Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We now come to the age at which it should be permissible for a child to be employed as a worker on a plantation. It is significant that the Central Government have seen fit to protect Indian children who emigrate to the plantations of Ceylon and Malaya by securing that the starting age for employment shall be 10 years. The practice throughout Indian plantations varies considerably. At least one association admitted that on the plantations of its members. " children aged 4 or 5 were all working children ". Another association declared that it had no policy in the matter, and that individual members exercised their own discretion. As a result, where one manager admitted that children generally started work at 4, 5 or 6 years of age, and another that they started on. light tasks "as soon as they could walk"; yet others stated that their children did not become workers before 9, 10 or even 11 years of age. The normal practice seems to be to allow children to accompany their parents at any age, their earnings being added to those of their parents, although in some gardens the managers are accustomed to send home young children found at work with their parents. In many areas children are not normally entered separately in the wag" books as employed persons until about 10 years of age. It was explained to us more than once that managers desired to keep their labour contented by interfering as little as possible with its customs, and that plantation workers, being agriculturalists, were accustomed to allow their children to start work at a very early age. Nevertheless progress has frequently to be made by gradual and tactful interference with customs which, under altered conditions of life and labour, no longer apply with the old force.