Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In this chapter we deal mainly with the relations of the administration to labour, reserving questions that raise constitutional issues for the following chapter. We devote the first part of the chapter to the question of the collection of intelligence, and particularly statistical information, regarding labour. In the second part we deal with the genera! administration of labour subjects by the various Governments concerned, and indicate how some of the recommendations we have already made in connection with the administration of special subjects can be co-ordinated.
The existing statistical information relating to labour can be briefly reviewed. So far as factories are concerned, there is published in each province an annual report on the working of the Factories Act. These reports, in addition to reviewing the administration of the Act for the preceding year, contain a little information regarding wages and other matters affecting the welfare of the workers. They are accompanied by fairly full statistics giving details of the number of factories, the working population, their hours of employment, accidents, inspections, prosecutions under the Act and other matters. The information contained in the various provincial reports is summarised in " Statistics of Factories ", an annual publication issued by the Government of India. To this is appended a short note on the working of the Factories Act during the year which calls attention to the more important features of the year's administration. The form of the returns is prescribed by the Central Government under the Factories Act, and their submission is obligatory on factory owners. These returns do not make any distinction between perennial and seasonal factories. As conditions are very different in these two classes and their combination in one set of statistics gives a misleading impression of factory activity and the regulation of factory work, we recommend that all the statistical tables at present prepared be compiled and published separately in respect of perennial and seasonal factories. So far as we are in a position to judge. the factory statistics are reasonably accurate, but more attention should be devoted in some provinces to checking the figures supplied by factory owners in respect of the average number of workers employed. We recommend that Government should examine the possibility of obtaining from the factory owner the total number of persons employed in his factory for not less than one month in a year. We are aware of the difficulties but we believe that in the perennial factories particularly the maintenance of some record of this type would be of advantage to employers in obtaining the facts relating to turnover. We further recommend that the Factories Act be amended so as to make it possible to call for returns in respect of wages following the analogy of the Mines Act. These statistics are not usually published until the second year following the year to which they relate, and other statistics are frequently published after a delay which diminishes their utility.
We recognise the difficulty where provincial statistics have to be co-ordinated and recommend that an examination be made of the causes of delay with a view to devising a method which will ensure more prompt publication.
In respect of mines a full annual report is prepared by the Chief Inspector of Mines and published by the Government of India. The report and the statistics which accompany it deal both with production and with labour and the particular feature of both parts of the publication is the attention given to accidents and their causes. The statistical information, which in respect of labour gives particulars similar to those supplied by the factories returns, is compiled from returns statutorily required under the Coal Mines Regulations and the Metalliferous Mines Regulations issued in 1926. Under the Mining Regulations particulars have also to be furnished regarding earnings and the Chief Inspector of Mines publishes statistics based on these returns. As in the case of factories, it is desirable that figures if possible should be obtained annually which would give some indication of the total number of persons employed in the coal mines. Such figures would be particularly useful where there is a great difference between this number and the average number employed. We recommend that the question of securing such figures be examined. As we have already indicated, the present statistics, particularly in respect of coal mines, give no indication of the total number of persons employed wholly or part-time.
In respect of plantations, the issue of periodical official information is virtually confined to Assam. Published returns are prepared annually by the Commissioners of the two divisions of Assam; these give a review of conditions relating to immigrant labour during the year, and they are accompanied by statistics of emigration of the labour population, mortality among labourers, average earnings, complaints, inspections and other matters. These statistics, including those relating to earnings, are based on statutory returns which employers are required to submit by rules made under the Assam Labour and Emigration Act. Particulars of emigration to Assam under that Act, are also published annually by other provincial Governments, but there are no regular statistics for plantations in other provinces. As regards Assam, particulars might be given of the number of labourers employed who do not live on the gardens, and the vital statistics given in the annual report should include both births and deaths. A start should also be made with the collection of statistics relating to plantations in other provinces and particularly in Bengal, Madras, Coorg and Burma. We recommend the adoption of statutes requiring planters to furnish statistics relating to the labour forces employed by them. To begin with, these might be confined to the numbers of men, women and children employed, births, deaths and earnings.
Annual returns are also issued by provincial Governments in connection with the Workmen's Compensation Act and the Trade Unions Act. These are accompanied by statistics relating to the payment of workmen's compensation and to registered trade unions. The former statistics cover the main branches of industry and are summarised annually by the Government of India with some comments on the working of the Act. We recommend that for the convenience of the public a similar summary be published relating to the Trade Unions Act. The Government of India also publish statistics of industrial disputes. These are supplied by provincial Governments, some of which publish the figures for their provinces. The tables, prepared on a monthly basis but issued quarterly, give the number of disputes, the number of persons involved, the principal causes and the general results.
