Indian National Movement-Factories Acts, Industrial Disputes, Famine and Co-Operative Society

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Factories Acts

The Factory Act -1881 ( 1st Act)

  • Children between age of 7 - 12, were to work for 9 hours/day. Employment of
  • Children below 7 years was prohibited
  • Mid-day meal interval, 4 holidays/month and fencing of machinery in the factory also provided.
  • This act applicable only to factories using mechanical powers, employing not less than 100 works and working for not more than 4 months in a year limitations:
  • In 1890, Indian factory commission appointed and on its report the next factory act of 1891, was passed.

Factory Act-1891 (2nd Act)

  • Minimum age raised from 7 to 9 and between 9 and 14 die work limit was only for
  • 8 hours with no work at night.
  • To women employment at night prohibited and work for 11 hours and 11/2 hrs. of rest allowed.
  • For all workers including male a mid day stoppage and one days rest/week was prescribed
  • The act applied to all factories employing not less than 50 persons
  • In 1906, textile factory and labour committee was appointed and on its report the factory act of 1911 was enacted.

Factory Act-1911 (3rd Act)

  • Certification of children՚s age was required and for the first time hours of work for adult male workers was fixed at 12 hours/day.

Factory Act 1922 (4th Act)

  • It abolished the distinction between textile and non-textile factories
  • All workshops employing more than 20 workers with power were brought under the scope of this act.
  • The minimum age for children was raised to 12 and the working hours of children between ages 12 - 15 had to work for elders 12 hours/day and 60 hrs/work.
  • In 1929, Royal commission on Indian labour was appointed and submitted in report in 1931 and on the basis of its recommendations factory act of 1934.

Factory Act of 1934

  • Distinction drawn between Perennial and seasonal factories,
  • Factory workers divided into 4 categories Adult Males, Adult females, Adolescence (15 - 17) and children (12 - 15)
  • In the case of seasonal factories the maximum limit of 11 hours/day and 60 hours/week was laid down. In the case of perennial factory maximum hours 9/day and 54 hours/week.
  • Maximum hours of the principle of spread over (limitations of the period of consecutive hours in a working day) introduced by the act for the first time.
  • The spread hour limited to 13 hours for adults and 71/2 hours for children and adolescence
  • In 1946, the hours of work in Perennial factories reduced from 54 to 48 and in season factories 60 to 54.
  • The factory act of 1915, further reduced to 48 hours/week and eliminated the distinction between seasonal and perennial factories.

Industrial Disputes

Trade Union Act -1926

It laid down certain conditions regarding registration of trade unions.

The main condition was that at least 50 % of office bearers had to be workers.

The funds of the trade union to be collected only by the recognized unions.

Madras High Court declared trade unions as legal.

Activities not be related to politics and funds not to be

diverted political activities.

Every trade union was required to submit to the register every years to list of office bearers, copy of the rules and an audited statements of receipts and expenditure.

Trade Dispute Act 1929

  • The Act was passed after 1929՚s Bengal Jute Mills strike.
  • It prescribed penalties for public utility servant launching a strike without giving a notice of 14 days.
  • The act declared 2 types of strikes illegal:
  • sympathetic strikes;
  • coercive strikes - those that cause severe hard ships to the public for compelling government to accept the demands of the strikers.
  • The act was involved only 5 times during those years more than 1200 industrial disputes occurred.

Bombay Trade Disputes Conciliation Act - 1934

  • It Mainly applied to cotton textile mills in Bombay city and suburbs.
  • The Act provided not for enquiry or abstention or adjudication but for conciliation only
  • V These acts practically removed industrial strikes and disputes from the city of Bombay.

Bombay Industrial Disputes Act -1938

  • In also was related to cotton textile mills.
  • It made elaborate provisions for re-presentation of workers at there proceedings (both conciliation and arbitration) .
  • Those strikes and lockouts were illegal which were declared without notice or was taken before the end of conciliation period or two months period

Bombay Industrial Relations Act -1947

  • It aimed at the settlement of the industrial disputes more efficiently and quickly and encourage the workers to organise them self.
  • Under this act. The approved trade unions have been given substantial advantages in return for certain obligations.
  • For the first time provision was made to establish Labour Courts.


  • In 1857, the provincial Government took the initiatives to formulate a famine policy. The Government of India appointed Co. Beard Smith to enquire into the causes of the famines and make recommendations relief.
  • In 1866 - 67, the Government of India constituted another committee under the chairman of George Campbell.
  • In 1877 - 78 North Indian had to face famine conditions and in 1878, the C. Government of India set up a 1st famine commission under the chairmanship of Sir Strachey the report was published in 1880 and it suggested preventive and protective measure for famine relief with the following recommendations: i) Taquavi loans to be given to the affected land owners for cultivation; ii) Private trade in food grains was to be free; iii) Suspension and remission of land revenue were to be given on fairly liberal terms in keeping with the intensity of the famine officiating the area.
  • In 1896, the 2nd Famine Commission constituted under Sir J. B. Lyell՚s Chairman Ship. It submitted its report in 1898 with recommending the following:
  • freer grant of gratuitous relief in Village;
  • More liberal remission of land revenue;
  • Special attention to the weaker section like weavers and tribals.
  • In 1901,3rd famine Commission was appointed under Sir Anthony Mac Donald.
  • it gave the recommendation regarding introduction of cooperative societies and tried to encourage the principle of self help and extension of state irrigation and the policy of prudent boldness constant vigilance preparation of sufficiently large plans for relief and enlistment of nonofficial support.
  • In 1944, Wood-head commission was appointed to enquire the causes of Bengal famine of 1943.
  • It pointed out that the local shortage of food grains because of export was responsible for this famine the commission recommended monopoly procurement of food grains by the state and distribution of food grains through fair-price shops.
  • In 1919, famine became a provincial subject.

Co-Operative Society

  • F. Nicholson appointed by Madras Government to conduct a special enquiry for the establishment of co-operative credit societies.
  • In U. P. , Dupernex was appointed to enquire the problems of rural credit.
  • In 1904, Lord Curzon appointed a committee under Edward Law on whose recommendations Co-operative Credit Societies Act was passed and the co-operative movement in India began.
  • Under the Act of 1904, at least 10 members could start for a group of villages or village or for a caste a co-operative credit society.

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