Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We have referred to the fact that the great majority of miners are also agriculturalists. Some come from villages near enough to allow them to work in the fields as occasion arises; others, when they come to the mines, leave members of their families in charge, returning only when their supervision and labour are most necessary. Yet others, who may have no land of their own, find work in agriculture at harvest time, when there is naturally a substantial rise in agricultural wages and work of this kind becomes temporarily more profitable than mining. In consequence, there is a marked variation in the supply of labour throughout the year. The number of workers in the mines is at its height about the end of February. Thereafter there is a steady diminution as the winter crops mature. The exodus is checked in April, when there is little agricultural work available, but begins with renewed strength about the middle of May, and employment is at its lowest point about the middle of July, when the sowing or transplanting of monsoon crops is at its height. Thereafter large numbers return to the mines and another peak is reached by about the end of September. From this stage there is again a decline and by the middle of November, when the rice harvest is at its height, the labour force reaches almost as low an ebb as in the middle of July. Thereafter it rises rapidly throughout the winter to the peak about the end of February. These movements of labour can be measured with fair accuracy by reference to the monthly raisings of coal for British India. In a normal year the amount raised in February or March is about 50 per cent above that raised in July, while the September raisings may exceed the July figures by about 30 per cent. These differences naturally vary with the vagaries of the monsoon. Defective rainfall, besides making labour rather more plentiful throughout the year, diminishes the extent of the exodus to the fields.