Govt trying to reform 'archaic' labour laws: Labour Secretary

The government is in the process of reforming the labour laws that are "archaic" in nature and wants to ensure that the compliance of these laws becomes easier in the country, Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal said on Monday

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 04, 2016, 23:11 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is in the process of reforming the labour laws that are "archaic" in nature and wants to ensure that the compliance of these laws becomes easier in the country, Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal said on Monday.

"If you talk to any young boy today, who has got huge potential to become an enterepreuer...It is very difficult to set up an enterprise because of a whole lot of issues and one of the major issues is of very archaic labour laws," Aggarwal said during the CII annual session on 'Multidimensional Reforms Being Taken for Ease of Doing Business'.

"Most of the labour laws were created way back in 1930s, 40s, 50s...May be that time they were fit to that time. But things have changed today as well as the entire world. And we got to take advantage of technology. But we have not been able to take advantage of technology to create many more jobs," he said.

"We are into the process of changing 44 labour laws into four labour codes... I can bet that organisations must be flouting one or the other labour laws. So what is the point in having such labour laws.

"So we are in the process of replacing these 44 labour laws into four labour codes, one code is on code on wages, one code is on industrial organisations, third code on industry safety and security, and fourth on social security," he said.

Aggarwal also said that out of these four codes, two are already finalised and are now being considered by the Cabinet, while the other two are almost on the verge of finalisation.

Replying to a query on the status of Small Factories Bill, he said his Ministry has already prepared it and it is to be sent to the Cabinet for its consideration.

Under that (Small Factories Bill), we have kept a limit of 40 workers", he said.

The bill seeks to exempt small units with less than 40 workers from tedious compliance of 14 labour laws including Employees Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act and Employees State Insurance (ESI) Act.

Talking about growth, he said achieving growth of 9 percent or more is meaningless unless it becomes inclusive and gives benefit to those disadvantaged.

"To give advantage to this group, we need to create more jobs in this country," he said adding, about 10 million people join the workforce per year but many of them end up joining the labour force or construction work that is very sub-optimal.

"If we really want to create a prosperous and happy society, it is very necessary that we create almost 10 million jobs per year which are meaningful and respectful," Aggarwal said.