Entrepreneurs bat for reforms in labour laws

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Aug 2017 10:10:55


Business Bureau

India opened its door for foreign investors way back in 1991 when it liberalised the economy. To felicitate industrial growth, the country made landmark reforms in various sectors offering relaxations to entrepreneurs. But against the expectations of captions of the industry, the country did not liberalised its labour policy - a key issue that is still giving sleepless nights to entrepreneurs and posing big hurdle in industrial growth.

Believing this, entrepreneurs recently urged the country’s policy makers to update the ‘obsolete’ labour laws and make them ‘employer-friendly’.
While participating in a round table meet organised by the Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) held here in the city recently, entrepreneurs, experts in the field of Human Resource Development (HRD) and other stakeholders strongly pitched for amendments in the labour laws.

“At the outset, the country should not place labour laws in the concurrent list as it is creating confusion among the law enforcement agencies and also encouraging ‘Inspector Raj’. Let it be in the State list,” said Ashit Sinha, VIA executive member and HRD professional.

As of now, labours laws is a matter which comes under the purview of both the governments - State and Central.
Sinha said, complex and age-old labour laws are creating favourable ground for ‘Inspector Raj’ which in term restricting the industrial growth.

Sinha further raised concerns over the Minimum Wages Act saying that one yardstick cannot be applied for employees working in different locations. “We cannot think of similar wages for labourers working in different locations. The wages of labours engaged in an industry in Mumbai cannot be at par with those working in similar industry located in Gadchiroli,” he said.

Pradip Raut, Joint Secretary of Butibori Manufacturers Association (BMA) said that there was no need for Mathadi Act. “Government should immediately scrap it as it is not relevant in the current scenario. “Today, the working environment for labours has undergone sea change. New machines are being used for loading and unloading of heavy material. However, nearly 50 years old Mathadi Act is still prevailing,” he said.

Apart from this, the concept of ‘single window clearances’ for the industries with regard to compliance of various labours laws is still a distant dream in India. “Entrepreneurs have to run from pillar to post to get various clearances,” he said.

Raut also expressed concern over the Central Government’s proposed move of making ‘stupendous’ hike in minimum wages of labourers. “The industry is not against the hike, it wants the Government to link productivity with it. We are in a global market where the Indian industry has to compete with players across the world,” he added.

The experts also asked the Government to abolish some
of the labour laws that are applicable for industry based in Vidarbha region.