National Commission on Labour (1967)||
28.57 A point that has been repeatedly emphasised before us is the uneven effect of the new strategy of agricultural development on agricultural labour. The present arrangements put a somewhat heavy emphasis on the credit-worthy character of the applicant for loans or other assistance for agricultural inputs. Absence of inputs takes persons, whose only assets are a patch of land and labour, beyond the pale of the new strategy. Suitable arrangements should be made to direct the now of a part of the cooperative or other institutional credit to the small cultivator worker to enable him to benefit from new agricultural developments.
28.58 Delay in the enactment of tenurial reforms has acted as a damper to the new strategy, because the land is not recorded in the name of the tiller. Tillers who belong to the category of small cultivators cannot invest their meagre savings under this new programme in the land for which they have no title. The tenurial reforms should be implemented so that this section of farmers is fully involved in reaching targets of higher production. These two recommendations are expected to benefit small holders who are a shade better than landless labour in the rural hierarchy. It is doubtful whether the improvement of the former will mean either additional employment or better payment to the latter. Its impact has to be viewed only in relation to such small landholders who fall within the category of "agricultural labour" by our definition. Traditional farming is highly labour-intensive. Agricultural labour as a class also consists of a substantial portion of small cultivators who own petty holdings of their own and who directly or indirectly work as share-croppers. For this category, the prices fixed for agricultural commodities have the same functional role as wage rates or money wages have for workers outside agriculture. Land tenures pertaining to this category have, therefore, to be examined and rationalised. In formulating agricultural price policies, the wage content of agricultural costs has also to be given due weight.
28.59 A landless worker is not in possession of the land on which his hut stands. Since a hut provides the worker with a bargaining capacity, and this is borne out from our inquiries, we recommend that landless labour should be put in ownership of the house site. A drive should be launched to achieve this within the shortest possible time. Colonies of agricultural labour, away from the present insanitary and unhygienic conditions, should also be established, keeping in view the integrated character of the rural community and the need for promoting social equality.