Working Conditions of Agricultural Workers: A Reflection of Socio-economic Status

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Issue: Volume 4, Issue 2, 2010

Working conditions of agricultural workers, like industrial, are one of the burning issues in a developing region. It is related to agricultural activities of the workers and their socio-economic status. Working conditions may be both favourable and unfavourable. Those working conditions which are unfavourable to health may be considered as occupational hazards or as a part of occupational environment. It is generally observed that a large section of the agricultural workers remains engaged in agricultural practices at the time of hunger, thirst, pregnancy (women) and even despite their unpleasant state of health, both mental and physical. They also continue to work for more than the prescribed standard hours and also having half-fed. These are not positive or favourable working conditions to their health as they normally cause general weakness, fatigue, stomach disorder, dizziness, headache, loss of energy and some other similar physical, mental and psychological problems. The major driving forces behind as such adverse working conditions and its consequences are the pressure of work, pressure of land owners and of timely completion of works, shortage of manpower, psychological attitude, ignorance, weather constraints, poverty, illiteracy, lack of work related health awareness, lower social and economic status, etc. Such forces compel the workers to be engaged in their agricultural practices under the above circumstance. Adverse working conditions of agricultural workers vary widely with reference to space, time, activities, demographics, society, economy and consequently affect both the mental and physical, social and psychological conditions of the agricultural workers. Persons in varying number in the age groups from 15-34 and 35-49 to 60 & + year were reported working under different types of undesirable working conditions. The people from the S.C. and S.T. categories are the major sufferers as most of them continue their work during different unpleasant and stressful conditions. The majority of working persons belong to lower income strata and most of them work under tiring situation. Female workers from different social groups, particularly the S.C. and S.T., are the worst sufferers because most of them have to work even during pregnancy, ill health and imbalanced diet.

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