Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Most of what has been said in the preceding paragraphs is already accepted by the majority of those engaged in the planting industry, and some have given much time and thought to the problems associated with the health and welfare of their labour forces. Individual schemes brought to our notice have clearly demonstrated the existence of a desire to find solutions to these problems; but so long as reform is left to the enterprise of individuals who have no guarantee that neighbours and rivals will accept similar standards, a large advance is unlikely. We believe that it is mainly the lack of this co-ordination that prevents advance. What is required in order to obtain closer relationship with the Government Public Health Department and to ensure general progress is an organisation which is assured of the co-operation of the industry and has adequate powers to secure simultaneous improvement. With these ends in view, we recommend the establishment under statute of Boards of Health and Welfare for convenient areas. Each Board should have a majority of planter representatives who should be elected by their associations, but care should be taken to ensure that minorities, e.g., unorganised employers, receive adequate representation. In addition the Board should include a Collector or Deputy Commissioner from the districts covered, the Director of Public Health (or one of his assistants as deputy), the district health officer, and persons nominated by the local Government, with a view to provide adequate representation of the workers. It is desirable that the Board should include at least one woman member. In Assam the Protector of Immigrants should have the right to attend the meetings of the Boards but should have no vote. Each Board should elect its own chairman. Each elected member might be permitted to nominate a medical adviser or substitute who would be able to attend and take part in meetings, whilst voting only in the absence of the member nominating him. The size of the Board must depend on local circumstances, but should be as small as is consistent with securing adequate representation of the plantations. All these matters, however, would be regulated by the statutes constituting the Boards.