Amid a walkout by the Opposition JD(S),the Congress government pushed through the state Assembly Wednesday Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Bill 2013 that outlaws strikes by employees of public utilities and services,including the IT industry.
The Bill,as promised by the government at the unveiling of a new IT policy in October,brings the industry within its ambit as an essential service and aims to prevent disruption of activities in the sector during bandhs and strikes.
The Bill,opposed by the JD(S) as being anti-worker,makes strikes by employees of public utilities providing water,health care,power and transport illegal and a non-bailable offence.
The Bill was brought after a number of strikes in sectors such as health care in recent times.
It defines essential services as any service connected with the production,generation,storage,transmission,supply or distribution of water or electricity and any transportation service for the carriage of passengers or goods by motor vehicles.
The law passed by the Lower House of the state legislature gives the government the authority to declare even services on list II of the seventh schedule of the Constitution essential.
The law prescribes a one-year punishment and a fine of Rs 5,000 for those convicted of starting a strike,participating in a strike,provoking a strike or financing a strike.