The periodical statistics to which we have referred are designed mainly for administrative purposes and throw little light on the economic position of the worker. Even if they were supplemented in respect of wages in the manner we have suggested, they could not take the place of regular statistics of earnings and of the worker's expenditure. We have already referred to the limited information available in respect of the standard of living of the industrial classes, and we have stressed the importance of taking steps to remedy the present deficiency. There seems to be an impression in some quarters that the collection of such statistics is a luxury in which only rich countries or provinces should indulge. This, in our view, is a, profound error. It is on facts that policy must be built, and so long as there is uncertainty as to the facts, there must be confusion and conflict regarding the aim. The absence of accurate statistics regarding the life of the workers constitutes a serious handicap to intelligent efforts to better their condition.
The three main subjects on which information is most urgently needed are wages, earnings and the expenditure of the workers. So far as wages are concerned, practically nothing has hitherto been achieved with the exception of the enquiries made by the Bombay Labour Office into wages in the cotton mill industry of that Presidency. An attempt was made by the Government of India to institute a wages census in 1921, but retrenchment led to its abandonment. Satisfactory statistics regarding wages can only be obtained from employers and must be collected on a fairly extensive scale on the basis of individual industries. The possibilities of working on samples are very limited in its last and most elaborate enquiry the Bombay Labour Office depended on sampling, but the sample taken was a very large one. In most Indian industries there would seem to be wide variations in wages, and even in their methods of calculation and payment, from establishment to establishment in the
same centre, so that representative samples are difficult to secure. These considerations mean that fairly elaborate machinery is required for any satisfactory wages enquiry.
Further, we doubt if any extensive progress can be made without statutory powers. The Bombay enquiries have. been carried through with the co-operation of the millowners, which was accorded on a generous scale; but it seems to us unlikely that the same amount of success could be achieved elsewhere by voluntary methods, and we note that the experience gained in Bombay led to the sponsoring of a statistics bill by the provincial Government in 1924. Opposition was offered to it, especially by employers who were apparently reluctant to concede the Labour Office extensive powers, and it was abandoned by the Government in 1926. We believe that the principle of the measure was sound; legislation for the collection of statistics regarding the economic condition of the people is now in force in the majority of countries of any industrial importance. In respect both of wages and of other subjects bearing on the life of the industrial worker, the systematic collection of statistics requires legislation. We observe that the majority of the Indian Economic Enquiry Committee of 1925 advocated the passing of a comprehensive Census and Statistics Act. The remaining member, whilst accepting the principle of compulsion, proposed to amend the Factories Act to secure the same end. We have already recommended an amendment of this Act in order to secure particulars of wages, but we do not think its scope is wide enough for the needs we have in view. We recommend that legislation be adopted, preferably by the Central Legislature, enabling the competent authority to collect information from employers regarding the remuneration, attendance and living conditions (including housing) of industrial labour, from merchants regarding prices, from money-lenders regarding loans to workers and from landlords regarding rentals. We do not think that there need be any apprehension regarding the possible abuse of such powers by Government departments. But we propose in the following chapter the constitution of a body including employers which could be consulted in the matter. A body of this kind, when they were satisfied regarding the need of compulsory powers and the discretion that would be shown in using them, would be able to give the necessary authority to Government offices and other reputable enquirers. It would naturally be a statutory condition that individual returns should not be published or disclosed without express permission.
The need for accurate information is even greater in the case of earnings than in the case of wage rates. Although some light on earnings can be obtained from the collection of accurate wage statistics, reliable information regarding these cannot ordinarily be obtained from the employer. As a matter of fact, in many cases the employer's books do not contain particulars of the earnings of the individual worker.
