Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Some of those who have considered the question of raising the standard of living have been impressed by the possibilities which are offered by welfare activities, with their indirect effect on that standard. We believe that there are great opportunities for the extension of welfare work in India, and that in few directions is expenditure of money and thought so certain to give valuable results. There are benefits of great importance which the worker is unable to secure for himself, such as decent housing, adequate sanitation, efficient medical attention and the education of his children, and an advance of State activity should be looked for in these directions. There is a difficulty in that the industrial workers form only a small fraction of the population and it is difficult to justify any elaborate and expansive extension of State services for their exclusive benefit. In present circumstances, therefore, further advance must depend to a considerable extent on the co-operation of employers with other sections of the community. It is precisely the fact that the workers have been brought together in an industrial area which creates many of the problems of health, housing, recreation, etc., with which they are faced. For this reason, we are strongly in favour, at the present juncture, of a more general extension on the part of the employer of welfare work in its broader sense. It is advisable to remember that there is a danger in giving to welfare what should go in wages and so depriving the worker of independence and of the educative experience which comes from having a margin after necessities have been met. But ordinarily there is no question of choosing between raising wages and developing welfare activities. Employers who have done most in the way of welfare work do not usually pay lower wages than their neighbours. Indeed, welfare work is generally associated with wages higher than are paid in corresponding establishments where no such work is attempted. Extensive welfare schemes may be regarded as a wise investment which should, and usually does, bring in a profitable return in the form of greater efficiency.