Labour Bureau
Government of India
R E P O R T

ONEVALUATION STUDIES ON IMPLEMENTATION OF

THE MINIMUM WAGES ACT, 1948 

IN BIDI MAKING ESTABLISHMENTS IN
MADHYA PRADESH

CHAPTER III

PATTERN OF EMPLOYMENT

3.1  INTRODUCTION

3.1.1  The main objective of evaluation study is to assess the extent of implementation of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 in Bidi Industry. But to assess this, it is important to study the pattern of employment in this industry.The bidi making is a highly labour intensive industry and is dominated by Bidi Rollers. Though the occupation of bidi rolling appears to be easier as the conditions of sweating do not exist, yet it is arduous, as it needs long sitting hours. The employers and employees in the bidi making establishments can be placed under two broad categories.On the one hand, we have the Principal Employers and Bidi Workers covered under various labour laws and well accustomed to the industrial culture and record keeping while on the other hand there are Contractors and sub-Contractors or middlemen operating under informal arrangements generally with more than 90 percent of the labour working as 'Bidi Rollers' operating from their own dwellings. The Bidi workers fall in the category of premises or factory workers engaged in sorting, checking, packing, baking, labelling, tobacco mixing, distribution of raw material etc. A majority of the Bidi Rollers are female workers who supplement their family incomes by rolling bidis in their own dwellings alongside their other obligations towards the family members.These female Bidi Rollers could put in even longer hours of work to give higher output.The nature of work of Bidi Rollers operating from their own dwellings makes it difficult to establish employer-employee relationship between the Bidi Rollers and the principal employers or even the Contractors.The workers engaged in the establishments covered by the study have mostly been classified into the categories for which wages had been notified by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.The pattern of employment of the ‘bidi workers’ and ‘Bidi Rollers’ in the bidi establishments covered in the study is presented in Tables 3.1 and 3.2.

3.2   BIDI WORKERS

3.2.1   The Government of Madhya Pradesh had notified the minimum wages for employees in “Tobacco (Including bidi making) Manufactories”, classified into three groups, viz., Skilled, Semi-Skilled and Unskilled. The strict classification of these workers according to the operations is not possible as these bidi workers engaged within the premises of the establishments have to perform any of the operations in progress depending upon the exigencies of work. The task of bidi making involves many types of workers like Labellers, Packers, Taraiwala, Sorters, Bhattiwala, Clerks, Sorters, Checkers and Raw Material Distributors besides Bidi Rollers.The distribution of bidi workers according to the operations performed by them is given in Table 3.1.By and large the operations performed by the “bidi workers” have remained a monopoly of the male employees.

Table 3.1 Category-wise Pattern of Employment in the Establishments Covered

Category of bidi Workers
Sl. No.
Stratum/ District
Sekai Wala
Wrapper/ Labeller/ Bundle Maker
Taraiwala/ Sorter/ Checker
Raw Material Distributor
Clerk

Gr. I/

Gr. II

Total
1.
Stratum I

Sagar

19(5.5)
198(57.4)
93(27.0)
3(0.9)
32(9.2)
345(100.0)
2.
Stratum II

Jabalpur,Satna,

16(4.8)
191(57.9)
73(22.1)
6(1.8)
44(13.4)
330(100.0)
3.
Stratum II

Gwalior, Datiya and Vidisha

10(9.9)
56(55.4)
22(21.8)
5(5.0)
8(7.9)
101(100.0)
4.
Stratum IV

Balaghat

6(9.0)
17(25.4)
23(34.3)
2(3.0)
19(28.3)
67(100.0)
5.
Stratum V

Bhopal, Indore, Devas, Ujjain and Hoshangabad

13(8.3)
49(31.4)
71(45.5)
7(4.5)
16(10.3)
156(100.0)
Total
64(6.4)
511(51.2)
282(28.2)
23(2.3)
119(11.9)
999(100.0)

Note: - Figures in brackets indicate percentages to total in a Stratum.

3.3  Bidi Rollers

3.3.1  They are the backbone of the bidi industry.Normally they develope the skills of bidi rolling since their childhood.In the State of Madhya Pradesh all of them were home workers, mostly females operating from their dwellings.The Bidi Rollers collected raw material from the Employers or Contractors, rolled the bidis in their dwellings and delivered the green bidis at the collection centres.The distribution of the Bidi Rollers according to sex is given in Table 3.2.It will be seen from the table that the proportion of females amongst Bidi Rollers worked out to 75.8 percentand the remaining24.2 percent were registered male Bidi Rollers.

Table 3.2  Distribution of Bidi Rollers in the Establishments Covered by sex. (Employers’ Version)
 
Sl. No.
Stratum/ District
Male
Female
Total
1
Stratum I

Sagar

1528(29.0)
3741(71.0)
5269(100.0)
2.
Stratum II

Jabalpur,, Satna

1689(21.0)
6374(79.1)
8063(100.0)
32
Stratum II

Gwalior, Datiya and Vidisha 

137(12.3)
979(87.7)
1126 (100.00)
4.
Stratum IV

Balaghat

671(30.0)
1567(70.0)
2238 (100.0)
5.
Stratum V

Bhopal, Indore, Devas, Ujjain& Hoshangabad

387(24.5)
1194(75.5)
1581(100.0)
Total
4412(24.2)
13855(75.8)
18267(100.0)

Note:Figures in brackets indicate percentage to total in a Stratum.

EXHIBIT 3  Distribution of Total Bidi rollers in the Establishments Covered

By Sex-Employers Version(3.2)


 

3.4   Helpers

 3.4.1   Bidi rolling is an occupation that requires special skills, which are acquired by practice rather than training.The home workers engaged in bidi rolling generally got active assistance from their dependants in bringing the raw material, wetting and cutting the tendu leaves and finally rolling bidis.These invisible workers known as helpers contribute about 42.0 percenttowards the total production without featuring in the labour force.In the course of time as they develop the requisite skills, they become Bidi Rollers.It was observed that the registered Bidi Rollers managed to give higher outputs by getting the bidis rolled from the unregistered Bidi Rollers in their families and neighbourhood. They reaped the benefits of higher production by way of commissions from the employers and Contractors while the helpers were paid much below the prescribed wage levels.It may not be out of place to mention here that these helping dependants were in need of protection and welfare under various schemes as they are the most vulnerable and exploited lot next to the Bidi Rollers in this industry.They were available for rolling bidis howsoever low the level of wages was.

**** End of Chapter 3 *****