Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
To a large extent, the building and construction works undertaken by Government are entrusted to contractors, the Public Works Department exercising a general supervision over their execution. At Sukkur over 90% of the workers employed on the Lloyd Barrage and Canals scheme are employed by contractors and in New Delhi the position was very similar. It is fairly generally assumed that, from the point of view of Government, employment through contractors is the only satisfactory method. The objections urged against direct employment are the absence of adequate departmental arrangements for the control of substantial labour forces, the additional cost and the difficulty that confronts Government in making advances, with their attendant risk of loss, to secure labour from a distance. So far as the control of labour is concerned, there is no technical difficulty in making departmental arrangements if necessary, but it would inevitably entail extra staff. With the repeal of the Workmen's Breach of Contract Act, the power of contractors to retain unwilling labour has gone, and both Government and contractors must depend on making conditions attractive. As we show later, the difficulty regarding advances can be surmounted. Thus the question of departmental employment, so far as Government are concerned, reduces itself to one of costs, and most engineers appear to be convinced that, so far as these are concerned, employment through contractors is distinctly advantageous.