Report No. 62
10.12. Views received from States by Ministries.-
Before we took up the question of revision of the entire Act, we had taken up suo motu the limited question of extension of the Act to employment in agriculture, and our tentative proposals on the subject were circulated for comments to the Ministry concerned and to State Governments and others. From the comments which we received from the Ministry of Labour,1 it appears that the Ministry had also circulated a similar proposal to States. That Ministry has been good enough to furnish us with a gist of the comments received from State Governments, as well as a list of the hazardous employments in agriculture as forwarded by various States. We have studied those lists, and, while we find that many of the items suggested in the lists are substantially covered by existing items in the Second Schedule, a few are not so covered.
1. Comments of the Ministry of Labour, Deptt. of Labour and Rehabilitation (17 October, 1973).
10.13. It was observed from the replies received from the State Governments1 that some State Governments were not favourably inclined to the proposal for extension of the provisions of the Act to the workmen employed in agriculture. The arguments given by them against the proposal were broadly on the following lines:-
(i) Many agriculturists have small holdings, and they will not be in a position to bear the expenditure on payment of compensation under the Act;
(ii) Scattered nature of employment, illiteracy among the employers, and employees, and poor means of communication to reach the place of employment will present a difficulty of considerable magnitude in the administration and execution of the provisions of the Act;
(iii) In agriculture, as opposed to industrial type of work, the manual work is not directly exposed to hazards and hence does not involve risk to life, except when farming through mechanised system is done by making use of tractors etc. digging of channels, making of bunds etc. which are already covered under the Act.
1. Para. 10.11, supra.
10.14. We have taken all these points into consideration. We hope that the limited recommendations which we are going to make will avoid the difficulties said to be likely to arise. As we have already point out1, our intention is to cover only those employers who can afford to bear the expense.
1. Para. 10.11, supra.