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Labour Reforms in India

A labourer is defined as a person who does work, especially physical work. The Labour reforms in India are meant to maintain industrial peace and to promote the welfare of labourers.

Constitutional Articles and International procedures related to labour:

Labour problems in India:

  • Majority of labourers are working in the unorganized sector (i.e. more than 90%).
  • Unorganized sector-Any organisation which has ten or less than 10 employees and does not provide any social security benefits to its employees.
  • Employees are under paid as there is no rule of minimum wage.
  • Children are more vulnerable than other type of workers and it affects their education and health condition.
  • There are no proper working hours (office timing) and working for long hours makes workers vulnerable to over exploitation and adversely affects their health.
  • There is no proper provision of life insurance and medical insurance for workers working in the unorganised sectors.

Child labour

  • Any labourer below eighteen years of age is known as a Child labourer.
  • But the Child Labour Act bans children below fourteen years of age engaged in both hazardous and non-hazardous activities and below eighteen years of age in hazardous activities.
  • So, there is a conflict in the definition of child labour itself.
  • The increase in the concept of contract labour, forces the employees, especially women to work in the same uncomfortable work conditions till their contract gets over.
  • The increasing use of robots and use of high-end technology results in reduced employment opportunities.
  • The wages of the employees are not given on par with the wage conditions of the International Labour Organisation.
  • Women employees face exploitation in the form of abusive language or even sexual exploitation at their work place.
  • Employees are not provided with minimum number of holidays as prescribed by the International Labour Organisation.

Labour Reforms:

  • Social Security Act,2008 – It provides for social security and welfare of the unorganized workers.
  • Minimum Wages Act,1948 – It sets the minimum wages that must be paid to skilled and unskilled labourers.
  • SARVEKSHANA -Management of proper labour status with the help of National Sample Survey Organisation(NSSO).
  • V.V.Giri National Labour Institute – It is a premier organisation working in the area of research in the field of labour and training of labour administrators, trade unions, public sector managers and other government functionaries concerned with labour.
  • The Plantations Labour (Amendment)Act, 2010 – It is a separate act to protect the plantation workers and their benefits.
    Recently Kerala and West Bengal solved the problem of plantation workers through MGNREGA(Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), Rashtriya swasthya bima yojana,etc.
  • Maternity benefit Act,1961– The Act provides for maternity leave for women both before and after delivery.
  • Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme and National Pension Scheme -The organisation under organised sector with more than twenty employees will contribute 12% of their salary in Provident Fund.
  • Shramev Jayate – Under this the government provides a Universal Account Number to all workers to solve the problem of multiple PF account numbers.
  • Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) -The employees will get medical insurance through ESIC hospitals at the time of injury.
  • Unions- Organisations with more than hundred employees can form their own unions for their training, demands, problems,etc.
  • UDAAN Scheme- to enhance the employability of unemployed youth of J&K.
  • STAR (Standard Training Assessment and Reward) – It motivates youth to voluntarily join skill development.
  • Factories Act- There is a need to amend this act for safety, better health conditions and welfare of the employees.

Other Government schemes and legislation to bring in Labour Reforms

  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act,1976.
  • Workmen’s Compensation Act,1923.
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act,1970.
  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act,1979.
  • The Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana-for the benefit of pregnant women (maternity benefit programme).
  • Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana-cashless health insurance scheme for the Indian poor.
  • Street Vendors Act, 2014
  • Housing for all- it proposes to build 2 crore houses for urban poor in urban areas by the year 2022.
  • National Social Assistance Programme, 1995.
    1.) Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.
    2.) Indira Gandhi National Disablility Pension Scheme.
    3.) Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme.
    4.) National Family benefit scheme.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment bill,2016.
    This bill proposes to widen the scope of the law against child labour and imposes higher penalty and stricter punishment on violations. It also suggested to cancel the licence of industries employing child labourers.
  • Government publishes employment news to create awareness among people regarding government employment opportunities and their rules and regulations.

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