November 18, 2014 1:34:54 am
The NDA’s landmark labour reform Bill to amend the Factories Act is unlikely to be taken up in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament as the standing committee on labour is yet to finalise its report
“We are still examining the Bill and in discussing with stakeholders. The report is unlikely to be finalised soon,” said a member of the House panel.
The committee, which is led by BJP MP Virendra Kumar, is understood to have held only two meetings to discuss the Bill. “We have had some discussions with trade unions. But these need to be more detailed, after which we will meet employers as well,” said the member.
The month-long Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to start from November 24.The government was hopeful that there would be some movement on the Bill in the forthcoming session but without the recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Bill can not be taken up for discussion.
Keen to modernise the country’s labour laws — some of which date to the pre-Independence era, the NDA government had introduced the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, in August this year during the Budget session of Parliament. The current Act was enacted in 1948.
The long-pending Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, aims to improve safety and health of workers as well as allow women to be employed for night shifts in factories and also increase the limit for overtime hours by workers.
The Bill, which seeks to redefine the definition of a factory, was seen as one of the first concrete reform measures taken by the government.
The proposed legislation also seeks to lower the criteria for annual leave with wages to 90 days from the current 240 days as well as provide canteen facilities to factories employing 200 workers.
Hoping to attract investors, finance minister Arun Jaitley has recently also announced that the government would further liberalise labour law regulations. “Some aspects of the labour laws in India can certainly be improved and rationalised,” he said at the World Economic Forum meet.
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