The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to hold consultations with labour and trade unions in the state regarding the implementation of the four labour codes passed by Narendra Modi government.
At the state Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, state Labour Secretary Vinita Singhal gave a detailed presentation regarding the four codes.
During the discussion that followed, some ministers argued that several trade and labour unions had spoken out against some of the provisions incorporated in these legislations.
The Cabinet was informed that while President Ram Nath Kovind had given his assent to the four labour codes, the Centre was yet to fix a date for its implementation, following which it was decided to hold consultations with unions.
The four labour codes – Code on Social Security, 2020; Occupational Safety, Health and Working Condition Code, 2020; and Industrial Relation Code 2020 and Wage Code, 2019 – have already been notified in the gazette.
Aimed at merger of 29 central labour laws into four broader legislations, they offer industries more flexibility in doing business, hiring and firing, making industrial strikes difficult, reducing influence of trade union, promoting fixed term employment, while aiding expansion of the social security net for informal social sector workers.
With the new labour codes falling in the Concurrent List, it will be difficult for Maharashtra or any other state to stall the implementation of the legislations. But by reaching out to the labour unions and the labour class, the government wants to send a political message that the welfare of the poor or the labour class was at the core of its policies.
But a section of labour activists are opposed to some of the provisions, with many arguing that they promote contractual employment at the expense of full-time employment and impinge on some of the entitlements of the employed labour force.
The Uddhav Thackeray government had earlier decided against immediate implementation of the contentious farm ordinances, constituting a ministerial committee under the chief minister for holding consultations with farmer welfare outfits. But a senior minister pointed out that unlike the farm ordinances, which dealt with subjects falling in the State List, measures advocated by the labour legislations were a part of the Concurrent List and that the state may not be in a position to stall their implementation entirely, once the Centre announces the date for the implementation.
The ministers, however, felt that the consultative framework will give the ruling allies a chance to reach out the labour class and also put their point across.
Sugar mills get more time to pay loans
Sweetening the deal for sugar barons from the cooperative sector, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to give them more time to make payments towards pre-seasonal loans availed with the help of the government guarantees.
Last month, the Cabinet had approved a proposal for issuance of guarantees worth Rs 390 crore to 32 sugar mills for availing pre-seasonal loans. While the guarantee amount was earlier to be tagged to the current crushing season, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to grant time till next September for the mills to make payments towards the loan from the proceeds of the season.
Rs 2,000-crore ADB loan for farm electricity
The Cabinet sanctioned a proposal from MahaVitran – state’s power distribution arm – for availing of Rs 2,248-crore loan from the Asian Development Bank for development of the High Voltage Power Distribution System (HVPDS) for providing electricity for farms that are yet to be connected. The scheme, meant to benefit 2.24 lakh farmers, was first introduced during the previous BJP-led regime. The state has agreed to stand guarantor to the loan.
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