Year: 2021 | Month: March | Volume 66 | Issue 1
Growth of Agricultural Labourers in West Bengal with Special Reference to Uttar Dinajpur District since Independence
Tapan Kumar Roy
Agricultural Labourers from the poorest section of the rural population in India as well as in West Bengal. In numerical terms, they constitute about one-fourth of the total work force. Their number has been rising faster than the rate of growth of rural population. By the term agricultural labourers we mean a person who sells his/her labour power to work to another person’s land for wages in money, kind or a share of the crop. According to the 1991 Census definition, “a person who works on another person’s land for wages – in money, kind or share of crop is regarded as an agricultural labourer. He or she has no risk in cultivation, but merely works on another person’s land for wages. An agricultural labourer has no right of lease or contract on the land on which he or she works”. (Census of India, 1991, paper – III of 1991, p. 6). Thus the Census definition clearly excludes tenants as well as marginal farmers and includes only landless labourers. The definition adopted by us would be broader in the sense that it would include all those for whom sale of labour power in the agricultural sector is a source of livelihood. At the dawn of independence, the economy of West Bengal was characterized not only by a high percentage of landless agricultural labourers in its rural work force but also by a sizeable class of marginal holding peasants. This paper tries to inquire in some detail the causes of the high rate of growth of agricultural labourers in West Bengal as well in the district of Uttar Dinajpur.
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