Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The industry of mica cutting and splitting is almost entirely unregulated, only one out of 127 factories in the province of Bihar and Orissa coming under the Factories Act because of its use of power machinery. The units are often large and may go up to as many as 800 workers. Approximately 30 per cent of the workers are children. The buildings are for the most part adequate, but much of the work is done on overcrowded verandahs. In most cases the hours are not excessive in the case of the adults or of the older children but, taking the time of leaving home and of returning to it in the case of those living in villages several miles distant, they are too long for the smaller children. There is no examination in the case of the young workers to ascertain age or fitness, and children of from 6 to 10 years of age are employed directly or with their parents on splitting and sometimes also on cutting, because " if started young they may become experts "—a statement which will have a familiar ring to those/who have studied the history of the regulation of child labour in other countries. But in fairness to the employers, we should add that the representatives of the Kodarma Mica Association, who appeared before us, were prepared to agree to the exclusion of such children.