The Bold Voice of J&K

Labour laws

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In its first major step towards overhauling the country’s labour laws, the Union Government  has cleared long-pending amendments to three critical laws in the sector that would enable a doubling of the overtime limit for workers, exemption for firms employing up to 40 workers from compliance of labour regulations and allow more trades to be included under the Apprenticeship Act. A single window online compliance for some labour laws and process changes are underway to make provident fund as simple as bank accounts. The government should keep pushing for legislative changes so that industrial climate improves to ‘make in India’ a reality,  a vision as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The changes should rationalise and simplify labour laws and encourage formal sector employment in large scale units. The Union Cabinet cleared 54 amendments to the archaic Factories’ Act, 1948. Of the country’s 44 labour laws, states play a key role in enforcement of most of them, particularly dealing with industrial disputes, counter-productive laws undermining job creations in manufacturing sector. Within weeks of forming the government, the NDA, through the Labour Ministry, had begun consultations towards amending these laws that are seen as a major challenge by companies in doing business in the country. More importantly, shifting the focus from the states, the Centre would now be empowered to make rules on some of the provisions of the Act. Similarly, amendments to the Apprenticeship Act are expected to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfill his vision of implementing “Skill India” as 500 new trades, including IT-enabled services, would be included in the scheme, allowing more employers to participate in training and employment of such workers. Significantly, a draconian provision that called for arrest and imprisonment of employers who did not implement the Apprenticeship Act will now be dropped. It is time to remove these old outdated laws which hampers employment generation side by side there is a need for reforms in educational sector also. The recent example is of China emerging as the world’s top manufacturer.  Govt will have to ensure employment potential for large section of youth which pass out of various institutions in the country.

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