Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The immigration and emigration between India and Burma is entirely uncontrolled. The Labour Statistics Officer holds, unions other appointments, that of Protector of Immigrants and Emigrants, The Government of India, with whom the appointment lies, defray a small portion of his total pay and also provide an Assistant Protector, who is an officer from India. The protection which either of these officers affords to immigrants is slight, and indeed they appear to have little or no authority in the matter. The Protector informed us that he had no statutory powers, except with regard to issuing certificates for skilled emigrants1, and that he had no responsibility for an emigrant once he had left the jetty and no concern with recruitment in India. The appointment apparently arose out of a temporary situation connected with the overcrowding of deck passengers; but, even if there was overcrowding, the Protector apparently could only report the matter to the Port Officer. The Assistant Protector is present at the arrival of ships bringing emigrants, hut we doubt if the majority of those arriving are aware of his existence. Apparently no one is responsible for the welfare or protection of immigrants after they have actually landed. Many immigrants no doubt need protection, and the Protector should be placed in a position to give them effective assistance. For this purpose we recommend that the Protector should be an officer who, working in co-operation with the Government of Burma but holding no appointment under that Government, should be solely responsible to the Government of India. The appointment might be a whole-time one, in which case it would be unnecessary to retain the post of Assistant Protector. He
FN We understand that this refers to the emigration of skilled workers from Burma to foreign countries
should be given statutory power to enter industrial establishments where Indian labour is employed. If a suitable officer is selected, he should be able to secure a large measure of co-operation from employers and assist them in dealing with the needs of the workers. A working know ledge of some Indian languages, and particularly Telugu, is an important qualification. We may remark in passing that the language difficulty is one of the factors responsible for the extent to which authority is delegated to intermediaries. What is said in another chapter regarding this difficulty is especially applicable in Burma. We recommend that the Protector of Immigrants should have access to the Member or Minister responsible for labour, and that he should furnish the Government of India with an annual report on the conditions of labour during the year and on his own work. He should have sufficient experience and standing to ensure that his advice will deserve and receive full consideration from authorities and employers in Burma. After a little experience such an officer should be able to do much to further the welfare of Indian labour. Work done along this line, so far from proving a handicap to industry, should be beneficial. The separation of Burma from India would increase rather than diminish the utility of an appointment of this kind.