Problems of Rural Labour: Bondage, and Migration

Agrarian reforms always get a particular and vital place in transforming India. Problems and atrocities faced by laborers, workers, peasant, sharecroppers, and sub-tenants are more prevalent in rural areas. These people face more susceptible conditions. The rural labor force has only one source of income, i.e., labor work. They work on the land but they do not own any land so far. Another factor responsible for this is that in village areas people are unskilled and lack specialization which compels them to work and sell their labor.

Problems of rural labor:

The problem of low wages and unemployment force people to engage in varied sectors. One of the major dilemmas that are faced by rural labor is the security of tenure. Landlords often escape several rules and regulations to dominate rural workers and they do not get the security of tenure. Secondly, there is disguised unemployment. In villages, poor people are more than the demand. On one land more people are working than required which causes low productivity with less efficiency. So, it reduces their wages drastically. The government has also enacted a minimum wage regulation law however it is not being followed by big landowners. The mode of farming in most of the villages has turned into a capitalist form. Almost all laborers are not able to do with such methods of farming due to a lack of skills and money. They are pushed backward manifolds by these progressive farming techniques. Several other difficulties like issues of non – farm landless labor, artisans, etc. still prevail.

The problem of Bondage:

It is a condition when a person or laborer sells himself/herself to his/her employer for certain economic privileges for a specific or unspecific period. This sounds very unjust and inhuman. This can be stated as part of a system of slavery where a person is not free to share his will. The two basic features of bonded labor are indebtedness and forced labor. According to the National Commission on Rural Labour, there are 4 types of bonded labor practices in India. These are Intergenerationalal bondage, Loyalty bondage, Bondage through the allotment of land and bondage of the distressed widows.

This system is basically due to economic factors that are further supported by social and religious factors. People are extremely poor and they are unable to find the work for their livelihood. The landholdings are not adequate to support their family system. The people are not educated enough about loans and the constant rise in prices leads to other uncertainties. Natural calamities and disasters make it more awful. The social wrongs like caste-based discrimination and the dowry system have put people into heavy debts. The Indian education system is unequal and not compulsory therefore in some areas generations are left uneducated. Religion references are used to make people convinced about the legitimacy of the upper class and lower class differences. These arguments are supported by using religious texts. Such customs banned lower class people from owning land. All these factors make rural laborers more immature, illiterate and unstable. The existence of feudalism is heavily responsible for the continuity of bondage in the agrarian system. Child labor and sexual exploitation are other miseries of bonded labor.

Steps were taken:

  1. Constitution condemns beggar in article 23
  2. Bonded labor System (Abolition) Act 1976
  3. Schemes for the rehabilitation of bonded labors
  4. Steps of NGOs like Sahyog, Sankalp, Bachpan Bachao Andolan and so on.
  5. Various poverty alleviation programs
  6. Checks on feudal systems and caste-based discriminations

Labour Migration:

The socio-economic development of Indian society is very weak. The problem of migration rises when people from rural and backward areas stimulate other areas in search of work. The majority of them are men and from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. They are being extremely poor and landless for many years. This phenomenon is very broad which varies in persons, origin, destinations, and work. It depends on the degree of vulnerability.

Plenty of problems are faced by migrants. Their job contracts are immature and illegal many times. People remain disadvantaged even after these contracts. Payment is often delayed and there is no scope for minimum wage standards. Due to their condition these laborers are forced to accept what an employer is giving. They have no access to BPL cards and shelter. As they migrated from other areas they have no local ration card to avail the benefits of public distribution systems Lack of identity, education and health facilities suppress them more. They are more prone to epidemics and health hazards. Even there is no data available to the authorities so that they can take steps regarding it.

These are some of the major problems faced by rural strata. Immediate steps are required from the government side to look into such matters. Ignorance can lead to other social issues in the future.

References:

https://youtu.be/V56P8GOx9-w         

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