Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We are writing at a time when circumstances, both economic and political, are exceptional. In the economic sphere India, in common with many other countries, is facing a period of stress. Indian industry is involved in the general depression, and many of the industries with which we are concerned are facing serious difficulties which, we hope, will soon be surmounted. With orderly progress in India, her industry should have a great future. But the present position is one of anxiety for industrialists, for many workers and for all concerned in Government. We have considered the extent to which we should allow our recommendations to be influenced by the events of the last year, and have concluded that it would be wrong for us to give these any large influence. India has the right to expect from us, not a series of recommendations framed in the light of the existing crisis, but a considered programme for the development of labour policy. As a matter of fact nearly all our evidence relates to conditions in 1929 or early 1930, before the present crisis developed. Our survey, therefore, is a survey of conditions as they then stood and, for the most part, our recommendations are framed with reference to circumstances as they then existed. If the execution of some of the changes we advocate is made more difficult by reason of the present position, others are thereby rendered more easy to introduce. Some recommendations involve no expense, others call for financial outlay; but, as a whole, they are calculated to secure increased prosperity. It is sometimes assumed that good conditions for labour involve a sacrifice for industry. But, in the experience of India, there is abundant evidence to show that a generous policy in respect of labour is a wise policy in respect of industry. It is not possible for India to secure a permanent advance for her industries at the expense of her labour, and we are confident that this is far from her desire. In the views submitted to us, the suggestion that cheap labour is a national asset was seldom made. On the contrary, there is widespread recognition of the fact that industrial activity finds its strength and much of its justification in the prosperity of all who contribute to it. We have attempted to exercise as much foresight as we can, and we believe that the principles underlying our recommendations are likely to abide; but we have not attempted to anticipate the problems and difficulties of a future generation.