New Labour Codes will promote harmonious industrial relations, ensure higher productivity & create more jobs: Santosh Kumar Gangwar

New Delhi: Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State (IC) for Labour & Employment, Govt of India today said that the new Labour Codes will promote harmonious industrial relations, higher productivity and more employment generation.

Addressing the webinar ’86th Annual General Meeting of AIOE, allied body of FICCI’, Mr Gangwar said, “The labour codes will establish a transparent, answerable and simple mechanism along with one registration, one license and less return filing for all the codes. We have taken several steps through labour codes to help the work force and take care of their well-being.”

Mr Gangwar further stated that the government has been constantly striving to bring in the much-needed labour reforms in the country which has not been done for the last 73 years. “In last six years many multi-stakeholder consultations were held with all stakeholders including the employers, trade unions and experts before finalizing these Codes,” he added.

Highlighting the benefits of the new Labour Codes, Mr Gangwar said that these will cover over 50 crore workers from organized, unorganized sector for minimum wages and social security. “Fixed term employment has been introduced and fixed term employee will get the same service conditions as regular employees. This will also benefit the industry as it will provide a flexibility,” he added.

He emphasized that in order to discourage sudden strike in any unit, provision of a 14-day notice has been introduced in the IR Code. “All workers in any establishment, will have to give a 14-day notice before announcing strike. This has been introduced to ensure that during this period, the grievances can be sorted out in an amicable way. There will also be a provision of setting up of a Negotiating Union which will also benefit the workers and industry,” said Mr Gangwar.

To remove the inspector raj from the system, Mr Gangwar said, “Inspector will now be called inspector cum facilitator. To bring in transparency, effectiveness and accountability, we have also made provision for setting up a web-based inspection system. These new Codes will not only make the labour laws simpler but also bring in ease of doing business.”

Mr Gangwar said that the government is also streamlining the process of compounding of offences to ensure early settlement of the cases. “The amount collected through compounding will be transferred to a special social security fund which will benefit the workers in the unorganized sector,” he noted.

In order to give relief to the companies, Mr Gangwar said that the provision of ‘deemed approval’ has also been introduced for obtaining licenses, approvals, etc. “A definitive time-frame has been set for all these. If the license issuing authority does not give it in the given timeframe then the company will get ‘deemed approval’.

Ms Dagmar Walter, Director ILO, DWT for South Asia and Country Office in India, said that the success of the new labour codes will primarily depend upon its implementation strategy, capacity of local and state institutions and participation of social partners. “Labour policies and laws are the backbone of the world of work, guaranteeing protection of interest for workers and employers and creating a safe and conducive work environment, necessary for productivity. The labour reforms in the post COVID-19 scenario need to ensure sustainable solutions, which are capacitated to protect the most vulnerable. We will need measures ensuring the development of a just and inclusive society,” she added.

Ms Walter further said that India is a symbol of unity in diversity for the world and it is the best prescription to achieve the desired sustainable reform, development for a better future of work. “The pandemic points at the importance of having social partnerships between employers and worker organizations,” she noted.

Mr Rohit Relan, President, AIOE while complementing the government on the new Labour Codes said that these will have a far-reaching impact for peaceful and harmonious labour relations in our country. “AIOE whole heartedly welcomes the new labour reforms as it opens new horizons to bring India’s large informal sector employees into formal workforce. We are sure the implementation of these codes will enable India to climb up further in the ranking of Ease of Doing Business,” he added.

Mr Relan further said that the new codes will also promote employment generation and the opening of new horizons for the informal sector employees to formal sector will certainly help in reviving our economy and making it one of the leading economies of the world.

Mr Shishir Jaipuria, President Elect, AIOE said the new Labour Codes would definitely send a positive message to the investors. “The reforms brought by the government in operational areas, using ICT in compliance issue, will no doubt reduce bureaucratic hurdles and avoidable paperwork. These reforms are not only going to help the employers and employees during the COVID 19 but will hopefully prove to be progressive and relevant even post COVID too,” he added.

Mr Japuria also assured the Minister that the employers will do their best to ensure that an environment of growth and social harmony continues to be maintained in the country.

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