Survey on Rickshaw pullers

A survey based Project on the;

 ” condition of Rickshaw pullers – A case study of Aligarh city”


Aim and Significance of the Study:

 This study tries to empirically examine the socio-economic condition of the Rickshaw-pullers of Aligarh City of Uttar Pradesh. The scope of the study is to identify and analyze various factors which are contributing to the economic marginalization of this group and the current financial facilities available to them. This study will enable in assessing their current economic condition and identifying the possibilities of linking them to the formal financial market.


Statement of the Problem:

 Poverty and India- Income poverty in India is a serious problem with about 350 million of its people earning less than $1 a day (Datt and Ravallion, 2007; World Bank, 2007). The official estimate for the poverty based on Head Count Index (HCI) was 26.1% of the total population in 1999/2000 (Government of India, 2004). Previous researches on poverty in India has focused more on rural poverty because HCI in rural areas estimated to be at 27.1% of the total population  was slightly higher than that in urban areas (23.6%). Although useful, such research on rural poverty has limited value in providing general clues to the poverty reduction policies in India as a whole due to the following two reasons: first, the absolute number of the urban poor in India is phenomenal, at around 67 million, more than the whole population of every country in Sub-Saharan Africa except Nigeria; and second, there has been a continuous flow of migration from rural to urban areas, including the poor, who aspired to improve their well-being. An understanding of this migration is crucial for understanding the poverty issues in India, particularly, the linkage as well as the cause and effect relationship between the urban and rural poverty. Therefore, it is critically important to understand the nature of urban poverty in India through empirical studies.  


Objectives of the survey

The objectives of this study are:

(1)  To study the overall economic status of migrant rickshaw pullers’ families in the countryside: nature of their in- as well as return- migration, their living conditions in Aligarh, their working conditions, their income, spending and savings patterns, the remittances that they transfer to their families back home, their individual and their families’ incomes from other sources

(2)  To study the socio-demographic status of the rickshaw pullers: the extent of illiteracy, health condition, socio-political participation, as well as attitude towards family planning, women empowerment and child labour

(3)  To study the existing pattern of rickshaw-pulling business: the fixed and variable capital requirement and sources and the available modes of finance these requirements.

(4)  To study the nature of transactions between rickshaw owners and rickshaw pullers in the city,

(5)  To study their tendency towards change in terms of modernization of technology

(6)  To study the available financial market, government policies, PDS, life and health insurance scheme  accessible to the rickshaw

(7)  To study the need, demand and willingness to pay for various financial services in this group.


Research Gap:

(1)  In terms of theoretical foundation of poverty, the existing empirical micro- or macro-studies on poverty have been focusing on personal distribution of income or consumption. Yet, such an analysis will not necessarily be useful in identifying the cause of poverty because the very structure that generates poverty would not be clear through such studies. Accordingly, we need to elaborate a research project with which we can identify the structure which generates functional distribution in the economy. We believe that our focus on the cycle rickshaw sector in Aligarh provides an ideal research environment to explore the dynamics of urban poverty in India.

(2)  The informal transportation sector in India is one of the most important economic activities in which the urban poverty is concentrated. Moreover, a very large number of poor rural-to-urban migrants tend to initiate their urban career in this sector. In spite of its importance, there exist very few economic studies on this sector. We know very little about these rickshaw pullers. Who are these people? What makes them engage in this informal sector activity which requires tremendous expenditure of their muscles power? Are they poor? These and many more questions call for an answer. That is what has motivated us to undertake the present study, filling the serious gap in the existing studies.

(3)  Another rationale for studying rickshaw pullers in Aligarh is the necessity to collect information useful for planning urban transportation in the Aligarh.

(4)  This marginalised section of the society who lives in “hand to mouth” scenario hasn’t been able to connect to the booming growth of Indian economy and have low savings consuming all they earn. This study will definitely provide us useful information about their inability to participate in financial market and will guide banks and policy makers to formulate schemes and rules regulations regarding entry in financial market.

(5)  Due to Higher rate of illiteracy or being homeless they even don’t have their birth certificates, or any records related their identity. Their situation is aggravated because of their tendency to migrate frequently. In this situation social security schemes are seems very difficult to reach them. If they are not beneficiaries of welfare schemes of government then how will they empower? Outcome of our study, we expect will throw light on the some issues which are not taken into consideration while forming and implementing these schemes.

(6)  In the present survey expected to be conduct in Aligarh in January 2011- February 2011, we will collect detail information on nearly two hundred fifty rickshaw pullers.  Our preliminary report will be based on the data thus collected.


Problems to be studied

In the present study we will investigate the cycle rickshaw sector in Aligarh City.

In the survey, we will collect information necessary to examine

(1)  The current situation of poverty surrounding the persons engaged in the sector.

(2)  The current Socio-Economic Status of the persons and their dependents.

(3)  The saving and consumption pattern of the persons engaged in the sector.

(4)  Their engagement with financial markets and possibilities of connecting the persons with financial markets.

