Home to the well-known Taj Mahal, Agra is located on the banks of the river Yamuna, and a historically and culturally rich city. While Agra is commonly associated with the Mughal Empire, the history of the region dates back even earlier, to the time of Mahabharata, where it was mentioned as Agrevaṇa, meaning “the border of the forest” in Sanskrit. However, there’s no denying the fact that Agra was not in its heyday until it was made the Mughal capital. Even today, much of the city’s fame is due to the architectural excellence of its tombs and mausoleums made by the Mughals.
Around two million tourists flock to the city every year, mostly to see the Taj Mahal and two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Although mainly popular for tourism, Agra also has a strong industrial base. Apart from the existing large corporations, the city promises countless opportunities for start-ups and SMEs. As such, students and professionals may well find the right job opportunity for them in Agra.
Key Industries and Job OpportunitiesAgra has a diversified economy, but agriculture is one of the largest contributors. Major crops include mustard, wheat, and potato. Industries account for about 40 percent of Agra's economy. While being India's largest footwear manufacturing hub, Agra also houses more than 7200 small scale industrial units. A major leatherwear and handicrafts hub, the city generates hundreds of jobs for unskilled workers.
The presence of the Taj Mahal makes Agra an important tourist destination. Its proximity to the capital and the presence of the Taj Trapezium Zone make it a favourable place for starting a business. In 1979, the District Industries Centre was established in Agra, under which, the Industrial Estate in Nunhai, spread over 70 acres of land, helped many industries to flourish. The major products manufactured include electrical goods, flooring, packaging, and steel rolling. Agra also presents lucrative opportunities for artisans and professionals in footwear and garment design.
TourismThe city is blessed with a rich cultural lineage and a number of historical monuments. Taj Mahal attracts around 23 percent of the total tourists, visiting India from abroad. The famous monument receives nearly seven lakh tourists every year. For this reason, graduates in tourism and hospitality are increasingly finding Agra a favourable destination to start their career. Employment opportunities abound in Agra for tour guides, customer service personnel, managers and heritage conservation specialists. Different categories of hotels and transportation options are also coming up fast.
Opportunities are also available in allied industries, for culinary specialties and those into handicrafts and royal crafts. Manufacturing units for pietra dura table tops, carpets, ornate marble inlays, and zari (embroidery) work create hundreds of jobs for artisans and sales professionals. The handicrafts industry employs about 15,000 people and is a major contributor to Agra's economy.
Leather/FootwearThe leather products industry in Agra now supplies about 65 percent of the total national demand. Its share in the total export from the country is a whopping 28 percent. With the central government's announcement of a special package for Agra's leather industry, it is set to see even faster growth. The focus now is on implementing new technology, reducing dependence on menial work, establishing new leather parks, and creating more jobs.
As of now, the footwear industry in Agra produces around two lakh pairs of shoes daily. Also, one-fourth of the city’s total population is directly or indirectly associated with the shoe manufacturing sector. The footwear industry of Agra has about 10,000 manufacturing units, employing around 500000 people. Recent economic reforms and tie-ups with retail chains have opened doors to new opportunities. The central government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is likely to strengthen the industry further.
Agra is also famous for its iron foundries, some of which are spread over 65 acres of land in Foundry Nagar. The 7000 plus small scale manufacturing units produce commodities like stationery, wood and paper products, auto parts, and metal-based products.
If you are planning a career in any of the above industries, consider keeping tabs on the jobs in Agra.