Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Actual payments are seldom on the scale which strict fulfilment of the terms of the loan would require. The prompt repayment of the capital is not usually desired by the money-lender; he prefers to remain a creditor and receive interest, and in most cases he does not receive the full amount of interest with regularity. But defaults are recorded and go to increase the liability, so that the borrowing of a trifling sum can, and not uncommonly does, lead in a few years to a permanent and heavy load of debt. In a number of cases a stage is reached when the money-lender takes from the worker the whole of his wages, paying him only sufficient for subsistence, and even puts the members of the worker's family to work on a similar basis. The statistics which are available of the actual payments by workers are even less reliable than those of debt and liability for interest; one anna per rupee of income for those indebted is a conservative estimate of the average payment; one month's wages in the year is probably a more accurate guess. All these figures can vary widely from industry to industry, and from centre to centre, and the variations in individual cases are very large. But whatever the figure, the result is almost invariable; the indebted worker has to give all of what might otherwise be his savings to the moneylender, and these payments are not merely the surplus that would be spent on petty luxuries; they have often to be provided by trenching on the primary needs of a healthy life. We have been impressed by the number of cases in which an industrious worker is obliged to stint himself and his family of necessities to meet interest charges without the faintest prospect of ever being able to reduce the principal. Many money-lenders take the precaution of making their dues the first charge on labour, and outside the gates of many, perhaps most, large factories on pay-day, stands the Pathan or other money-lender, awaiting his dues. In some cases the money-lender gets his dues at the source by being allowed to come to the pay-desk, but we have no reason to believe that this is a common practice.