The employment of substitutes is not entered in the books, and other factors too often introduce errors of importance. Further, the employer is only able to give particulars of the individual when he is actually earning money. There is at present little record of periods of absence, and the record of a man's earnings for a month or two may afford an entirely misleading indication of his average annual income. Finally, even if accurate information regarding the earnings of the individual could be secured from The employer's books, it would in itself have a very limited value. We believe that in some cases employers might find such information useful as a measure of the success of any endeavour to raise the standard of living by increasing regularity of employment, but it would be of practically no value as a measure of the standard of living itself. This depends on a large number of factors lying outside the knowledge of the employer. It depends in the first instance on the income, not of the individual, but of the family, and even that income affords little indication of the measure of comfort. In order to secure this, it is necessary to have full information regarding the composition of the family and the various claims on its income.
information regarding the income of the workers must ordinarily be associated with information regarding its expenditure, and both are best collected by means of family budget enquiries. Here again we find that comparatively little progress has been made. Enquiries of value have been conducted by the Bombay Labour Office in Bombay, Ahmedabad and Sholapur and by the Labour Statistics Bureau in Rangoon. In some other centres a certain amount of work has been done. As a rule this has been directed more towards measuring movements in the cost of living than towards giving any full indication of the standard itself. One or two of these smaller enquiries have been successfully carried through. In a number of cases enquiries have been instituted by students of economics, social workers, officials and other agencies, without any clear recognition of the difficulties involved and without much regard to statistical principles. The two commonest errors were the failure to give adequate training to the investigators of the basic facts, and indifference to the vital factor of sampling. As a result of these and other mistakes, a fair amount, of honest, effort has been misdirected.
Anxious as we are to see a great extension of economic enquiries bearing on the standard of living, we must emphasise the difficulties in the way. The collection of statistical material from the workers on any extensive scale requires special qualifications. For an untrained investigator to descend on the workers' homes and collect such particulars as he can in a casual visit is valueless. The preliminary difficulties have been faced already by the Bombay Labour Office, and they have evolved a technique which can be studied with advantage by others who propose to embark on similar enquiries. We recommend that, where-over possible, investigators should undertake a course of training with that or some other office which has conducted a successful enquiry. We do not doubt that any such office will gladly co-operate in assisting accredited investigators as far as it can. Differences in language and customs may make it impossible for one enquiry to employ all the methods that have been successful in another, but the chief difficulties are, we think, common to all industrial centres. Only an investigator qualified by training and by the possession of a large amount of tact and patience can hope to be successful anywhere. The Bombay Office has found that for enquiries of the kind under discussion, women investigators are preferable, if not essential, and this will be true in most industrial areas. It is from the woman in the family that. information has generally to be secured, and it is more easily secured and tested by a woman investigator.
Equal in importance to the employment of qualified investigators is the adoption of sound statistical methods, and in any extensive enquiry careful sampling is of cardinal importance. If accurate information is required regarding any class of persons, and if it is impossible to collect particulars from all, it is essential that the cases selected for investigation should be thoroughly representative. The collection of a series of family budgets selected on no scientific basis cannot possibly yield results of any statistical value. It would be superfluous to emphasise so obvious a principle, were cases not numerous in which it has been ignored. The only alternative to sampling is the intensive enquiry, i.e.. an enquiry covering the whole of a strictly limited field. Thus, for example, the budgets of all (or nearly all) of the workers in a particular group could be collected; and we consider that small-scale enquiries of this kind would serve a useful purpose.
The subjects discussed by us are by no means the only ones on which information is required. In almost every direction the field is practically unexplored. So far as the standard of living is concerned, only part of the work is done when particulars of income and expenditure have been secured. Connected with this there is a host of questions awaiting investigation, such as the incidence of sickness, migration, absenteeism, industrial fatigue, etc. The scientific study of the human problems of industry has scarcely begun in India, and the loss which has arisen from this neglect is evident.
We now come to the share of the task which should be undertaken by the various agencies that are available. These may be divided into three classes—official agencies, employers and others. Dealing with the last first, substantial assistance can be claimed from the universities. Other possible agencies are social and religious workers and private economists and students. We believe that all these agencies would do well to limit themselves to intensive enquiries, i.e., to the thorough investigation of a very limited field. Their resources are seldom equal to extensive enquiries which demand machinery not usually at their disposal, and the attempt to cover too wide a field has stultified some of the efforts made by such investigators in the past. Examples of the types of investigation which can suitably be undertaken by such agencies are those relating to a small but clearly defined group of workers, e.g., those employed in a small industrial establishment or forming a small section of a large one. For such groups, the analysis of their income and expenditure, their families, their indebtedness and its causes, their migrations, their absenteeism and its causes, their sickness, their housing and the inter-relations of such factors offer an almost unlimited variety of useful enquiries. The universities of India are mostly situated in cities and towns of some industrial importance, and enquiries of this kind could be conducted by students of economics working under the direction of the university staff and in co-operation with labour office. The work, if properly done, would form a valuable addition to economic knowledge and would directly benefit the whole community, which contributes much through taxation to university funds. From the point of view of education, we believe that the results would be equally valuable, for such enquiries would supply the practical training which is an indispensable adjunct to any course of study related to present-day problems. We are aware that in some universities work of this kind has been attempted, and recommend to university authorities everywhere the examination of the possibility of making work of this kind an obligatory part of courses in economics. We believe that it could form a valuable part of the curriculum and that it would assist in bringing the universities of the country in closer contact with industry, an end which should be earnestly pursued.
