NOTES AND COMMENTS WELFARE WORK AMONGST THE BOMBAY MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES ...
NOTES AND COMMENTS
WELFARE WORK AMONGST THE BOMBAY MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES
AT present the Bombay Municipality is conducting ten Welfare Centres for
Municipal employees in various Municipal Chawls. By a resolution of
the Corporation these centres were taken over from a number of private
agencies that were in receipt of grants from the Municipality for running them
and were placed under the charge of the Public Health Department from 1st
The centres are organized with a staff of two full-time trained social
workers and thirty-eight part-time workers. Two male and two female workers
are posted at each centre and the centres are run daily from 5-30 to 9 P.M., with
some of women's classes in the afternoon. The employees are mostly Harijans
and come from various parts of the Presidency: the Dheds from Kathiawar,
the Mahars and Chamars from the Konkan and Maharashtra and the Bhangis
from Gujarat. They are housed in Municipal Chawls, which are one room
The programme of welfare work includes:
(i) Recreational Activities.
(ii) Educational Activities,
(iii) Health Work,
(iv) Labour Officer's Work,
(v) Social Investigation,
(i) Recreational activities.
The recreational activities provide ample
opportunities for the use of leisure time to the employees and their children.
The indoor games rooms and the outdoor playgrounds at the ten centres are
used daily by two thousand adults and children.
The games played include carrom, draughts, ludo, "chaupat", snakes
and ladders, hu-tu-tu, kho-kho, atyapatya, langadi, volley ball, foot-ball,
deck tennis and several other English and Indian group games. Akhada
activities include wrestling, malkhamb, lathi, lezim and pole-drill. Gymnastic
exercises like free hand drill, wand drill, pole drill, dumb bells, pyramids and
boxing are also conducted regularly.
A cheerful feature of the life of the centres is the arrangement of inter-
centre matches and tournaments. These matches provide an extraordinary
incentive to regular attendance and have most definitely raised the standard of
BOMBAY MUNICIPAL WELFARE WORK 261
play. The ideal of clean sportsmanship is always held before the participants
by impressing on their minds that the game is more than victory.
No people need contact with country areas and Nature's beauty more
than these people who live in congested, uninspiring one room tenements.
Every month men, women and children from each centre are taken out of
Bombay for picnics. They are also taken to places of interest in Bombay and
to see educational and social films.
The Bhajan Mandalis are social gatherings for adults, who take a very
keen interest in them, and these occasions are also utilized for giving religious
and social discourses. Music and dramatic clubs are organized, where people
are allowed to give free expression to their artistic talents and cultivate their
inborn capacity for aesthetic enjoyment. Music is taught on harmonium and
tablas; gramophone records are played in the chawls and short dialogues and
dramas are also taught and performed. Folk songs and folk dances like Garba,
Ras-dandya, Kathiawadi Doha and Tipris are regular features of these clubs.
Social gatherings are held to celebrate feasts and festivals.
(ii) Adult Education.
Adult education in a working class community
requires distinct methods, for it is difficult for people who have been allowed to
remain undeveloped, and whose faculties are inert and sterile, to take their
At every centre literacy classes are conducted for both men and women.
Literacy is not regarded as an end in itself but only as a means to an end, in
that it opens up the key to knowledge. Therefore lessons are accompanied by
and alternated with cultural instruction in the form of lectures with the help of
lantern-slides, maps, charts and pictures, story telling and reading of interest-
ing passages from books and magazines.
Classes are run for those who wish to learn English. Coaching is given
to those school-going children who are in need of it and facilities for study in
the centre-rooms are given to high-school pupils, as they have so little privacy
in their own homes.
Talks and lantern slide lectures are arranged on current topics and social
subjects of immediate interest to the employees, i.e., on elementary history,
geography, cleanliness and sanitary living, domestic economy, maternity and
child welfare, balanced diets, first aid and safety first. Debates are organised
once a week at all centres. The adults show a keen interest in the subjects
discussed and participate in the discussions in great numbers. Every centre
runs its own magazine to which articles, stories and plays are contributed by
educated boys and men.
