Plantation industries are large scale includes high investment employing wage worker that impacts on profit. Plantation believes special important on source of foreign exchange due to its involvement to the employment of millions of plantation workers. Women are largely engaging in plantation work, it is well known that plantation economy has its own unique economic configuration and is historically connected with bondage and oppression. The labour system associated with migrant nature along with social distributions and the distant locations of the plantations have made plantations labour to exclude from social and economic exclusion. It is well known that plantation sector is exposed to severe crisis due to erosion of international competitiveness. The position of farming division in the Indian economy is fine understood. Though, despite huge investments and a large amount vaunted technical progress, agricultural division has observed additional or less stable growth tempo over most of the previous five decades. Significant concern has been spoken over signs of deceleration in this part during the previous decade. As such it has been correctly sharp out that critical assessment of past growth practice and the factors underlying the determinedly slow increase is, therefore, significant for enhanced appreciation of the constraints impeding agricultural development, which is necessary to redesign prospect programmes and policies (Vaidyanathan, 2010).
The Plantation Sector is a significant contributor not only to the national income as a source of export earnings but also as a contributor towards the employment of millions of people (2 million in India) including to a large extent women and hence occupies an important place in the social and economic planning of the country (Nirmala & Anand, 2016).
The plantation sector consists of tea, coffee, rubber and cardamom. It occupies an important place in India’s economy. The term ‘Plantation’ has been defined under the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 to include any plantation to which the Act, whether wholly or in parts, applies and includes offices, hospitals, dispensaries, schools and other premises used for any purpose connected with such plantation. Section 1(4) of the Act applies to any land used or intends to be used for growing tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona and cardamom which measures 5 hectares or more and in which fifteen or more persons are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months (Plantation Labour Act, 1951). The Plantation unit is an important contributor to the national income through the both way of export earning and employment opportunity to millions of job seekers in India, together with a large degree of women employees and therefore Plantation sectors occupies a major place in planning (Anand & Nirmala, 2016).
The special characteristic plantation labour is operated in open air, for this reasons women are employed in large scale than factories. Work in plantation is based on unskilled and women from distance rural area used for this kind of employment. One of the unique characteristic of labour in tea, coffee and cardamom plantations is that recruitment of labour is on family basis from remote rural areas because majority of plantations are located at distance area of high altitudes where labours are not available easily. Migrant labour force is required where whole families are frequently employed. Wages of labours are less than other agriculture employment, every member of the family looks employment in plantations for economic reason. There is difference in wages based on gender, women are paid less than man and are therefore employed in large number.
In the plantation sector labours earn a regular income to support family,
Nature of Employment in Plantations
The important work in tea plantation is plucking of tea leaves. The cultivating of tea leaves from the greenery in plantation is done by cautiously snapping off the tender shoot between the thumb and first finger. Two third of the total labour days in plantation (Tea and Coffee) are usually assigned to plucking of leaves or bean. Majority women labours are engaged themselves plucking of tea leaves or coffee bean because of they are believed smarter than men in this type of employment and also they are more committed in their work and more regular. A wife of married man becomes a permanent labour, she is kept lastingly available for employment as and when there is demand. And the children can also used for cheap labour.
1.1 Distribution of Plantation
In India plantation cultivations are largely operated in North East, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal states. The plantation division of India is exposed to increased international contest. Competitiveness of a product is not only important from export point of view; it is similarly significant to stay alive in the domestic market (Nagoor, 2010).
Plantation oriented cultivation is a part of agriculture sector and plantation crops like tea and coffee are export oriented commodities; it contributes to foreign exchange earnings. In India major plantation crops are coconut, cashew nut tea, coffee and rubber. Rubber, coffee and tea are comes under the Ministry of Commerce and coconut and cashew nut are under the Ministry of Agriculture. The Plantation Sector in India is contributes to the employment both directly and indirectly through its forward and backward linkages. According to the estimates of Ministry of commerce more than two million people are engaged in plantation sector directly and six million are indirectly engaged in plantation sector (Gholam & Indira, 2013).
The commercial plantations of coffee, tea, spices and rubber was established by the European planters in early 19th century, and development of commercial plantation took greater importance in India after Independence by Government of India and the respective state governments have took diverse schemes, policy and institutional support measures including setting up of various Commodity Boards like Coffee
Board, Tea Board and the Rubber Board were established in 1942, 1953 and 1954 respectively (Viswanath & Amith, 2013) (Viswanathan, 2008).