For employers the opportunities are almost equally great, and having regard to the very valuable service which certain types of investigations might yield to employers, we are surprised to find how few have embarked on this field. Only one or two employers appear to have made experiments in the matter of working hours, e.g., their length and the distribution of intervals, and few could guarantee that the arrangement of their hours, which too often depends on tradition, was such as to secure the best results. It is quite certain, for example, that for a number of years some branches of industry worked hours which, by reason of their length, were definitely uneconomical, but it was left to legislation to demonstrate the fact through the introduction of a better standard. The whole subject of industrial fatigue, which is of such importance to efficiency, has been almost ignored in India, and there are countless directions in which experiments could be made by employers with a view to discovering means of improving output and efficiency. In an earlier chapter we have made proposals for systematic research into such subjects, but we would also urge on the larger individual employers and on associations of employers the possibilities of experimental work.
The more extensive investigations which are necessary are, in our view, the task of Government. The possible expansion here is very great, but the available resources, at the present juncture especially, are not large; we therefore recommend only the action most urgently required. We hope that, with the return of easier conditions, the great importance of economic enquiry will be better appreciated, and that there will be a big and early advance in the most useful directions. The first requirement is a labour statistical office in Bengal. This is the chief industrial province and includes a greater variety of important branches of industry than any other province. With its great textile industry, its engineering and railway development, its coal mines and plantations, its shipping and inland transport and a host of other activities, it forms a dominating and representative section of Indian industrial enterprise, and in this direction India is entitled to look to it for a lead. But hitherto, at any rate so far as Government is concerned, it has done practically nothing by way of statistical investigation into the conditions of the labour which contributes much of its wealth. We recommend the establishment of labour statistical machinery on a scale not smaller than that represented by the Bombay Labour Office. The annual cost of this office is in the neighbourhood of Rs. 80, 000; similar services might possibly be secured in Bengal at a slightly lower figure. The office would start with the advantage of the experience gained in Bombay, which in its early years was necessarily hampered by the fact that it was doing pioneer work.
In other important industrial provinces we should like to see offices of a similar character, but we doubt if this is possible in present circumstances. We recommend, therefore, for the present, the setting up of thorough enquiries into family budgets in Delhi, Madras, Cawnpore, Jamshedpur and a centre in the Jharia coalfield. Some work has been done in nearly all these centres, and cost of living indices are regularly published for the Bihar and Orissa centres, But these do not appear to rest on any adequate statistical basis, and in any case no reliable information regarding the standard of living is available to the public. The construction of reliable cost of living indices, which should be one result of the enquiries to advocate, would be of the greatest assistance to employers and Government in the provinces concerned. In Burma, Rangoon will probably offer a sufficient field for the Labour Statistics Bureau for some time but we would like to see an extension to the main oilfields as soon as circumstances permit. In the Punjab, we recommend that assistance be given by Government to the Board of Economic Enquiry to enable it to institute and direct investigations in the industrial field. The possibility of establishing a similar Board in the Central Provinces should be investigated.
In these recommendations we have necessarily limited our view to the industrial worker, but investigating bureaux, when established, need not be so limited. The Bombay Labour Office conducted one enquiry into agricultural wages, and these have been the subject of regular censuses of varying value in other provinces. We believe that work of this kind could be co-ordinated with industrial labour enquiries, thus securing a better return for the money expended. The same office undertook investigations into the cost of living of the middle classes in Bombay. Such work could be similarly combined with enquiries into industrial workers' budgets in Calcutta and also in Delhi, where it should be of special value to the Central Government in view of the large staffs employed by them in the latter city.
