Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
A substantial amount of evidence was put before us on the subject of racial discrimination. So far as railways are concerned, the term is generally used to denote discrimination in respect of appointments, pay. promotion and other matters in favour of Europeans or Anglo-Indians: in the case of the latter, communal discrimination would be a more accurate term. When the railways were being built up, the officers and responsible subordinate grades were filled almost exclusively from these classes, and in very early days educated Indians did not seek employment of this character. Until recent years, preference was shown in respect of appointments and other matters to Europeans and Anglo-Indians on all railways and particularly on company-managed railways. With the question of recruitment of officers we an not directly concerned, but it may be remarked that the policy of Indianistation laid down by the Royal Commission on the Superior Civil Services in India in 1924 is now followed. The main field of controversy now is that of appointment to the better-paid subordinate grades. The pre sent position is illustrated in the following table relating to twelve Class I railways:—
|Class of employees.||
|Hindus, Muslims and other Indians.||Total staff.|
|Gazetted officers .||1, 394||160||519||2, 073|
|Subordinates drawing Rs. 250 per month and over||2, 045||3, 777||2, 936||8, 767|
|Subordinates drawing less than Rs. 250 per month||1, 397||10, 064||736.466||747, 926|
|4, 836||14, 001||739, 919||758,766|
It has been stated to us that particular grades of railway service are reserved, in practice if not by rule, for Anglo-Indians and that other Indians seeking employment of that type have to enter on lower pay. Partly in consequence of this, the former class receives advantages in respect of promotion and other matters which are not open to all. On behalf of the Anglo-Indians it has been urged that they have a higher standard of living than other Indians, and that they cannot enter at the low levels.
The Government of India have declared their policy to be the elimination of racial discrimination, and we have been supplied by the:
Railway Board with a memorandum detailing the steps which ha been taken and will be taken to give effect to this policy. So i as those in the service are concerned, the memorandum observes that it is not practicable to withdraw concessions from those who enjoyed them before the policy of the elimination of racial discrimination began to be actively pursued, and this position is not seriously disputed. The question of future recruitment stands in a different category. Here the ordinary principle of recruitment solely on the basis of merit without regard to race or community, is modified in two directions. In the first place, the Government of India, in order secure adequate representation of minority communities, have adopted the policy of reserving one-third of the vacancies in any competitive examination for the redress of marked communal inequalities. In effect this policy means that if the minority communities (i.e., Musalmans, Sikhs and others, including Anglo-Indians) do not obtain a third of the vacancies by simple competition, candidates belonging to these communities who are qualified may be preferred to better qualified candidates of the majority community. In the second place, the Government of India have laid it down that " no step should be taken which would produce a sudden and violent dislocation in the economic life of the Anglo-Indian community " and that " in order to avert this danger, care must be taken in the preparation of schemes for recruitment to the subordinate railway services, not to impose conditions which would in effect seriously restrict the opportunities of employment on the Indian Railways which Anglo-Indians at present enjoy." Our difficulty in dealing with this question is that both of these principles are based on considerations which lie entirely outside our scope. They have been evolved with reference not to labour but to political issues. In consequence, we are not in a position to review the question as a whole; this must be the concern of those who are responsible for general policy, i.e., of the trainers of the constitution, of Governments and of legislatures. We would urge, however, in the interests of labour, the importance of doing all that is possible to remove what is at present a constant source of discontent and bitterness. The Government of India recognise that the second of the two principles does not stand in the same category as the first, in that the elimination of the discrimination involved in it is their definite policy. We believe it to be in the interests of all concerned that definite steps be now taken which will lead in a specified term of years to the progressive elimination of any form of discrimination as regards both appointments and promotions to all grades and classes, thus providing simultaneously for an increasing number of appointments and promotions of members of other communities. All communities would then know precisely where they stood and every year would thus see progress towards elimination.