Classes in sewing, embroidery, literacy and elementary home-nursing
are conducted for women; training is also given in the art of homemaking and
262 NOTES AND COMMENTS
in the various duties of wives and mothers. All possible efforts are made to
make the women better wives, better mothers and better citizens.
The centres enrol five hundred boy scouts and two hundred girl scouts,
affiliated to the Hindusthan Scout Association. Boys are occasionally sent out
for camping. Eighteen scouts from the centres were sent to the Amritsar
Mela and they had an opportunity of visiting Delhi, Agra and other" historical
Children and adults are taken to exhibitions whenever they are held in
Home visitation is an important item in the welfare
programme. Chawls are visited regularly by the part-time workers, who
discuss family problems with the occupants in a friendly manner and endeavour
to persuade them to change their unhygienic habits and to realize the import-
ance of cleanliness and sanitary living.
Lectures are delivered on personal hygiene, the care of the eyes, nose,
lungs and other organs. These lectures are illustrated by slides, posters, bulle-
tins and films on housing conditions, flies, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, etc.
Children are required to wash their hands, faces and feet and comb
their hair in the centres. Competitions are held for the cleanest and best-
kept rooms and prizes are given to encourage cleanliness.
Every month a cleanliness campaign is held, when the boys sweep the
chawls and clean up their surroundings and homes. In times of illness, people
are directed to dispensaries and hospitals, During the last malaria epidemic,
statistics of illness amongst the chawl inmates were collected and submitted to
the Health Officer who arranged for a medical officer to visit the sick in their
homes and provide free medicines.
Every centre is equipped with medical appliances such as hot water
bags, ice bags, thermometers, bedpans, quinine pills and iodine, which are
supplied to the people whenever needed.
Women are taught how to prepare balanced diets very cheaply. They
are persuaded to take advantage of the maternity hospitals and women with
large families are also taken to birth control clinics.
(iv) Labour-Officers work.
Legitimate grievances of the employees
regarding their housing, recruitment, leave, conditions of work and co-opera-
tive societies are looked into, brought to the notice of the proper officers, and
whenever possible redressed.
Efforts are made to procure scholarships for deserving students from the
Harijan Sevak Sangh and other associations. People requiring legal advice
are directed to.the Legal Aid Society.
Investigations were recently made regarding the
BOMBAY MUNICIPAL WELFARE WORK 263
number of school going children not attending schools and the causes of their
non-attendance. Statistics about their health and the prevalence of diseases
are also being collected.
NATIONAL PLANNING IN INDIA
IN August, 1937 the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress
recommended to the Congress Ministries ' 'the appointment of a Committee
of Experts to consider urgent and vital problems the solution of which
is necessary to any scheme of national reconstruction and social planning."
A second resolution of the Working Committee in July, 1938 resolved
that as a preliminary step to planning "the President be authorised to convene
a conference of the Ministers of Industries . . . and call for a report of the
existing industries operating in different provinces and the needs and possi-
bilities of new ones."
This Conference was held in Delhi in October 1938 and expressed the
view ' 'that the problem of poverty and unemployment, of National defence
and of the economic regeneration in general cannot be solved without indus-
trialization. As a step towards such industrialization, a comprehensive scheme
of national planning should be formulated."
Pursuant to this Resolution a National Planning Committee of 11 original
members—subsequently added to—was constituted and the first meeting held
in Bombay in December 1938.
A questionnaire issued on behalf of the Committee stated the object of
National Planning to be ' 'to improve the well being of the community, princi-
pally by intensifying the economic development of the community concerned
on an all-round basis, in an ordered, systematic manner, so as to observe a due
proportion between the various forms of producing new wealth, its equitable
distribution amongst the members of the community, and to secure such adjust-
ment between the interests of producers and consumers, individuals and the
community collectively, the present and succeeding generations, as to maintain
a proper balance between these several interests."
Twenty-nine sub-committees were appointed to report in eight major
fields : agriculture ; industries ; demographic relations; commerce and finance;
transport; public welfare; education and the role of women in planned economy.
