Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
One fact which stands out from the outline we have given is that the action taken by the parties concerned—employers, Government and local bodies is in inverse ratio to their responsibility. Employers have done most; municipal councils least. The latter are primarily responsible for the health of their citizens, and that responsibility cannot be discharged in the industrial cities unless a vigorous attempt is made to improve housing. We are not unmindful of the difficulties in the way of municipalities. Their resources are limited and the raising of fresh taxation, particularly for the housing of the working classes, is not a simple task in present conditions. The inaction of most municipal councils reflects, we fear, only too accurately the apathy of the bulk of the electors, and this apathy would, in many cases, become active opposition if taxation were enhanced to finance housing schemes. Further. municipalities have been ill-equipped on the executive side for attacking such large and complex problems as those involved in the construction of houses on a large scale; where they have constructed any houses, their efforts have been concentrated on their own employees. Again. it has to be remembered that the conception that the provision of good housing is a duty of the community is a comparatively new one in any country, and it would be unreasonable to lay stress on. the failure to accept it in past years in India. We have, indeed little desire to dwell on the past and would rather concentrate on what is possible in the future. But we must observe that, quite apart from the failure to formulate and execute a constructive housing policy. municipalities have generally failed to use their existing machinery and powers to control the lay-out and erection of new buildings. To-day the erection of houses, which are no better than the existing ones and which in many cases are adding to the congestion, is being generally permitted.