Sectors of Economy : Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Quaternary and Quinary

Human activities which generate income are known as economic activities. Economic activities are broadly grouped into primary, secondary, tertiary activities. Higher services under tertiary activities are again classified into quaternary and quinary activities. Factors Responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India) is a topic mentioned in General Studies Paper 1(GS1) for UPSC Mains. So let us first understand the differences between some of the key terms in this section.

Primary activities

Primary activities are directly dependent on environment as these refer to utilisation of earth’s resources such as land, water, vegetation, building materials and minerals. It, thus includes, hunting and gathering, pastoral activities, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and mining and quarrying.

People engaged in primary activities are called red-collar workers due to the outdoor nature of their work.

Secondary activities

Secondary activities add value to natural resources by transforming raw materials into valuable products. Secondary activities, therefore, are concerned with manufacturing, processing and construction (infrastructure) industries.

People engaged in secondary activities are called blue collar workers.

Tertiary activities

Tertiary activities include both production and exchange. The production involves the ‘provision’ of services that are ‘consumed. Exchange, involves trade, transport and communication facilities that are used to overcome distance.

Tertiary jobs = White collar jobs.

Quaternary activities

Quaternary activities are specialized tertairy activities in the ‘Knowledge Sector’ which demands a separate classification. There has been a very high growth in demand for and consumption of information based services from mutual fund managers to tax consultants, software developers and statisticians. Personnel working in office buildings, elementary schools and university classrooms, hospitals and doctors’ offices, theatres, accounting and brokerage firms all belong to this category of services. Like some of the tertiary functions, quaternary activities can also be outsourced. They are not tied to resources, affected by the environment, or necessarily localised by market.

Also read:  General Studies 3 Paper Syllabus – Civil Services Mains Exam UPSC

Quinary activities

Quinary activities are services that focus on the creation, re-arrangement and interpretation of new and existing ideas; data interpretation and the use and evaluation of new technologies. Often referred to as ‘gold collar’ professions, they represent another subdivision of the tertiary sector representing special and highly paid skills of senior business executives, government officials, research scientists, financial and legal consultants, etc. Their importance in the structure of advanced economies far outweighs their numbers.The highest level of decision makers or policy makers perform quinary activities.

Quinary = Gold collar professions.

Broad Definition of Industry

The term industry is comprehensive. Industry in general refers to an economic activity that is concerned with production of goods, extraction of minerals or the provision of services. Thus we have iron and steel industry (production of goods), coal mining industry (extraction of coal) and tourism industry (service provider).

So what is manufacturing then?

Manufacturing: Production of goods in large quantities after processing from raw materials to more valuable products is called manufacturing.

Industry = Manufacturing + Mining + Electricity

Share of Industrial Sector in total GDP

Industrial sector has 27 percent share in total GDP. Over the last two decades, the share of manufacturing sector has stagnated at 17 per cent of GDP – out of a total of 27 per cent for the industry which includes 10 per cent for mining, quarrying, electricity and gas.

  • Manufacturing- 17%.
  • Mining, quarrying, electricity and gas – 10%.
  • Total share of industry -27%

Steps to boost manufacturing

  1. National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) : The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) has been set up by the Government to provide a continuing forum for policy dialogue to energise and sustain the growth of manufacturing industries in India.
  2. Make in India Initiative.
  3. National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) .
  4. Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).

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