Overall labour productivity in India was already only around 15 per cent of the UK level between the early 1870s and the late 1920s. Between 1929 and 1950 India fell further behind and remained at around 10 per cent of the UK level until the 1970s. India has been catching-up since the 1970s, but by the end of the twentieth century was still further behind than in the late nineteenth century. Agriculture has played an important role in India’s relative decline to 1950 and subsequent delay in catching up, since comparative India/UK labour productivity in this sector has declined continuously and agriculture still accounts for around two-thirds of employment in India. Comparative India/UK labour productivity in industry has fluctuated around a level of around 15 per cent. The only sector to exhibit trend improvement in comparative India/UK labour productivity over the long run is services, rising from around 15 per cent to around 30%. India’s recent emergence as a dynamic service-led economy appears to have long historical roots
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