Labour Investigation Committee (1946)||
Much progress has been made by employers in the provision of welfare activities since the Royal Commission reported. However. we are inclined to agree with Dr. B. R. Seth, who observes: "The vast majority of industrialists in India still regard welfare work as a barren liability rather than a wise investment".1 On the whole, it may be stated, that employers who take a most indifferent and nonchalant attitude towards welfare work and say that no rest shelters are provided as the whole premises belong to the workers themselves, no latrines are provided because workers prefer the open spaces, no canteens and sports are necessary because they
are not likely to make use of such facilities and so on constitute the majority. It is apparent that unless the precise responsibilities of employers in regard to welfare work are defined by law, such employers are not likely to fall in line with their more enlightened and far-sighted confreres. Excellent work, however has been done by some of the larger establishments, and a brief account—mainly illustrative and not exhaustive, for reasons of space—may be given here.
The Tata Iron and Steel Co. provide an up-to-date and well equipped hospital with 168 beds and a qualified medical staff, a net work of primary and secondary schools, gymnasiums, clubs with facilities for indoor and outdoor games, canteens creches, co-operative stores, etc. The Delhi Cloth and General Mills, have constituted an Employees' Benefit Fund to Finance welfare measures, which include Gratuities, Pensions Provident Fund, Sickness Insurance, educational facilities for workers' children, night schools for adults, a vocational school, libraries and reading rooms, hospitals, gymnasiums, creches, sports, clubs, swimming pools, dramatic clubs, theatres, facilities for excursion, canteens, messes and grainshops. The Buckingham and Carnatic Mills of Madras have an excellent system of welfare work, including schools, mess rooms, a co-operative society, workmen's stores, an ambulance corps, athletic associations, etc. The British India Corporation of Cawnpore provide schools for boys and girls, sports, dispensaries, maternity and child welfare centres, club-rooms, a hospital, a Widows' Home etc. The Begg Suther land group of mills, Cawnpore, has provided schools for adults and children, playgrounds, indoor and outdoor games, radio and well-equipped creches. The, J.K. Industries of Cawnpore have created a Trust with Rs. 3,00,000 for providing several schools, a swimming pool and other amenities for their workmen. The Empress Mills of Nagpur have provided 4 well-equipped dispensaries, a central primary school, Kindergarten classes, a co-operative society , a sickness benefit fund, a pensions scheme, etc. The Madura Mills provide a well equipped dispensary, a co-operative store, a thrift society, a workers' saving fund, a child welfare centre and creches, and a tea canteen. Besides, they have contributed a sum of Rs. 25,000 for operating an association called "The Madura Labour Union Welfare Association ", to which they are also paying a monthly contribution of Rs. 1 ,000. The Association conducts schools for adults and children, indoor and outdoor games, a reading room and a library. The Calico Mills of Ahmedabad have provided an excellent hospital with 40 beds in the general and 20 in the special maternity wards, Messrs. E. D. Sessoon & Co., of Bombay have canteen facilities, a co-operative society and a number of schools for workers. The four mining companies of the Kolar Gold Field have constituted a Central Welfare Committee to co-ordinate all welfare work, which includes the provision of a large hospital and five maternity homes, schools, sports clubs, cinema shows, dramatic performances, etc. The Dalmia Cement Company of Dalmianagar in Bihar, have provided a well-equipped hospital with female and maternity wards, a high school, a reading room and a library and facilities for indoor and outdoor games. In Class I railways, again, medical facilities are provided at important centres with well-equipped hospitals. There are also educational facilities to the children of the employees mostly free of charge. Staff Benefit Funds have also been created by certain railway companies which give monetary help to the children and widows of the deceased employees. On plantations likewise, attention has been devoted to welfare activities. Planters have maintained dispensaries and hospitals and they were probably the first to give maternity benefits. Anti-malarial measures costing large sums of money have been adopted especially in Assam. As regards employers in the States, mention may be made of the Tata Oil Company at Tatapuram near
Ernaculam in the Cochin State, in which numerous welfare measures have been introduced, including a cooperative society, medical aid, gymnasium facilities and sports, a canteen, a literacy class and a kala-samiti to encourage the histrionic art and music. The list can be extended but this is enough to give an idea of the work being done by employers.