Shramev Jayate: Modi govt plucks some key low-hanging fruit for labour reforms

Modi said it is important to bring back dignity of labour and respect those who choose to undertake vocational training.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: October 17, 2014 11:06 am
The Indian Express had reported that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to unveil half a dozen schemes. The Indian Express had reported that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to unveil half a dozen schemes.

Stressing that labour reforms hold the key to the success of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unveiled a new roadmap, including measures to end ‘Inspector Raj’ with a system that is expected to sharply curb the element of discretion with labour inspectors and a single window compliance process for companies on labour-related issues.

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ALSO READ: Focus ‘Make in India’: Modi set to launch six labour schemes 

As a step in this direction, all 1,800 labour inspectors will be disallowed from swooping down on companies and instead, a computerised system will randomly send them on inspections, based on data trends and objective criteria. Following inspections, they will have to upload their reports within 72 hours and cannot modify them thereafter.

“Let’s start with trust,” said Modi, while inaugurating the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayete event organised by the Labour Ministry here on Thursday. “Ease of business is the first and foremost requirement if Make In India has to be made successful,” he said.
Central labour inspectors have already been sent text messages on behalf of the Prime Minister to sensitise them to the reforms, and the ministry is hopeful that the annual inspections — currently about 3 lakh — will come down sharply.

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Modi also unveiled nearly half-a-dozen schemes, including a Shram Suvidha Portal where employers can submit a single compliance report for 16 labour laws, a new web-based labour inspection system, unique account numbers for members of the EPFO, a revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana as well as a new skill development and apprenticeship scheme.

Sharply streamlining the cumbersome compliance process, manufacturers can now register online at the Shram Suvidha portal and file a self-certified single compliance report for 16 Central labour laws. In return, labour inspections by four central agencies — EPFO, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, Central Labour Commissioner and Director General of Mines’ Safety — will be based on a computerised list of units that are picked up from this database.

Noting that it is the government’s responsibility to simplify trade, he said the new schemes put the onus of compliance with the citizens who are expected to self certify their reports and also curb the arbitrariness of labour inspections. “These facilities are what I call minimum government, maximum governance,” he said.

Asserting that Shramev Jayate is essential to boost economic development, Modi said it is important to bring back dignity of labour and respect those who choose to undertake vocational training or work as apprentices.

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“In our country, only white collar jobs are considered good… We have to change our perceptions and give respect to labour,” he stressed, adding that the revamped apprenticeship scheme and Industrial Training Institutes have a total of 34 lakh seats for students.

These initiatives, he said, would also pave the way for skilling of youth, and even create an opportunity for India to meet the global requirement of skilled labour workforce in the years ahead. To showcase the success of skilling programmes, the Prime Minister and the Labour Ministry also felicitated former students from these institutes.

Significantly, in a bid to clarify the NDA’s labour-friendly image, the Prime Minister also said that labour issues must be looked at from the perspective of the labour, not industrialists. “Such a compassionate approach would result in the shram yogi (labourer) becoming a rashtra yogi and a rashtra nirmaata (nation-builder),” he said. His comments are significant given that the NDA government has received flak from trade unions for its recent reform measures including amendments to the Factories Act and the Apprentices’ Act.

However, trade unions remained sceptical of the government’s stance. “The announcement of the new schemes is most welcome but we have to wait and watch for the actual implementation,” said B N Rai, president, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.

The Left parties were more critical. “It is only cheating of workers as, while the government is launching these schemes, simultaneously it is changing the labour laws to push out the labour from their purview “ said Tapan Sen, Rajya Sabha member and general secretary, CITU, adding that there is nothing new about efforts such as the UAN that have been going one for the last six years.

