Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The available statistics give little or no indication of the effects of overcrowding and congestion on the town-dweller, although it is common knowledge that both sickness and mortality rates are enhanced thereby. Another index of health conditions is the infantile mortality rate. High infantile mortality is closely associated with ignorance and poverty, as the figures for the general population, amounting to 200 to 250 per 1, 000 births, show only too clearly. The infantile mortality rate for Bombay city in 1929 was 298 per 1, 000 births and recent reports on the health conditions of Madras and Rangoon give rates of 300 to 350 per 1, 000 for certain parts of these cities. But the common custom of expectant mothers returning to their villages for the birth of their infants introduces a vitiating factor in the statistics of urban and industrial areas, the effects of which it is usually difficult to estimate. An enquiry carried out at our suggestion by the Bombay Labour Office in 1930 shows that this factor is by no means negligible; for, in a group of 2, 458 births investigated, the infantile death rate was increased from 230 to 268 per 1, 000 births when it was taken into account. These large additions to an already excessive mortality cannot, therefore, be wholly attributed to the evil effects of urban life, although there can be little doubt that they are partly responsible.