Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Whilst the need for extension and expansion of the existing medical facilities cannot be over-emphasised, only limited success has followed the repeated efforts made to rouse public opinion and to induce municipal councils to face the problems associated with adequate medical relief of the people. The time has come when the whole position in urban and industrial areas should be surveyed and an estimate made of the requirements of each, due consideration being given to already existing facilities, whether Governmental, municipal or industrial. We recommend that these surveys should be made by the Government medical departments through their Civil Surgeons and that the information thus made available for each area should be considered at a joint conference of representatives of the three interested parties. While the primary responsibility will and must remain with Government and the local and municipal authorities, we believe that in many cases the employer would prefer to provide medical facilities for his own workers, if he were given some assistance and co-operation from Government and the local authorities. In other cases, with or without aid from Government, the local authority might provide the additional facilities required and recover the cost involved by increased taxation. Decisions on these and other methods could best be made at the conferences we have suggested, as we regard co-ordination of effort to be essential. With the additional powers reserved to themselves under the new Public Health Acts, it should be possible for Governments to ensure that effective steps are taken to provide early relief in the more needy areas. Governments could also enhance general progress by making percentage grants for such additional facilities as they approve. This method to which reference has already been made, would give Governments power to supervise and inspect and to insist on minimum standards. In our opinion it is greatly to be preferred to the system of giving lump-sum grants without subsequent supervision, as it not only maintains a measure of control, but also necessitates the raising of an equivalent amount by local taxation.