Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We recommend that, thereafter, the question of framing schemes be referred to a, carefully selected formal committee who might be instructed to examine the material and to make recommendations for the institution, if and where possible, of definite schemes. In the first instance, it may prove advisable to start on a small scale with a view to gaining experience. In instituting measures of this kind, there is a greater possibility of achieving success by building on an existing foundation than by introducing methods which are entirely foreign to the country. The British sickness insurance scheme, for example, was built on the broad foundation of the Friendly Societies with their years of accumulated experience. Nothing of the kind is in existence in India. On the other hand, there is in certain directions, the nucleus of a different form of provision for medical and financial relief in cases of sickness. Government and many private employers already provide medical facilities. In addition, most Government establishments make provision for the grant of leave with pay which can be utilised when the worker is sick. A few employers make some provision for the grant of sick pay and allowances, e.g., the Bihar and Orissa Government stated in 1929 that in the Jharia and Raniganj coalfields, out of 214 working mines, 68 paid sickness allowances. Although the proportion of workers serving private employers who are provided with sickness benefits is extremely small, the Government schemes have made the idea fairly familiar in India. These schemes are non-contributory, hut we have no reason to believe that the collection by employers of reasonable contributions from workers will be a matter of serious difficulty. Pursuing this line, we proceed to give the outline of a possible scheme and commend it for examination.