For instance let us be informed of the fact that a railway is to be opened, a canal dug, or some other public work constructed in a particular district, we should be able to calculate from our returns the amount of labor that could conveniently be withdrawn from existing channels, and the amount that would have to be imported.
We should be able to constitute a Solomon’s levy (voluntary of course), and the laborers would have the assurance that when the work on which they were engaged was concluded, sufficient provision would be made for their reemployment elsewhere, or for their restoration to their ordinary occupation. Our Labor Bureau would thus do for the laborer what is at present impossible for him to do for himself, and would economise his time to the utmost.
(2.) Off to the Tea Gardens—
We should be able again to supply the Tea and Coffee Districts with gangs of laborers, and should guard the interests of both employer and employed. The former would be supplied with picked laborers at the ordinary market rate, without the worry, delay and expense of having to procure them for themselves. The latter would be kept in communication with their families, and could be worked in “courses” on Solomon’s plan.
(3.) Land along the Railways—
Among other proposals General Booth suggests that the land along the Railway lines might well be utilised for the purpose of spade husbandry. There seems no reason why these extensive strips of often fertile soil should be left to go to waste, conveniently situated as they are on borders of the main arteries of commerce and in close vicinity to stations.
(4.) Improved methods of Agriculture—
This is a subject which deserves a chapter to itself in a country like India. If it be true that there are millions of acres of waste land that are only waiting to be cultivated to yield a rich return, it is equally notorious that by improved methods of agriculture the present produce of the soil may be doubled and trebled. To this subject we intend to pay the full attention that it deserves, making the best possible use of Native experience and European science. We shall be in a peculiarly favorable situation for experiments on a large scale. But this is a subject on which we cannot at present do more than touch, reserving for a future period the elaboration of schemes which will doubtless have an enormous reflexive effect upon the whole of India, and thus materially increase the wealth of the entire country and the revenue of the Government.
THE OVER-SEA COLONY.
As in England, so in India, the establishment of a colony over the sea will in the end prove the necessary completion of our scheme for supplying work to the workless. There are sure to be found eventually in overcrowded centres many for whom work at home cannot be found, and for whom vast reaches of unoccupied territories in other lands wait to afford a home.