Indian manufacturing has got a dynamic boost and tremendous recognition with its Make-In-India initiative. One of the landmark reforms being talked about is labour reform, where measures to change labour laws of India for the better are being introduced. After all, Flexibility, Employment and Labour Reforms have always been vehemently contested as the gateway to growth for Indian Manufacturing Industry.
To apprise people of these measures, about 20 million text messages were sent out to organizations, labourers and youth. The initiative has been welcomed by the Chambers of Business. The scheme has proposed Shram Suvidha Portal which is a single window for compliance with labour laws. This scheme attempts to simplify procedures of the labour industry rooting for complete transparency and accountability. Primarily, the scheme is proposing easy portability for provident fund users, a worry-free labour law compliance web portal and a scheme for training apprentices. These measures will minimize unnecessary harassment by the inspectors.
Features of the new Labour Reforms:
- New inspection scheme: This scheme is primarily aimed at taking the discretionary powers from the inspectors. Under the new inspection scheme, the inspectors will have to file a report within 72 hours. Further, the Inspection is proposed to be divided into three parts, namely – mandatory, optional and compliance-based. An auto generated list will be provided to inspectors to intimate them about their inspection location. As per the current statistics, every year about 8,000 inspectors undertake 175,000 inspections.
- Unified Labour Portal (named Shram Suvidha): The government for four Central government organizations – Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Chief Labour Commissioner has introduced this unified labour portal. This will aid to reducing the compliance sheet from 80 pages to a single sheet by channeling a common window for:
- Registering of units
- Reporting of inspections
- Submission of annual returns and
- Redressal of grievances
- Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) – It is proposed that a unique Labour Identification Number or LIN be allotted to each employer after registration.
- Universal Account Number (UAN) – Universal Account Number is a facility for 2 million EPFO subscribers for portability of PF funds on switching jobs.
- Apprentice Protsahan Yojana – Under this scheme, the Union Labour ministry would contribute 50% of stipend cost to train youths during the first two years of training program. Currently over two lakh apprentices are getting trained under the on-going government scheme. It is proposed to raise this number to whopping 23 million in the coming years.
Automated Inspection Process
From now on a computer will decide where the inspector has to go for inspection and he will have to file his report within 72 hours, helping both labour and industry. The area of inspection will be divided into three parts: mandatory (extreme situation), optional (system-generated) and compliance-based. The inspector will get an auto-generated list.
If implemented, the reforms will provide a spurt in the number of skilled personnel and stimulate growth of the manufacturing sector.
These measures were announced by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the Deendayal Upadhyay Shrameva Jayate. Few industry experts feel that, though the reforms are positive, the power will still lie with few bureaucratic hands. India has 47 central laws and over 200 state laws that regulate the relationship between workers and their employers. The near future should hopefully bring about an impactful revision in such workforce relationship, fostering uninterrupted growth for our country.
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