Although the Congress Ministries resigned office at the outbreak of the
War, the work of the National Planning Committee has continued.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Chairman of the Committee, in addressing
the third meeting of the committee in Bombay, May 1940, stated that while
under the changed political conditions, planning might appear to be building
264 N O T E S A N D C O M M E N T S
castles in the air, yet "thinking and planning for the future was essential
if that future was not to end in misdirected energy and chaos. . . Planning
aimed at the raising of the material and cultural standard of living of the
people as a whole. In India standards were so terribly low and poverty so ap-
palling that the question of raising standards was of the most vital importance."
In view of the particular emphasis of this issue of the Journal,
summary of the recommendations of the Labour Sub-Committee is of interest:
1. The scope of regulations relating to the living and working con-
ditions of labour should be expanded to include industries and occupations to
which such regulation has so far not been applied.
2. If it is in the interest of the community to do so, the State should
protect, subsidize or take over such industries as are not of themselves able to
maintain essential human standards.
3. Working hours should be limited to 48 hours per week and 9 hours
4. The provision relating to hours of work should apply to factories
and workshops employing five or more persons and using mechanical power,
or to factories and workshops employing ten or more persons even though
not using mechanical power ; to mines and quarries and public transport
services using mechanical power.
5. The principle should be extended to other industrial and commercial
occupations, with due regard to the nature and varying conditions of the
6. The minimum age of employment of children should be progressively
raised to 15, in correlation with the educational system.
7. A special committee should be appointed to study and make recom-
mendations for improving provisions for the health, safety, and conditions
governing night work in all regulated undertakings.
8. A wage fixing machinery should be set up at an early date in all
provinces, in order to secure for the workers a living wage and consider other
questions relating to wages. A central board should co-ordinate the activities
of provincial boards.
9. The question of housing should be considered as a national obliga-
tion. During the transition period, employers should be required to erect
suitable houses for workers, provided that full provision is made for freedom
of movement and association and against victimization by way of ejection
during industrial disputes.
10. All industrial employees should be given at least 10 continuous work-
ing days (exclusive of public holidays) as paid holidays after 12 months'
NATIONAL PLANNING IN INDIA 265
11. The present rates of workmen's compensation should be examined.
12. Maternity benefit legislation should be undertaken on the general
tines laid down by the Geneva Convention of 1919.
13. Legislation should be passed for the full collection of all necessary
labour and other statistics.
14. The inspectorate should be strengthened in the various provinces
and should include women. There should be co-operation between inspectorates
of various provinces.
15. It is desirable to have uniformity and co-ordination in labour
legislation throughout the whole of India.
16. Special attenion should be paid to those engaged in domestic service
and appropriate legislation passed.
17. Women workers should receive equal pay for equal work.
18. A system of compulsory and contributory social insurance for
industrial workers should be established directly under the control of the State
to cover the risks of sickness and invalidity other than those covered by the
Workmen's Compensation Act. Schemes for providing alternative employment
to those involuntarily unemployed, Old Age Pensions and Survivors' Pensions,
and also Social Insurance to cover risks of sickness and invalidity for all,
should be established directly under the State.
19. A nation wide literacy campaign should be undertaken.
20. Provision should be made for technical education of the workers by
establishing day and night schools for the purpose.
21. Legislation should be passed to recognize trade unionism as an
essential and integral part of the economic system.
At the conclusion of the fourth meeting of the Planning Committee,
held in Bombay in June, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stated that over 20 of the
29 reports have now been considered and that the remaining 7 or 8 will be taken
up at a meeting of the full committee in the last week of August. The next
step will be to lay down the general principles which should govern the Report
and to prepare a draft. " T h e public will form some idea of how we are
proceeding from the resolutions we have published. But these separate resolu-
tions will give little idea of the full nature of the problem, which is not one of
advance in one section or another, but of a full co-ordinated activity and advance
in all sectors of national life . . . The task of the National Planning Committee
is, in effect, never completed, for it goes on with the life and progress of the
nation. But we shall complete drawing up this initial and inadequate picture
of a Planned Society in India and we have no doubt that whatever changes
may be made in it in the future, this edifice will serve as a secure foundation
to build upon."
266 NOTES AND COMMENTS
NATIONAL PLANNING IN THE UNITED STATES
HE economic situation in the United States was such in 1930 that there
was a widespread belief that the time had come for conscious planning
instead of following a policy of drift.
