IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unorganized Enterprises and Rural-Urban Migration in India: The Case of the Cycle Rickshaw Sector in Delhi


  • Kurosaki, Takashi
  • Banerji, Asit
  • Mishra, S. N.
  • Mangal, A. K.


In 2010/11, we conducted a survey of cycle rickshaw pullers and rickshaw owners located throughout Delhi, India. We drew a sample of 132 rickshaw owners (called Thekedars) and a representative sample of 1,320 rickshaw pullers. The survey results show that most rickshaw pullers in Delhi are short-term, temporary migrants. Most rickshaw pullers are poorly educated. The majority migrated from villages in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Social networks that extend from places of origin to final destinations facilitate migration. More than 90% of rickshaw pullers operate rental rickshaws owned by Thekedars. Rickshaw pulling involves hard physical labor. On average, a rickshaw puller works 11 hours per day, over 27 days per month. We estimate the average daily earning to be Rs. 260. A typical migrant rickshaw puller may save more than Rs. 2,000 per month. He may send these funds to his village home. This is the migrant rickshaw pullers’ contribution to rural poverty reduction. Thekedars provide the fulcrum upon which the whole cycle rickshaw transportation system of Delhi turns., In addition to the rental of cycle rickshaws to migrant rickshaw pullers, Thekedars manage the administrative and legal aspects of their rickshaw rental business throughout the year. Their occupational history shows that many of them became a Thekedar from low beginnings, including rickshaw pulling and rickshaw repair jobs. On average, a Thekedar owns 56 rickshaws, approximately two-thirds of which are rented on a daily basis. Pullers pay a fixed rental fee per day at an average rate of Rs. 34. Net of business expenditures, monthly rickshaw rental income per Thekedar is estimated at approximately Rs. 5,600 for small and medium Thekedars and Rs. 41,000 for large Thekedars. The internal rate of return on investment over 5-6 years of the working life of a rickshaw is estimated to range between 18% and 62% per year. Currently, the rules and regulations on t he cycle rickshaw sector in Delhi are based on the principal of the one-rickshaw, one-owner, one-driver, one-license policy. However, this policy does not reflect the real-life situations we encountered in our survey. We recommend that Thekedars be endowed with legal entity status. This would result in the healthy development of urban transport in Delhi.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurosaki, Takashi & Banerji, Asit & Mishra, S. N. & Mangal, A. K., 2012. "Unorganized Enterprises and Rural-Urban Migration in India: The Case of the Cycle Rickshaw Sector in Delhi," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 28, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:primdp:28

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michelle Adato & Michael Carter & Julian May, 2006. "Exploring poverty traps and social exclusion in South Africa using qualitative and quantitative data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 226-247.
    2. Yasuyuki Sawada, 2007. "The impact of natural and manmade disasters on household welfare," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(s1), pages 59-73, December.
    3. Morris, Saul S. & Wodon, Quentin, 2003. "The Allocation of Natural Disaster Relief Funds: Hurricane Mitch in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1279-1289, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hit:primdp:28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Digital Resources Section, Hitotsubashi University Library). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.