Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We now proceed to consider the possibility of making the worker's earnings more effective by diverting his expenditure into more profitable channels. Here it is necessary to guard against too easy an assumption that the worker's money can be better spent by some other person. But there arc two items of expenditure in connection with which unprejudiced observers would agree that protection is required. By far the more important of these is the expenditure involved in the liquidation of and payment of interest on debt, and this raises questions of importance and difficulty which must be reserved for another chapter. The other item is the expenditure on drink. The consumption of drink, and particularly of spirituous liquors, may be said to be a feature of the majority of industrial areas and has created considerable havoc in some of them. It is not possible to give accurate figures of expenditure under this head, because the worker who drinks is in many cases naturally reluctant to give information regarding his consumption or even to admit that he is not a total abstainer. For this reason the results yielded by family budget enquiries are certainly under-estimates, even though nearly all show a substantial amount. Various influences have recently been at work to reduce consumption. The drinking of intoxicating liquor is repugnant alike to the religious beliefs and the social opinions of many persons in India, and there is a large section of public opinion in favour of the prohibition of its manufacture and sale. On the opposite side there are the arguments based on the impossibility, especially in India, of preventing wholesale illicit manufacture, and on both the rightness and the wisdom of coercing people to abstain. In this report we are dealing with only a small section of the population, and it is no part of our function to attempt to indicate a national policy on the subject. But there can be no doubt that a reduction in the consumption of liquor would increase the welfare and efficiency of the industrial workers.