The first efforts at planning were directed towards a policy of public
works in order to relieve unemployment and to stimulate purchasing power.
In 1931, Congress passed an Act establishing a Federal Employment Stabiliza-
tion Board, composed of the Secretaries of the Treasury, Commerce, Agricul-
ture and Labour. All the construction agencies of government were instruct-
ed to prepare a six-year plan for building, together with an estimate of proba-
ble private enterprise, in order to enable the President to increase or diminish
public building as the employment situation seemed to demand.
But before the scheme had gotten well under way the economic situation
became so serious that Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act
in 1933. Under this Act the President was authorized to set up a Federal
Emergency Administration of Public Works, one of whose functions was to
prepare a comprehensive programme. A National Planning Board was created
and the old Federal Employment Stabilization Board abolished and its records
transferred to the new department. But though the new board carried the
ambitious title "National Planning Board", its activity was in reality limited
to one sphere : public works.
In 1934 the Board was again reorganized, re-christened the National
Resources Board, and charged with long-term physical planning. When the
N R A , which provided the legal authority under which the Board was first
established, was invalidated by the Supreme Court, the National Resources
Board was reconstituted by Executive Order as the National Resources Com-
mittee (June, 1935).
In the general governmental reorganization of 1939, the name was again
changed to the National Resources Planning Board, and the new Board attach-
ed directly to the White House. This meant that the Board was able to deal
with a wider range of public problems from the aspect of planning. The
Board is now charged with the study of "problems pertaining to national
resources both natural and human"
and is instructed to report on " t h e general
trend of economic conditions and to recommend measures leading to their
improvement or stabilization."
The technical committees in 1939 were eight in number, dealing with
Land, Water, Energy Resources, Public Works, Industrial, Science, Popula-
tion and Local Planning. A number of valuable reports have been issued.
This section is based on an article entitled, "The National Resources Planning
Board," by George Soule, in the March 15,1940 issue of Frontiers of Democracy.
NATIONAL PLANNING IN THE UNITED STATES 267
The move for planning in the United States has met with considerable
opposition, for business naturally feels that planning under auspices other
than its own will endanger its power. The man in the street has an innate
distrust of anything that savours of regimentation and is particularly suspi-
cious of so-called " b r a i n t r u s t s . " But despite opposition and misunderstand-
ing, progress has been registered. The concept of planning has taken root
and bids fair to play an increasing part in the national life.
BOMBAY ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL SURVEY COMMITTEE
THE Bombay Economic and Industrial Survey Committee, appointed two
years ago with Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas as a chairman, has recently
made its report to Government. The Report discusses the general econo-
mic condition of the province with particular reference to cottage industries.
The committee feels that the plight of the peasant is so desperate that
something must be done to promote and provide subsidiary occupations in
order to solve the problem of rural poverty. It is proposed that Government
should start a Provincial Cottage Research Institute; that an all India con-
ference should be convened for the discussion of the place of subsidiary indus-
tries in rural economy; that Government should organise district associations,
which should supply raw materials to artisans and sell their products; that
Government itself should purchase products of cottage industries; that Govern-
ment should examine the question of removing the duties and taxes levied
on raw materials required for cottage industries by the local authorities;
that Government should promote a small industries bank with a capital of
Rs. 25,00,000 in order to provide financial help to such industries; that the
Bombay Government should establish a system of licensing for the erection
of new factories or the extension of old ones so as to secure proper regional
distribution of industries in the province.
The committee further recommends that fundamental problems of
transport, health and literacy be attacked immediately, for without the solu-
tion of these problems, exclusively industrial measures will not achieve their
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
A STEADY increase in the number of factories and of industrial employees
is revealed in the Statistics of Factories for British India, recently
The number of registered factories rose from 9,863 in 1937, to 10,782 in
1938—this being the highest number yet recorded. The number of factories
268 NOTES AND COMMENTS
actually working was 9,743, or 813 more than in the previous year; of these
6,086 were perennial and 3,657 seasonal.
Appreciable progress was made in cotton ginning and weaving, coach
building and motor car repairing, engineering, printing, book-binding and
rice industries. There was expansion also in the hosiery, bakeries, oil, glass,
cement, bricks and tiles, tea and tanning industries.
