Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Important causes contributing to the present situation are the lack of co-ordination between the parties concerned and the apparent doubt as to where the responsibility should lie. The efforts made by some employers seem to have encouraged a tendency to leave the whole problem to them, whilst some municipalities tend to look to Government to raise, from the people as a whole, funds which should be found locally. The position demands immediate attention, not only from Governments and local authorities, but also from organised industry and this public, since all are deeply concerned. We consider that, in the first place, every provincial Government should take the initiative by making a survey of its urban and industrial areas in order to be possessed of exact information as to their most urgent needs. Each Government should then arrange for conferences with all the interested parties in order that decisions could be taken in regard to practicable schemes and the methods by which their cost could be shared. We support the recommendation made by the Indian Industrial Commission that local authorities should be responsible for the proper development and layout of industrial areas and for the provision and maintenance of proper sanitary conditions. We believe that many industrial concerns would be prepared to co-operate with the authorities in schemes in which the financial burden was shared. Where suitable Government land is available, we think that Governments should be prepared to sell or lease it to those who agree to build houses within a specified period. The fact that many employers have already spent large sums in providing decent houses for their own workers suggests that this method would succeed. for it need not be anticipated that in the future employers will prove less public-spirited than in the past. In order to encourage their activities in this direction and to relieve them of at least part of the burden they have assumed, we consider that Governments should announce their willingness to subsidise, in this or in other ways, housing schemes advanced by employers after these have received their approval. Such action neither removes responsibility from the Government or from public authorities nor prevents them from taking independent action. At the same time it would ease the burden, particularly in the smaller industrial areas, and would promote that combination of public and private effort without which it will be impossible to make progress.
The whole question depends primarily on whether Government is able to assist, for the cost involved is the crux of the whole position.