and the Mann-Whitney U test. Furthermore, the growth rate of employment generation in Assam along with the growth rate of the number of MSMEs established and investment made by the MSMEs were computed.


The calculated growth rate of employment creation, capital investment and MSMEs established were found to be positive. Based on the results of the Chi-Square test and Cramer’s V test, this paper establishes a strong association between the MSMEs and the total employment generation by the sample entrepreneurs (H01). The primary data suggested that 320 MSMEs are Employing 2,766 people in the study area with an average of 8 people per unit. Employment in the service sector is higher than the manufacturing units with an average of 4 people per unit. Another vital finding of the study professed that the women-owned MSMEs have a relatively lesser number of people (32.2%) employed than their male counterparts (67.8%). The mean rank of male entrepreneurs is considerably higher (211.49) testifying a higher employment creation by the male-owned MSMEs than the women-owned (H02). Moreover, women (33.4%) are thinly employed than men (66.5%). Women entrepreneurs were seen to have mostly limited themselves in micro-units followed by small-units. In terms of the nature of employment, full-time employees (81.8%) supersede part-time employees (6.6%). The pattern of self-employment is equal (5.8%) across both male and women entrepreneurs. MSMEs have been well identified as an impeccable answer to mitigate the problem of mounting unemployment.


The novelty of the study lies in its meticulous and explicit understanding of the employment scenario in Assam by the MSMEs. Empirical works on employment creation by the MSMEs in Assam were fundamentally based on secondary data sources. The study fills in the gap by providing a holistic picture of employment creation based on both primary and secondary data, but prominently on the primary. The study accounts details about the nature of MSME employment, the gender of the MSME employees, employment creation by male and female MSME entrepreneurs, the growth rate of MSME employment and self-employment to name a few



The authors would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the Editor-in-Chief of the journal for giving the paper a place in this esteemed journal. We are also indebted to the anonymous reviewer(s) and the Co-Editor for their detailed comments which substantially helped us to improve the paper.


Sarmah, A., Saikia, B. and Tripathi, D. (2021), "Can unemployment be answered by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises? Evidences from Assam", Indian Growth and Development Review, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 199-222.



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