Side by side with the increase in the number of factories was the
increase in the number of workers. The average number of operatives rose
from nearly 16,76,000 in 1937 to 17,38,000 in 1938—again the highest figure
so far recorded. The most marked increases were in Bombay, Madras, the
Punjab, Bihar, Assam, Sind and the United Provinces.
In the cotton industry the number of operatives increased from 4,74,000
to 5,12,000, but in the jute mills, because of the restrictions imposed under the
Bengal Jute Ordinance on concerns having double shifts, the number declined
from 3,06,000 to 2,95,000.
There was a slight decline in the number of children employed, the
figure being 10,742, or 91 less than in 1937. The number of women employed
increased by about 9,000 to 2,41,000. Bombay was the only province where
there was an appreciable increase in the number of children employed. Penal
action was taken in Bombay, Bengal and Sind against irregular employment
of women and children.
The safeguarding of machinery and plant received close attention in all
the provinces. Steps were taken for better provision of fencing and guarding.
The importance of tight-fitting clothing was brought home to factory managers.
There was steady progress with housing schemes. In the United Pro-
vinces 454 quarters have been constructed—sugar factories being responsible
for the bulk of them. In Madras, housing accommodation is provided on
nominal rent in many of the rice, oil and textile mills and tea factories. In
Bombay, considerable progress has been made in popularising and improving
the Development Department chawls. In Bengal, additional accommodation
has been provided in 20 concerns and in several cases kutcha
houses have been
replaced by pucca
ones. In the Punjab, except in the case of a few large
factories, the housing conditions were unsatisfactory.
The health of the factory employees in all Provinces was reported as
generally good. Ventilation, lighting and sanitary facilities in the larger
establishments were on the whole adequate. Bombay continued to make
progress in air-conditioning the textile mills. Experience is showing that air-
conditioning is not only improving conditions, but has also increased efficiency
from four to eight per cent, with fewer breakages and more even conditions
for the yarn and cloth.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA 269
The nature of dust hazards which cause respiratory and other disabili-
ties, is being investigated in Assam, Bengal, Madras and the Punjab.
REPORT OF THE BIHAR LABOUR INQUIRY COMMITTEE
HE Report of the Labour Inquiry Committee appointed by the Government
of Bihar under the chairmanship of Dr. Rajendra Prasad was published
the last week in June. The Report consists of 25 chapters and 281 pages
and covers a wide range of subjects. Among the recommendations are the
(a) Due to conditions arising out of the war the matter of a compen-
satory allowance to correspond with the rise of the cost of living should be
(b) Ex-employees should be given the first claim on employment and
preference should be given in employing the relatives of employees. Dis-
crimination against Biharis in matter of employment should be discontinued.
(e) Government should assume power to prohibit contract labour, save
in exceptional circumstances.
(d) Every establishment should have service rules, framed in consulta-
tion with the labour unions or representatives of workers and submitted to the
Labour Commissioner for approval and registration.
(e) Reduction of wage-rate as a means of punishment should be abolished.
(f) Provident funds should be made compulsory save where Govern-
ment specifically grants exemption.
(g) Holidays with pay should be granted to workers who have complet-
ed a minimum number of days of service in a period of 12 months.
(h) The matter of a compulsory scheme of sickness insurance on a
contributory basis should be investigated.
(i) The Factories Act should be extended to all manufacturing estab-
lishments not using power, provided they employ at least 40 persons.
(j) Employers should be required to provide shelters for rest, and to
maintain creches for the care of children.
(k) Government should assume power to investigate serious grievances
regarding the rate of rents for workers' quarters.
(1) Workers' housing should be a statutory obligation on industry,
with due reference to the financial condition of an industry. Workers should
be encouraged to build homes by loans on reasonable terms and by concession
(m) A debt conciliation act applicable to industrial workers should be
270 NOTES AND COMMENTS
(n) Attempt should be made to acquaint the workers with their rights
under the Workmen's Compensation Act.
(o) The Payment of Wages Act should be extended to mines and
quarries. All wage contracts should be reduced to writing.