Table 1: Plantation Harvested Area in India
Source: Food and Agriculture organization United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2017)
a. Coffee Plantation
In India coffee cultivation has 400 years of history. A pilgrim of Moslem, Bababudan, is credited with secretly bringing back seven fresh coffee seeds from a pilgrimage to the holy land. He have planted these seeds in Chandradrona mountain cave in Chikkamagalur District, in the Mysore growing region, now considered the cradle of Indian coffee. This traditional coffee growing was converted as a commercial cultivation in 1840 from the British by establishing Arabica coffee plantations throughout the mountains of Southern India. They found the tropical climate, high altitude, sunny slopes, ample rainfall, soil rich in humus content, and well drained sub soil ideal for Arabica coffee cultivation (JOSUMA, 2012). Because of interest of British planters on coffee, large coffee estates were formed at Mysore region in 1826, Wynad and Shevoroys in 1930 and 1839 in Nilgiris of Tamilnadu (Pooja, 2017). At present Coffee is cultivated in an area of around 4.07 lakh ha largely in the traditional areas covering the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, these states are contributes around 98 percent of the total production of the country and even coffee is also encouraged in nontraditional areas of Andrapradesh, Odisha and North East with main importance on tribal development and afforestation (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, 2012). Currently, there are over 52,000 coffee gardens giving employment to 2.5 million persons. Coffee cultivation in India concentrated in the hill stations of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala, among them Karnataka occupying 71 percentage of total production of Coffee followed by Kerala 21 percentage and 5 percent occupied by Tamilnadu (Coffee Board, 2017). Shade coffee cultivation is finest coffee rather than direct sunlight anywhere in the world (Kenneth, 2010). The world coffee market occupies 3.6 percentage, Karnataka account for 70 percent of India’s total Coffee Production. Around 250000 growers are engaged in Coffee industry among them 98 percentage are small growers (Kouvelis & Neiderhoff, 2007). Nearly 1.5 Million families are directly engaged in coffee industry (Titus & Pereira, 2004). In southern India coffee was cultivated chronologically as follows in Nilgiris in 1838: the Hassan and Kadur (Chikkamgaluru) districts of Mysore in the 1840s; and Coorg in 1854 (Kooiman, 1989).
b. Tea Plantation
Tea Plantation in India established by British East India Company by to break monopoly of China on Tea and encouraged any European to by offering land in Assam to cultivate tea for export and it was spread to Himalaya region of Darjeeling, Nilgiris in South India and Cylone (Sen, 2004). During the 1860 to 1866 20,00000o pound tea per year was exported to England (Willson & Cifford, 1992). In South India Dr.Christi was experimented tea in Nilgiris of Tamilnadu in 1832 and Lord William Bentinck recommended Calcutta Tea Company to cultivate 2000 tea seeds in Nilgiris, tea was took as a commercial crop along with coffee in late 1840s (Swaminathan, J.B, S, Kanthaswami, & Raamoorthi, 1990). The tea cultivation in South India started by Mr.Man at Conoor and later it was extended to Nilgiris by Britishers they used Chinese prisoners for cultivation in these area. In 1878 tea cultivation was started in Kannan Devan hill by a European called Sharp (Swaminathan, et al, 1990).
1.2 Labour Composition and Recruitment of Workers in Plantation Sectors
a. Mobilization of Labour for Plantation Work in Early Colonial Period
British east India Company planned to cultivate tea to break monopoly of Chinese in the production of Tea (Sen, 2004), high labour intensive was required to dense forests infested with wild animals, to prepare land, hoeing, planting, weeding and plucking tea leaf need to be done. The plantations were requires large labour force to work and the strange characteristics of plantation industries are, it demands not only men for work but also women and children in the family (Phukan, 1984).
b. Recruitment in Plantation Sector
Early Colonial Period
Planters were had a control over labour recruitment with support of government and violence was used to supply of labourers and transfer them to the tea gardens and penal contract labour was enacted to ensure the smooth operation of the process of obtaining labour for the plantation work (Tinker, 1974), these kinds of recruitment polity mobilsed multi-caste, multi lingual labour for work in plantation sector (Guha, 1977). This recruitment system was made tribal and peasants migrated to the plantation areas along with their families and their relations with their traditional surroundings were almost denied to perform (Gupta, 1986). The migrant plantation labourers were belonged to different ethnic group and surrounded by local indigenous people, and this made it comparatively simple to keep labourers under control. And they were segregated in ‘coolie’ lines houses and remained under severe surveillance (Royal Commission on Labour in India, 1946).