The administration of the more important labour laws has been already discussed. We now review the existing arrangements for the general administration of labour subjects and add our recommendations for future arrangements and for the administrative co-ordination of the proposals already made. Dealing first with the provincial Governments, labour matters are at present the care of a Member of the Governor's Executive Council, who is also responsible for a variety of other important subjects such as finance or law and order, labour being only a small part of his portfolio. Directly under Government is the Secretary dealing with labour, who is responsible to the Government as a whole and to the Member in particular. This officer is the channel through whom Government is addressed and issues orders, and he is also the final adviser of Government on matters within his department, disposing outright of those of secondary importance. As a rule he has no special knowledge of labour subjects when first appointed, and like his Member is responsible in different provinces for a variety of subjects such as finance, industries, revenue or public works. It may happen that labour questions are divided between two different departments. Nearly all secretaries as well as their responsible deputies, hold office for a limited period such as three years, after which they are ordinarily replaced by officers coming fresh to the subject, the permanent element being supplied by office superintendents and clerks. The theory is that the secretary supplies not so much expert knowledge as general capacity, and that his advice, combined with that of such specialists as are available, enables Government to obtain a broader view than a purely departmental expert can supply. Many subjects as, for example, public health, are entrusted to departments with specialist heads, each connected with Government through a secretary and his department.
In respect of labour there is not usually a department of this kind, and expert advice on labour subjects comes from miscellaneous sources.
Madras has the nearest approach to such a system in the Commissioner of Labour, who is, however, responsible for much more than industrial labour. This officer is Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Registrar of Trade Unions and is also responsible for the administration of the Factories Act and for other matters connected with labour. He has also acted as conciliator in trade disputes and should be in a position, after gaining some experience, to view labour questions as a whole and give expert advice to Government. Unfortunately the value of the department has been greatly diminished by frequent changes of its head. We understand that there has been more than one such change in a single year, and in recent years no officer seems to have continued in the appointment longer than the time necessary to gain moderate familiarity with the subjects for which he is responsible. The Bombay Labour Office represents the sound nucleus of a labour department. Here some regard has been paid to the principle of continuity in the Director's appointment, and that officer, in addition to being responsible for both statistics and intelligence, is Commissioner of Workmen's Compensation and Registrar of Trade Unions. He is thus in a position to act as expert, adviser to Government on labour matters. But he is not concerned with the administration of the Factories Act, nor Las he (or any other officer) been expected or permitted to act generally as a conciliation officer in trade disputes. On the other hand, he has duties quite unconnected with labour. Bengal has adopted the device of combining in one officer expert knowledge of labour and secretarial duties. The Labour Intelligence Officer acts also as a Deputy Secretary to Government and as Registrar of Trade Unions, and the same officer has held charge of the post more or less continuously for about 10 years, with obvious benefit to Government. There is a separate specialist Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation; but this subject, the administration of the Factories Act and other labour subjects are all dealt with in the Secretariat by the Labour Intelligence Officer and co-ordination is thus secured. On the other hand, the Labour Intelligence Officer has no investigating staff, while he has duties outside his labour work.
At the head of the Labour Statistics Bureau, Burma has an officer responsible for labour matters in addition to statistics; but here also continuity of tenure has not been secured. Elsewhere there is not even the nucleus of a labour department. The Chief Inspector of Factories provides expert advice within his own sphere and may be called upon for advice on matters outside that sphere. A large number of non-specialist officers deal with workmen's compensation and there is no definite responsibility on any officer for trade disputes. The Director of Industries is usually Registrar of Trade Unions and has to act as a general adviser on labour matters. He is also normally responsible to Government for the administration of the Factories Act. He has in some provinces more permanence of tenure than a secretariat officer, but in others he has been changed fairly frequently.
In the Government of India the bulk of the labour questions is dealt with by the. Department of Industries and Labour, which is the charge of a Member of the Governor General's Executive Council, and has as its administrative head a Secretary to Government. Here the organisation is similar to that in the provinces. The Department deals with a great variety of subjects, such as Posts and Telegraphs, Public Works, Civil Aviation, Patents and Copyright and Broadcasting. Questions relating to labour in docks, in transport by sea or inland water are primarily the concern of the Commerce Department and railway labour questions go to the Railway Department. The Department of Education, Health and Lands is responsible for the emigration of labour outside India and questions of health . In the Chief Inspector of Mines, the Department of Industries and Labour has a source of adequate advice on all subjects relating to mining labour, but it has no specialist to advise on such subjects as factories, workmen's compensation, trade unions, trade disputes, international labour matters and many other subjects that may arise. For guidance on many labour subjects, Government is dependent on the co-ordination of advice from the provinces, which is usually obtained in the manner described in the next chapter.
