Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Some light is thrown on the variations between different provinces by certain statistics relating to cases under the Workmen's Compensation Act. These are prepared by provincial Governments and show the number of persons in each wage class to whom compensation was awarded in cases coming before Commissioners. They relate largely to fatal and serious accidents. The wage classes are arranged as in the schedule of assumed wages given in the Act, and these are determined by the average earnings of the worker prior to the accident. The statistics we give below relate to the five years 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, which constitute a period during which wage levels generally were fairly steady. The figures, however, must be accepted with some caution. In the first place, it cannot be assumed that the workers whose cases have been combined to furnish the statistics and who constitute a very small proportion of the industrial workers generally, constitute an entirely representative section. The most highly-paid industrial employees, who are engaged mainly in supervision, run less risk of accidents than others. At the other end of the scale, the unskilled worker runs less risk of a serious accident than the semi-skilled worker who is dealing with machine processes. Secondly, the Act, as we shall show later, is only gradually becoming known to the general mass of the workers, and it is probable that claims have been less frequent from the lower-paid workers and their dependants than from those who are in receipt of higher wages. But. in the main, these factors are common to all provinces. The Madras levels are somewhat higher than we would have expected, but otherwise the comparison between the major provinces afforded by the table is very closely related to that indicated by other evidence. Assam is omitted as the numbers are too small to yield any results of value. Wages are lowest in Madras, the Central Provinces and the United Provinces; the provinces to the east of this group, namely, Bengal and Bihar and Orissa, have a higher level, and so have those to the west, namely, the Punjab and Bombay. Bombay comes first of the Indian provinces, while Burma has a still higher level. For the reasons we have given, the table is much less reliable as a picture of wage-levels, but we consider that it gives a general impression of these levels for the semi-skilled operatives in organised industry. In this connection it should be remembered that, while children are excluded from the figures, they include both men and women and the workers on the lowest wages are, for the most part, women.
Percentage of cases earning monthly wages of
|Province.||less than Rs.13||not less than Rs. 13 but less than Rs. 17/8 .||not less than Rs.17/8 but less than Rs. 22/8||not less than Rs. 22/8 but less than Rs.27/8||not less than Rs. 27/8 but less than Rs.32/8||not less than Rs.32/8||Total number of cases (1925-1929).|
|Bihar and Orissa||21||24||21||12||8||14||717|