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First Published on: October 17, 2014 12:05 am
  1. S
    Subhajit Redishcra
    Jun 21, 2016 at 7:59 am
    Anything that goes against the destructive socialists , unions is going to do good for the nation.lt;br/gt;Only the inefficient and worthless people want more "security" and social safety net policies as they KNOW they can not compete in the free market, and we do know how inefficient Indian insutions are.
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    1. S
      SUMAN MAITRA
      Nov 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm
      What does this LABOR REFORM means ! Free hand for intensive labor layoff , taking away the right of work for maximum 8 hours a day ,relaxing the mandatory regulation for PF contribution , legalize and promote 'hire and fire' policy in the name LABOR REFORM . Reform is a long continuous process of a dynamic society . It cannot be done by only managing Headlines.For that you must to have an scientific, progressive team free from mythological believes/ideas and a KHAP Panchayat mindset .And that must have to have a humane face . .Reform cannot be done on a particular community . Irrespective of cast, creed and language . Putting forward your divisive agendas you can only make reform profitable to Multinational , Corporates and Baniyas .
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        arn
        Oct 17, 2014 at 5:56 am
        what was for labor in these schemes. all is for industrialists they shall have free hand, no body to check.
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        1. S
          sanjay garg
          Nov 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm
          All these announcements are fake and are of no use for labour and the industries as well.
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          1. R
            Raj
            Oct 17, 2014 at 4:02 am
            Trade unions have become a business these days. The "union leader" never works, only plays politics and collects bribes or threatens "strikes".It is unfortunate that these trade unions believe they are "enled to a job" and giving them employment and a place to p the time is the reason PSUs and other large corporations exist. This is has allowed politicians also to believe the same things and set up factories simply to "employ" people - instead of actually being compeive and producing value to the country and the economy.
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            1. V
              Vinu Koratty
              Oct 16, 2014 at 5:39 am
              No Hire & Fire policy yet. DISAPPOINTING.
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              1. K
                kalyan
                Oct 16, 2014 at 7:11 am
                Fantastic.
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                1. K
                  kjingar
                  Oct 16, 2014 at 8:18 am
                  Good step forward.The labor inspectors used to visit only to collect hafta.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kiran Aithal
                    Oct 16, 2014 at 7:55 am
                    Good decision by Narendra modiji..PM., Jai Ho....
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                    1. I
                      Indain
                      Oct 17, 2014 at 5:13 am
                      Trade Unionist have been the single biggest reason why there is huge unemployment in India. By making hire and fire difficult they have made the entrepreneurs to think twice if not three times before increasing the headcount. Look at IT industry where these labour laws donot apply (it is another matter IT guys are highly paid). IT companies can hire and fire at will. Yahoo / Apple etc sacked IT engineers in bangalore by the busload. It gives the IT companies elbow room to play around. Similarly, if trade unionism is curbed then the companies can hire more. At the same time the Minimum wages act has to be respected and all employees should be paid minimum wages. The govt has to put in place a system to ensure that minimum wages are paid to all blue collared employees. Modi has taken a step in the right direction
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                      1. K
                        Kunal Gautam
                        Oct 16, 2014 at 7:33 am
                        This was much needed, clipping the wings of the inspectors. But much needs to be done yet. While arbitrary powers of inspectors to har industrial units have been done away with, archaic provisions in the labour law that allows such harment to take place still stand.
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                        1. S
                          Saikumar Pillai
                          Oct 16, 2014 at 8:51 am
                          The country is in need of productive services. Let us link remuneration with productivity . Minimum wages needs to be linked with Minimum production . . The employees and unions needs to ensure this while the employers and unions needs to ensure that conditions are provided to ure employees for their acts . Legislators needs to frame guidelines and regulatory authority needs to effectively implement this to ensure "ALL IS WELL" .
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                          1. N
                            NetDost -
                            Oct 16, 2014 at 5:30 am
                            this is much needed
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                            1. S
                              Sanjay Tomar
                              Oct 24, 2014 at 5:35 am
                              First Government must p socialsecurity bill in which all citizen are protected from any type of income loss untilhire & fire can't be p as law in India. Other country has this law. We already know industrialist not obeying the laborlaw in most of the country. Unofficially everywhere hire & fire is continuingbut they want official also is very dangerous. Employee will be exploited morelike today suicides will take place. Growthdoes not mean only some industrialist growth at the cost of employee future, survival.
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                              1. S
                                Sanjay Tomar
                                Oct 24, 2014 at 5:37 am
                                First Government must p socialsecurity bill in which all citizen are protected from any type of income loss untilhire & fire can't be p as law in India. Other country have socialsecurity bill. We already know industrialistnot obeying the labor law in most of the country. Unofficially everywhere hire& fire is continuing but they want official also is very dangerous. Employeewill be exploited more like today suicides will take place. Growth does not mean only some industrialistgrowth at the cost of employee future, survival.
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  Sanjay Tomar
                                  Oct 24, 2014 at 5:41 am
                                  People are understood the impact of Policy . In india most of the policy are anti people policy favoring only industrialist, politician & helping in big corruption to exploit the people of India to keep them poor, & exploit them.
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                                    Adithya Shankar
                                    Oct 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm
                                    Dont be a crude capitalist , India need reforms some are haring but that doesn't mean our workers life at danger
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                                      NLS
                                      Oct 17, 2014 at 9:35 am
                                      I think it will be suicidal for the govt. to move so soon to it. They have to do a lot more (and earn the trust of at least some unions) before they can even propose such a move. To be fair to the employees, a social security net system will have to be put in place before allowing employers to retrench people as the situations demand. One hopes that the country will get there during Modi's first term, although it is appearing not too realistic right now.
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                                      1. N
                                        NLS
                                        Oct 17, 2014 at 9:27 am
                                        Not only that. Union protected employees indulge in violence whenever there is difference of opinion with employers with the confidence that unions will protect them whatever they do. Case in point is the hacking to death of managers at Maruthi plant last year. Employees want security of job, want to work only regular hours with no overtime, resist induction of new technologies that improve productivity using automation, do not want to learn or update their skills in tune with what the market demands, do not want to have any share in the risk employers face from market pressures. This kind of mindset will lead to bankruptcy of companies facing international compeion in a world where trade barriers are going away constantly. Protectionism is no option, only productivity gain is. That said, we also do not have a social security net in the country - so govt. will have to develop the infrastructure to up-skill people who do not have marketable skills and also introduce social security payments when people are in between jobs. Employers will need to contribute to such a fund in return to govt. consent for retrenchment in select conditions.
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                                        1. S
                                          S.Suchindranath
                                          Oct 17, 2014 at 5:55 am
                                          Not surprising. BJP has been polling several selected people for ideas and suggestions for more than three months now. This is just one of many moves in the offing. BUT, I sincerely feel that India needs to s ALL laws including the Consution since 1947 and start again. The right hing would be to prepare a comprehensive set of laws and bring them into law repealing the aculated tangled web of totalitarian oppression and Quota-Corruption iron framework:
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                                            Bipin Trivedi
                                            Oct 17, 2014 at 5:23 am
                                            Labor Unions in India are the biggest hindrance in industrial growth... Union protected employee are safe and give less productivity and ultimately increase the cost of the end product. This is the reason we cannot compete in international market... No industry want sack any of their employee unless he does not work or show honesty in their work... So actually we need to restrict union activity by modifying the laws to increase our productivity...
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