(p) All trade unions which are registered and have been in existence
for at least six months and command a minimum membership of 5 per cent, of
the total labour force in any establishment should be recognised by that estab-
lishment for purposes of negotiation.
(q) Cases of victimisation arising out of strikes should be decided by
the Labour Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him.
(r) There should be no strike or lockout without notice.
(s) Stay-in Strikes should be prohibited by law.
(t) Peaceful picketing should be permitted.
(u) An Industrial Court and a Labour Department with the Commis-
sioner of Labour at its head should be established.
SIND INDUSTRIAL ADVISORY BOARD
AN Industrial Advisory Board of 15 members has been appointed by the
Government of Sind to study problems relating to the industrial develop-
ment of Sind. The Board will function for three years and will prepare
schemes and examine proposals relating to industries, acting in an advisory
capacity to Government.
THE Government of India have requested the provincial Governments to
consult important associations of employers and workers in an endeavour
to ascertain whether they are willing to accept the principle of compulsory
contributions to the proposed sickness insurance fund. The opinions elicited
and the comments of the provincial Governments are to be in the hands of the
Central Government by September.
WHERE WELFARE AND HOUSING MEET
A VERY useful pamphlet under the above title has recently been issued by
a Joint Committee on Housing and Welfare of the American Public
Welfare Association and the National Association of Housing Officials.1
The Report stresses ' 'that public policy and administration in welfare
and housing have the same basic general objective—the groundwork for a
decent, healthful, civilized way of life for all families in the community,
1 American Public Welfare Association, 1313 East 60th St., Chicago, 25 cents.
WHERE WELFARE AND HOUSING MEET 271
including those at the. bottom of the economic heap . . . . Many officials both in
housing and welfare habitually fail to see the scope of the others' programmes
and activities. To altogether too many housers welfare administration is
solely or almost exclusively the granting of family relief—handing out certain
sums of money or forms of script or goods to destitute families. Too large
a proportion of welfare officials think of housing either as the enforcement
of a few rudimentary standards of sanitation or the building of a few isolated,
heavily subsidized housing projects . . . . The first job, therefore, both of
housing and welfare officials, is to find out what manner of men the others are
and what they are doing and trying to do."
The Report urges the co-operation of welfare and housing officials in
developing reasonable housing standards. It points out that planning, building
and managing low-rent housing are not simple jobs. They demand trained
and specialized abilities. On the other hand, housing officials should take
the advice of experienced welfare officials on housing needs, location of
housing projects and family habits and requirements. Before undertaking
clearance projects, housing and welfare officials should confer regarding the
proper disposition of dispossessed families. They should consult together
regarding tenant selection. Housing authorities should not attempt to provide
extensive welfare activities. They should rather co-operate with the welfare
agencies equipped to render such services.
Much sound common sense is compressed within a few small pages and
a supplementary bibliography supplies a competent guide for those who desire
to pursue the subject further.
WHY NOT PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENTS OF PUBLIC WELFARE ?
IN the winter of 1936-37, The Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social
Work organized a series of public lectures around the general theme,
"Some Social Services of the Government of Bombay." It was consider-
able of a problem to decide what should be included under the social services,
but as finally arranged the topics presented were: The Public Health Activities
of Government; The Medical Programme of Government; The Work of the
Labour Office; Factory Law Administration; The Administration of Work-
men's Compensation; The Work of the Labour Officer; Industrial Housing;
Rural Reconstruction; Co-operative Societies; and the Working of the Bombay
A recent English volume on Social Administration1
discusses such topics
as Public Health, Housing, Town and Country Planning, Education, Maternity
and Child Welfare Work, Employment of Children, Juvenile Delinquency,
Clarke, John J., London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, Ltd., Rev. Ed., 1939.
272 NOTES AND COMMENTS
National Health Insurance, Labour Legislation, Unemployment, Unemploy-
ment Insurance, Old Age Pensions, Blind Person's Pensions, and Widows,
Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts.
The term "Public Welfare" is difficult of exact definition, but in general
usage it refers to the public tax-supported social work carried on as a function
of either the Federal, Provincial or Local Governments.
From a functional standpoint, public welfare has been described as
including " a l l Governmental Activities for the prevention and treatment of
dependency, neglect, delinquency, crime, and physical or mental handicap.