(5)  The role of social securities as a tool of their upliftment.


questionnaire – survey of Rickshawpullers-Aligarh-economistindia


Sites For Interview



 Cycle Rickshaw Models


Present cycle rickshaw is traditional and highly economic inefficient. We can use these rickshaws as source of power generation, means of advertisement and part-time income generation for RPs apart from the Rickshaw pulling  and many more …

To explore potentials of cycle  rickshaws We are thus in our study going to suggest some modern designs  and economic efficient models of cycle Rickshaw. we encourage to all readers to suggest their models and ideas. Best models may be placed in our study.






Dr. Tarique Mhd is a Reader in Economics in department of Economics, Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh.

For more detail : Tarique Mhd biodata





Core Team

ZAHABIA RAZA did her Masters in Economics from AMU in 2010. She possesses keen analytical ability,is hardworking and sincere in her work.She had excelled in academics throughout. After completing her Higher and Secondary Education(2005) from St. Fidelis School, Aligarh with distinctive marks she did her BA(Hons) in Economics from AMU in 2008. she is the awardee of the prestigious departmental scholarship.

ELIZABETH MARIAM is pursuing her masters in economics from Aligarh Muslim University. after achieving laurels from  presentation convent, Srinagar she has achieved degree in economics from AMU. Beside being secretory of economic society , Aligarh Muslim University, she has keen interests in various curricular and academic activities.she has received various awards like best cadet, founder’s day all-rounder award, and Mumtaz jahan scholarship.

An Indian Administrative services aspirant  ZULFIQAR SHETH is hailing from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He graduated from Aligarh Muslim University. He is recipient of various awards and scholarships including central government’s meritorious scholarship and University meritorious scholarship.He is activist and has several odd years experience to work at grass route level.



Support Team

Miss Reem Asharaf  (Research Scholar, JNU)

Mr Aas Mohmad (Junior Research Fellow, UGC)

Mr Rahul Tejwani (CA )

Mr Qamar Alam (MA  Economics )

Mr Waseem Rayyan  (MA Economics )

Miss Sabreena Rahat  (MA Economics )

Miss Mareya Shahid  (MA Sociology )

Miss Sumaiya Tariq  (MA Economics )

Miss Madhvi Saxena  (MA Economics )

Miss Fatima Naseem (MA Psychology)

Miss Nooria Rahman  (MA Economics )

Miss Shahista Rahman  (MA Economics )


9 thoughts on “Survey on Rickshaw pullers

  1. On the bustling streets of India, one is invariably greeted by a multitude of rickshaws. A rickshaw is a simple human-powered tricycle that seats two passengers and is pedaled by the rickshaw puller. At first glance, it may seem that the rickshaw business is flourishing. Everywhere, one can see rickshaw pullers ferrying passengers as fast as their legs can pedal, negotiating fares and incessantly calling out for customers. Rickshaw-pulling requires no skill per se; hence it is extensively taken up as a business by unskilled migrants. Few realize that twelve hours of toiling in scorching heat earns a rickshaw puller only Rupees 200 (USD 4.5).Also, the typical rickshaw puller does not own his rickshaw; he hires it from a contractor to whom he must pay a fifth of his daily income as rent, everyday. He takes home the rupee equivalent of only USD 3.5 each day, with which he must feed a family of five, educate his children, spend on healthcare and remit money to his elderly parents. A day off from work would cost his family its day’s bread. A typical rickshaw costs as less as USD 200. However, due to the rickshaw puller’s inability to save enough to buy one, he has to hire it from exploitative contractors. He has no collateral; hence no access to credit. Constantly harassed and beaten up by contractors, he lives a precarious existence at the margins of society. The SIFE team at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) realized their hardships and developed a social entrepreneurship project to provide microcredit facilities to rickshaw pullers so that they can own the rickshaws they ply. Through the project, “Life on Wheels”, SIFE-SRCC has partnered with an Indian nationalized bank and has had bank accounts opened for the rickshaw pullers. Loans are then sanctioned to them for purchasing their own rickshaws with SIFE SRCC as the guarantor. The loans not only cover the cost of a new rickshaw, but also two pairs of uniforms, identification cards, a license and asset and life insurance for the rickshaw puller. The SIFE-SRCC team carries out the repayment of loan. A nominal amount of 250 rupees (USD 5.5) is collected from these rickshaw pullers once a week, for 52 weeks, after which they become its owners. After paying back their loan, the rickshaw pullers can save what they otherwise paid as rent.To generate greater income for the rickshaw pullers, SIFE-SRCC has also trained them to provide guided rickshaw tours of monuments around the University Campus. These monuments are architectural marvels dating back to the 13th century and are hugely popular with the student community as a means to discover the rich heritage offered by their campus. The project has provided a needy community with access to formal banking facilities and facilitated the process of financial inclusion. To us the loan amount may be small, but the light in the eye of an empowered rickshaw puller is something one must see to believe.

    SIFE Shri Ram College of Commerce
    University of Delhi,India

  2. we really appriciate your initiative. no one cares even to know about the kind of difficulties Rickshaw pullers having in thier routine life. this study will also represent the facts- facts that society have ignored and policymakers have left.

  3. Great work ! i am student of Delhi University. would love to be part of the project. kindly inform me. thanks

  4. Interesting study. May I know if your study is complete? If yes, what are your findings?

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