The gaps in the existing system are obvious and, in dealing with such subjects as workmen's compensation, trade disputes and statistics, we have already made recommendations designed to remedy the deficiencies. But an equally serious defect is the lack of co-ordination of labour activities within most Governments. What is urgently required is for the administration of labour subjects everywhere to be brought to a common point. At that point there should be expert advice and experience at the disposal of Government. The great majority of questions relating to labour administration can be best dealt with in each Government by a single office, and if this is suitably constituted, there will be a considerable saving in personnel, an efficient instrument for administration and a valuable adjunct for the evolution of policy. We recommend therefore that In every province, with the exception of Assam, there should be a Labour Commissioner. We except Assam because industrial labour here is unimportant apart from plantations, and for these we have recommended adequate provision in other ways. The Labour Commissioner should be a selected officer, and be should hold the appointment for a comparatively long period, preferably not less than five years.
In most provinces this officer, with a, small office staff, should be able to undertake responsibility for the administration of all labour subjects. The scope of these subjects may be varied by constitutional changes; but we can illustrate our purpose by saying that, in the existing allocation of provincial subjects, the same officer might be responsible for the administration of the Factories Act, the Trade Unions Act and the Workmen's Compensation Act in the principal industrial centres where there is insufficient work to justify a specialist officer for this purpose. He would also be responsible, with such additional staff as might be required, for the collection, collation and publication of all labour statistics and general intelligence. He should be empowered under the Factories Act and other Acts, if necessary, to enter all industrial establishments and should be generally accessible both to employers and labour. He should also act as a conciliation officer and undertake those duties to which we have referred in dealing with trade disputes. He will then be qualified and should be expected to act as the chief adviser of Government in all labour matters. He should have his permanent office in the chief industrial centre of the province.
As we have observed, there is already a Commissioner of Labour in Madras, and in three other provinces there are appointments which can be converted into such commissionerships. Of the provinces where an entirely new appointment is required, the need is greatest in Bihar and Orissa and the United Provinces. In the Central Provinces and the Punjab, owing to their smaller industrial importance, even the duties we have enumerated may not justify a whole-time appointment. If, here or elsewhere, part-time appointments have to be made, we urge that the principle advocated by us be followed, namely, that there should be an officer with expert knowledge of labour matters who should be retained in the post for a reasonably long period. As regards combination with other duties, we have noted the tendency in some provinces to give the Director of Industries responsibility for labour matters, and we recognise that this officer's work tends to give him familiarity with certain aspects of labour. But in our opinion this combination is undesirable, as the officer who properly discharges his duties in the one appointment tends to diminish his own usefulness in the other. We therefore recommend that this combination be avoided. A better combination would be to give the Labour Commissioner some secretariat duties. A number of officers in various provinces combine administrative and secretariat functions and the combination, though not an ideal one, gives the administrative officer closer contact with Government and reduces the amount of correspondence necessary.
We recommend a somewhat similar appointment for the Central Government. The Government of India retain expert advisers in what are primarily provincial subjects such as education and public health, but they have no such officer in respect of labour matters, for which they have a considerable measure of direct responsibility. Whatever the allocation of subjects in future, we believe that the Government of India will retain some measure of responsibility for labour. They are likely to remain by far the largest employers of labour in India, and have responsibilities in the minor provinces.
A Labour Commissioner, in addition to his other duties, could assume responsibility (under the heads of the administration) for the enforcement of labour laws in these provinces. If the responsibility of the Government of India for the direct administration of labour matters is diminished, it would be possible to give secretariat duties to the Labour Commissioner, and his post could thus be similar to that of the Educational Commissioner with the Government of India. Here, as in the provinces, much of the work that would fall on the Labour Commissioner is already discharged by other agencies, and the creation of the appointment should set free the time of other officers for other duties. Additional staff, however, would be required for the statistical work. The central and provincial Commisioners should be able to travel about and should be encouraged to do so.
The responsibility for policy naturally lies with Government and must remain there. We anticipate that in future Ministers will be responsible for labour questions, and suggestions have been made to us that, in some provinces at least, there should be actual Ministers of Labour, whose primary or sole concern would be with labour. We do not feel competent to advise on the question of the strength of the ministry in any province or in the Central Government. This must depend on considerations outside our scope. But we believe that the subject will require much more attention than it has received in the past, and it is doubtful if Ministers will be able to devote adequate attention to labour if it be combined with finance or the administration of law and order in one portfolio. We suggest that, at least in the more important industrial provinces, labour should be mentioned in the designation of the Minister concerned. There is something in a name, and the fact that a Minister is designated as responsible for labour will encourage him to see and the public to expect that labour matters receive adequate attention from his Department.