It includes programmes for various type of public assistance, such as general
relief, unemployment relief—whether direct or work relief, disaster relief, and
assistance to special groups such as underprivileged children, the physically
and mentally handicapped, and the delinquent, and the administration of
public institutions for these groups. Related to these institutional programmes
are probation, parole, and clinical services. Closely related to public welfare
are other fields of social insurance and social p l a n n i n g . " 2
The modern conception of public welfare is thus far removed from its
historical antecedents—the Elizabethan Poor Laws and subsequent "pauper
Local bodies, both official and non-official, have attempted to supply
relief for the destitute and institutional care for the insane, delinquent and
physically handicapped. The obvious inability of local bodies to cope with
such problems in any adequate manner, has led larger units and the State
Authorities themselves to establish Government Institutions for those members
of society requiring special care.
In every country, the first step so far as Government was concerned,
was to establish institutions for the care of the handicapped. It has been in
relatively recent times that public welfare work has passed beyond the in-
Today, in any modern State, public welfare work is no longer confined
to institutions. It now includes child welfare activities, family case work, old
age assistance, mother's aid for the care of dependent children within the
home, mother's pensions, cash payments to the needy blind, and in more
recent years—unemployment relief and unemployment insurance.
The extension of the case work activities of Governments has been most
interesting. Both local, and what would correspond to our Provincial Govern-
ments, have interested themselves in the placing and adoption of orphan
children; work with unmarried mothers; care and education of the blind, deaf
and crippled—particularly children; and case work for the mentally deficient
2 Social Work Year Book, 1939, p. 348,
PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENTS OP PUBLIC WELFARE 273
and delinquent. In a number of States the work of probation and parole is
controlled in its entirety by State Departments of Public Welfare.
The State Welfare Authority is directly charged with the responsibility
of administering such state institutions as those for the care of the insane,
feeble minded, and epileptics; for dependent, neglected and delinquent child-
ren; for the physically handicapped, and the prisons and reformatories. The
State Welfare Authority has also the responsibility of supervising local public
institutions, such as almshouses and orphanages, and insisting that these
institutions maintain a certain standard of excellence.
It has been well pointed out in this connection that ' 'The ability of a
State Department to use these powers in a constructive educational way
depends as much upon the quality of the personnel employed as it does upon
the statutory provisions. Effective supervision of institutions and agencies,
public or private, presupposes a state department capable of exerting leader-
ship through initiation, stimulation, and education. It is important that the
State should experiment and co-operate in the establishing of standards rather
than rely merely on 'inspection' for that r e s u l t . " 3
The object of centralizing public welfare activities in a single depart-
ment of government is to prevent duplication of effort and to bring about co-
ordination of the agencies in the field. At present in India, welfare functions
may be found scattered through many departments of Government. A re-
organization, bringing related functions together in a single department of
public welfare, would, without doubt, result in an improvement of the services
rendered by the various agencies.
If public welfare work is to progress satisfactorily in India, there must
be not only proper administration and supervision of existing agencies, but
the creation of new local agencies under the direction of the provincial
authority. If funds are allotted for public welfare by the Central Government,
or by the Provincial Governments themselves, it will be the task of the provin-
cial welfare departments both to allocate funds to local bodies and to prescribe
rules and standards for these bodies. They may also lay down qualifications
for personnel and arrange for auditing the accounts of the local bodies. Central
Government supervision of the provincial departments and thus indirectly of
the local agencies should help to improve the standard of work.
The administrative control of a Provincial Department of Public Welfare
might be vested in a single appointed welfare executive, or in an appointed
board which would either name an executive or act jointly as the executive.
The qualifications for the public welfare administrator are a thorough
knowledge of the field, and proven executive competence. The workers entrust-
274 NOTES AND COMMENTS
ed with carrying out the programmes should be adequately trained in modern
methods of social work.
We are living in a time of rapid changes in the social field. The pro-
blems of public welfare are too complicated to be relegated to departmental
subordinates with no particular genius or enthusiasm for the task in hand.
They demand the continuous attention of able and well-trained minds. Is the
time not at hand for the establishment of Provincial Departments of Public