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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  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.
    Reply
  2. 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 .
    Reply
  3. A
    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.
    Reply
  4. 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.
    Reply
  5. 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.
    Reply
  6. V
    Vinu Koratty
    Oct 16, 2014 at 5:39 am
    No Hire & Fire policy yet. DISAPPOINTING.
    Reply
  7. K
    kalyan
    Oct 16, 2014 at 7:11 am
    Fantastic.
    Reply
  8. K
    kjingar
    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:18 am
    Good step forward.The labor inspectors used to visit only to collect hafta.
    Reply
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