The Major sources of labour supply to the plantations during early period were the slave caste (Scheduled caste) and tribes, non-tribal migrants from villages hit by deprivation and other natural disaster, and the attached labourers of the plains released by the landlords. Plantation requires large amount of laboure force in the early period of establishment by the British, it has been analysed that important reason behind abolition of slavery by the British Indian Government in 1843 was to fulfill the requirement of labour force to newly established plantations and mines (Kurup, 1984).
c. Laboure Source for Plantation in Early period
High Revenue area people
Drought Area People
Drought area people were also another source of labour for plantation work. In the period of 1876 to 1878 a greater drought hit on Madras presidency which made a huge number of villagers was from the lower castes to migrate to the plantations for employment (Sarada Raju, 1941). It was estimated that, in 1877 there were 3.5 lakh persons were searching for jobs in the plantation areas of the Kolar, Hassan, Wayanad and Nilgiris. During 1881 the famine commissioner of Madras presidency estimated that 50 thousand workers from Mysore migrated to Plantations during harvesting season (Report of South India Planter enquiry Committee, 1896).
Slavery was important laboure force to the development of plantation, but after the abolition of slavery, the plantation owners faced a big labour crisis (Prasad & Kanakarathnam, 2015).
d. History of the Plantation
1.3 The country is newer, and the problem of recruitment is easier because in Madras Province, and especially in Malabar, there is a great mass of labour seeking work. The existence of “distressed” areas, where poverty was extreme and perennial, facilitated recruitment at the outset. The labour comes to the estates and returns to a near-by home once a year, for the tea year is a ten-month year and in the two idle months the workers go home. This is the in- land side of that great overseas movement which until recently took place year by year from the west coast of Madras to the rice fields of the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma (Fay, 1936).D1
1.4 Method of Recruitment
a. Labour Recruitment
i. At beginning State
During the pre-independent period, recruitment in the plantations of South India was through the intermediaries called kanganies, who were themselves, erstwhile workers in the gardens. Because of their contacts or ability to work or get work done, they were engaged to bring labour for which they received a commission from the workers they brought. A distinct feature of recruitment was that the unit of recruitment was the family and not the individual.
Though the system of recruitment through kanganis was abolished and lost its importance during the post-independent period, it still continues in certain estates. Many estates have settled labour of a generation or more, and on that account, local labour is available for recruitment. A large number of D2 workers are employed as casual labour or through contractors. As permanent workers usually reside on the estates, they are in a position to introduce their unemployed relatives whenever vacancies occur. Those who have worked as casual labourers are given preference in recruitment as permanent workers. Trade unions and their leaders have a say in recruiting new labourers.
ii. Recruitment at Present
1.5 Recruitment Association
1.6 Plantation Laboures
Plantation workers were oppressed by the European Planters in Srilanka, plantation labour formed a very downtrodden class without knowing social development in their entire life, they were kept isolated in line rooms, and remote from the Kandyan (UTHR, University Teachers for Human Rights, 2015).
1.7 Laboure Migration to the Plantation
In the early 1850 plantation sector in South India depended on migrant labours. Due to the drought and poverty compelled laboures to depend largely on Plantations. The British planters were used this situation, they cast their network wide in the drought hit areas of Tamil Districts like Salem, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Trichy, Cimbotore and Ramnad (Daniel, 1981).
In Ceylon there are, from an agricultural standpoint, four distinct divisions of population: (1) the European commercial and planting community; (2) the native Sinhalese, who are the officials, the lawyers, and the ordinary agriculturists of the island, but though some Sinhalese are employed incidentally on the estate, they are rarely part of its labour force; (3) the old immigrants from South India, the Jaffna Tamils, who are also agriculturists- Jaffna being a rich agricultural district which, inter alia, grows tobacco for the South Indian market; (4) the estate labourers, also Tamils from India, who supply the labour force of the estates. It is estimated that in 1935 the estate population of men, women and children numbered 688,000, or one-ninth of the island population. The movement of labour is strictly controlled, and there are no abuses. They have paid in the past periodic visits to their old homes, but more and more the younger workers are coming to regard the estate where they work and perhaps were born as their homeD3 .
In South India the methods of wage payment (16 annas = R.1, 1 anna = a penny) are as follows A male worker earns 6 to 7 annas a day and is given a definite task of digging, etc., to perform in the working day. The women work by piece-rate, so much per pound of green leaf plucked.
In the hot weather, when the crop is short, they may earn only 2 to 3 annas a day, but in the flush season perhaps a rupee. Under restriction the working week is a five-day one, with no plucking on Saturday or Sunday. The earnings of the worker are not, however, paid out each day or week, or even each month. They are credited to him or her on the worker’s check roll account and paid out as follows: each week to each man and woman 4 annas for the whole week (also 2 to each working child), this payment being called selvado, together with a ration of rice, say 11 annas’ worth per adult worker. During the season one or more advances will be made to enable the worker to pay off village debts or to incur some outlay, such as purchasing a marriage sari (dress).
Finally, at the end of the season, the worker draws a lump sum in cash, being the balance of what is due to him after all deductions. This sum the workers take home with them, but it is said that many are already so greatly in debt to a near-by moneylender or trader that the lump sum earned is in their possession only for a moment.