Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Industrial Relations And Labour Laws
Harsh Kumar Mehta
Consultant In Labour Laws/hr
Md- S.s Enterprise
Asso.prof.(commerce & Management) Pg
T.u. & Social Activities
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The reason behind the reforms to end the Inspector Raj, is to safeguard the closure of the companies, like DLF Construction Wing, and at present Nokia which is planned to close its operation in Chennai (where 8000 workers become unemployed) with effect from 01 Nov 2014. If a worker sustained injury it will give impact only to the individual or his family but a factory got closed then it will effect the entire financial condition of that society either directly or indirectly. Hence it is a required action being taken by our Hon'ble Prime Minister.
But we must consider the scenario from your point of view also. This ending of Inspector Raj will not give any wrong or negative signals to any organisation to act as per their will and wish and stopping or reducing the benefits being rendered to the employees. If the aggrieved persons approach the concerned authorities, obviously they will get relief for their grievance. But in the name of inspection, the Factories Inspectors / Labour Inspectors are influencing and earning undue benefits from the employers in the name of Inspections can be avoided by this reform.
DLF Construction Wing or Nokia's decline is due to poor management practices. They should have foreseen the risks in running their businesses and taken timely action to obviate those risks. Their closure or decline has nothing to do with labour laws of India. Indian companies have grown notwithstanding the prevailing labour laws.
By the way, has anybody taken survey of the employees working in the companies that become sick? Do employees working in these companies hold labour laws or the management responsible for their company's sickness?
This is the problem is. The politicians listen only to the entrepreneurs and not the other side. Poor labour laws is nothing but a cover used to hide the inefficiencies of the corporate honchos. I am against this. Not that I am against the labour reforms in their entirety.
Now the reforms are launched with much fanfare. Will CII or ASSOCHAM come up with study after two years to show how these reforms have helped the Indian companies to grow?
Basically I am against person like Vijay Mallaya who roam scot free. While launching the reforms whether Mr Narendra Modi will tame these boorish businesspersons that remains to be seen.
Going by the cursory look of the PM's speech, I have to confess nothing significant going to happen from what he was promising. On one side he spoke of "Inspector Raj" on the other he spoke about colours of collars. What he has announced has nothing in store either for entrepreneurs or employees. All he highlighted so called labour reforms could be covered by issuing one administrative order by a Deputy Secy.of the GoI. Things like Maruti or Nokia factories or Kingfisher have nothing to do with labour laws of India. These are results of mismanagement and lack of knowledge and unwillingness to adopt proper corporate governance. If an Entrepreneur not prepared to contribute to EPF & ESI of his employees let him not open any estt. Scores of other countries have stricter norms than India has. Inspectors are not doing any good job, agreed, that doesn't mean they should totally be disbanded. Atleast now erring units fear of an inspection by an Inspector once in a life time, of course he may inspect more frequently as possible depending on his requirement of cash flow. Despite these checks millions of labours are exploited, deprived of their just facilities and benefits. Wage levels are very low, safety is sacrificed, no security of continuous employment. What have we done to address all these errants ? Unfortunately all the laws that were enacted for the protection of factory labors who were prone to exploitation by Capitalists/Industrialists/Managers are now a days are extended to cover, hospitals, Educational Orgs/Service Orgs etc. Entire country know thousands of B.E. graduates are languishing for a paltry few thousands, Doctors are on daily wages. Look at this- On the other hand when the same activity is conducted by an Org owned by a Local Body or Panchayats or Nagar Nigams or Zila Panchayats, corporations, PSUs, govt.offices etc all laws are bypassed or managed with the connivance of authorities,law enforcement Inspectors. No one is held accountable for unfair labour practices except on few occasions where pocket money is not forthcoming. In India for everything there is a price. Millions work as casuals over decades. Who cares. PM's sermon is good enough only to fill the columns of news papers and TV news slots. It's time to think qualitatively with an open mind keeping our conscience clean and upright.
Noting that the programme was billed as an end to 'Inspector Raj', despite inspections, "many labour laws and social security schemes like EPF and ESI were not being implemented for large chunk of workers. The new norms will only worsen the situation and encourage further violations by employers".
The pronouncements on 'Shramev Jayate' programme "have to be seen linked with the labour law amendments" already moved by the Centre and state governments in Rajasthanand Madhya Pradesh.
"Some more proposals have been announced by the Government of India, which will amend the definition of small industries removing all establishments with 40 workers out of the purview of 14 very important labour laws," it said.
"In the name of Shramev Jayate, the Modi government is acting in the interests of investors and not workers. It is also condemnable that changes in labour laws and other moves, which affect the workers, are being implemented without even discussions with the trade unions."
Observing that the programme launched by the Prime Minister yesterday "means nothing much to the working people in the country", it said the Universal Account Number for Employees Provident Fund Subscribers facilitating portability in case of change in employment was being worked out for the last few years. "The present government has just signalled its implementation."
The government must, in view of Bank account details of every EPF member being made necessary requirement, first amend Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act to mandatarily open a salary account for every worker in a bank and make all payment through cheque or bank transfer of salary to all the workmen, including contract labour and apprentices engaged in any unit.
1. I will also like to contribute myself in this important discussion and to submit that all of you may be aware that the 2nd National Commission on Labour had submitted its report in the year 2002. In the said report Labour Commission had submitted various recommendations including recommendations on unification of various labour laws. But still majority of the recommendations are to be examined by the appropriate Govt.
2. The fear of "Inspector Raj" is the creation of a group of people, who want free economy without any labour laws. Multiplicity of labour laws is also one of reasons. For example on "wages", there are Acts namely- payment of wages act, minimum wages act, equal remuneration for equal work, payment of bonus act etc. There may be more. Why such labour laws could not be unified and amended so far despite of elapse of more than 12 years after receipt of the recommendations of the Labour Commission.
3. The concept of abolition of inspector raj is perhaps the creation of policy makers, which has time and again suggested to the Government to make economy more free and liberal and had also desired that the policies like "hire and fire" be allowed in the Indian labour system. CLRA is, perhaps in present time only labour act, which is widely followed to serve the cause and interest of people who want India without any labour laws and complete free economy.
4. The level of compliance of labour laws in this country is generally very poor. In the past, serious accidents had occurred in some of factories and in majority of the cases, it was later on found that a number of workers were not even on muster-rolls/wages registers of the said factories/units.
Government cannot practically do away with inspection or enforcement policy because this is the way in which an inspector (whether under Factories Act, EPF Act, Shops Act or ESI Act) is able to make easy money. There are inspectors who make a round up of various industries under their jurisdiction (some times unknowingly or knowingly (!), he may cross the boundaries also) whenever they want money and this is a simple way of mobilizing fund. With the new inspection policy will their visits come to an end? I donít think that they will stop coming and even if they come I donít think that we will not entertain them. We will continue to entertain them and at the end of the day, the policy becomes a policy confined only in paper.
Regarding HR forums contribution towards workers, I think the advises that we give have helped a lot of aggrieved persons. Being a forum which consists of persons from distant places, our presence to defend the injustices may not become possible but our involvements have always been there.
Make in India when we have a lot of bureaucrats who are made in India!