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The Delhi government’s labour department has been very inactive between 2011 and 2015, according to the CAG report. In the last five years, the department has a pendency rate of 58 to 69 per cent in terms of disposing of cases filed by workers denied minimum wages.
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Under the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923, the labour commissioner is supposed to dispose of cases within three months. But the CAG report said cases were disposed of with delays ranging from three to four years — amounting to “postponement of timely relief to the injured or to the family of the deceased” as per the Act.
The government, in its reply, said the respective district labour commissioners and deputy labour commissioners were overburdened with work under the various labour laws and Acts and that “pendency does occur occasionally”. “The issue will be taken on a campaign basis to liquidate pendency,” an official said.
Of 16,373 complaints filed by workers not paid wages under the Minimum Wages Act in three of the nine revenue districts surveyed in the CAG report, inspections were carried out by inspecting officers only in 4,432 complaints (27 per cent). The Act mandates a physical inspection of every factory or shop by inspecting officers.
The Labour department has also not brought in any mechanism to maintain a database on the number of shops, establishments, factories, and the workers employed by them.
As a result, the government has not ascertained which establishments are supposed to register with them and how many contractors have valid licences, the CAG report said.
For instance, the government has not investigated the validity of claims and documents, including claims of health and welfare facilities, submitted by contractors for obtaining licences under the Contract Labour (Registration and Abolition) Act. Under the Factories Act, a mere 10 to 11 per cent factories were physically inspected before licences were issued, and only 38 to 50 per cent factories engaged in hazardous or dangerous processes were inspected.