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Report No. 62

10.3. Directive Principles relating to economic justice and conditions of work.-

We have already mentioned1 that the Constitution lays down the Directive Principle2 that the State shall try to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting, as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.

1. Chapter 1, supra.

2. Article 38 of the Constitution.

10.4. In Article 43, the Constitution provides that the State shall endeavour "to secure by suitable legislation to all workers agricultural, industrial or otherwise conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life." This article not only specifically mentions agricultural workers, but also places them in the forefront, thus indicating the desirability of giving a priority to them. any imbalance in their economic condition is likely to have serious repercussions on the general economy of the country. Hence, it is specially necessary that the extension of the Act to them should be considered as an urgent measure of social justice. Their lot was neglected for a long time, in framing welfare legislation. This neglect, during the pre-independence period, may have been due to the fact that much of the legislation relating to welfare of labour was modelled on the lines of the corresponding laws in Western countries, where agriculture did not possess primary importance.

10.5. Economically, agricultural labourers are the poorest.1 Socially, they are the lowest in strata.2 They are not organised. They are heavily in debt. Moreover, We are making these general observations in order to explain the need for expanding the scope of the Act by extending it to agricultural workers.

1. K.K. Ghosh Agricultural Labour in India, (1969), p. 97.

2. K.K. Ghosh Agricultural Labour in India, (1969), p. 79.

10.5A. We may mention that persons employed in agriculture have, in the course of their duties, to subject themselves to various hazards. The following list of the hazardous factors or activities is illustrative only.-

(i) use of pesticides,

(ii) snakes, jackals or other dangerous creatures,

(iii) hazards from bunds or excavation, or

(iv) carrying heavy loads.

Of course, the liability to pay compensation under our proposal will not be confined to accidents arising from these hazards. We have mentioned them merely to emphasise the justifiability of extending the Act to agricultural employment, subject to the criteria to be inserted in that behalf.1

1. Para. 10.11, supra.

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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