Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Taking first the question of the smaller factories using power machinery, i.e., those employing under 20 persons, the most important points requiring attention are the unsuitable and even unsafe nature of the buildings in which the machinery is erected and the lack of adequate and indeed often of any, protective guards to shafting, belting and machinery. The dangerous possibilities of the latter are sometimes accentuated by the inadequacy or unsuitability of the lighting provided, but fortunately night work is not common. It has, moreover, to be borne in mind that, up to the present, workers employed in such places have been without the protection of the Workmen's Compensation Act. which has hitherto applied only to power driven factories employing 20 or more persons. Owing to the absence of any obligations to report accidents in unregulated factories, the number of serious or minor accidents is not ascertainable, but the number of fatal accidents is believed to be small In addition to mechanical defects there is a marked absence of adequate sanitary arrangements both as regards latrines and washing conveniences More than one instance came to our notice where the existing conveniences were used for general storage purposes. Finally both the age at which a child may be employed in such places and the hours of labour of all workers are unregulated, though there is reason to believe that no ap preciable abuse of child labour exists, owing to the work being in most cases unsuited to them. In the aggregate the proportion of women employed is also small. Moreover the hours of work, though frequently covering a big spreadover, are normally not excessive as discipline is much laxer than in the large factories and the atmosphere is more that of the domestic workshop than of the factory proper.
The number of establishments of this kind cannot be given with complete accuracy since, unlike the position in respect of the bigger factories, the aggregate number is considerable and fluctuates continuously. But, from approximate figures furnished to us by most of the local Governments, we estimate that the number which employ more than nine and less than twenty persons is not less than two thousand.