Labour Bureau, an attached office under Ministry of Labour and Employment, was set up on 1st October 1946. It is entrusted with the work of compilation, collection, analysis and dissemination of statistics on different aspects of labour. Labour Bureau has two main wings stationed in Shimla and Chandigarh. It has four regional offices at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Kanpur with a sub regional office at Mumbai.
The foundations of Labour Bureau can be traced to the The Royal Commission on Labour in 1931 which emphasised the need for systematic collection of labour statistics relating to living, working and socio-economic conditions of industrial labour. The rise in prices post world war II also necessitated the need for setting up of a machinery for measuring change in prices for compensation of wages of workers. The Rau Court of Enquiry was set up in 1940 to recommend a statistical machinery for measuring change in prices. Accordingly the Directorate of Cost of Living was set up at Shimla in 1941 for conducting Family Budget Enquiries and compiling index numbers. Later in 1946 the directorate was renamed as Labour Bureau.
Labour Bureau collects and publishes statistics and related information on wages, earnings, productivity, absenteeism, labour turn-over, industrial relations, working and living conditions and evaluation of working of various labour enactments etc. Besides important economic indicators like Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial, Agricultural and Rural Labourers; wage rate indices and data on industrial relations, socio-economic conditions in the organised and unorganised sector of industry etc are also released by the office.
The functions/activities of Labour Bureau can be classified under the following major heads:
- Labour Intelligence: This consists of compilation and maintenance of Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial Workers, Agricultural/Rural Labourers, Retail Price Index of Selected Essential Commodities in Urban
Areas, Wage Rate Indices, Productivity Indices.
- Labour Research: Labour research consist of conducting research studies and surveys on labour related matters in organized and unorganized sector covering inter-alia SC/ST Workers, Women Labour, Contract Workers etc. Quick
Employment Survey and Employment-Unemployment survey are also being conducted by Labour Bureau.
- Monitoring and evaluation studies: This entails collection, compilation and dissemination of statistical information on various aspects of labour such as employment, wages and earnings, absenteeism, labour turnover, social
security, welfare amenities, industrial relations, etc. based on statutory and voluntary returns under different Labour Acts and surveys conducted.