Highlighting the reforms that Modi government is introducing to safeguard the interest of workers in the formal sector, particularly the working class, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on November 15, 2019, said that the purpose of this government is “Minimum government and maximum governance.”
Speaking at the 14th Annual Conference of CAPSI & APDI, the minister spoke in great length about the role of a ‘chowkidar’ in our lives. He lauded the private security agencies for working tirelessly to preserve the stability of the nation. “In India there are around 23,000 private security agencies in which more than 1 crore people are working. We know that they are working under great hardship and realizing this our prime minister has provided you with number of facilities,” the minister said.
Four labour codes Gangwar in the conference said that the government has decided to streamline multiple labour laws into a set of four labour codes. The new labour legislation would merge 44 labour laws under four categories-- wages, social security, industrial safety & welfare, and industrial relations. The new Labour Bill is likely to be introduced in the coming session of the Parliament. The Code of Wages, 2019 Talking about the difference in the grant of wages and other related problems, Gangwar said that the government has passed the Code of Wages, 2019, which allows the Centre to set a minimum statutory wage. The minimum wage fixed by the Centre will no longer be based on employment but on geography and skills. Apart from the minimum wages, the Code also ensures timely payment of wages to all employees and workers. This mechanism is likely to be implemented in the coming two-three months, the minister said. Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions (OSH) Code In the conference, Gangwar also mentioned the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions (OSH) Code which the central government is in the process of implementing. The OSH Code was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 23, 2019. The Code will streamline the private sector by enhancing the coverage of workers manifold by merging 13 central labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions into a single code. The OSH Code has many new initiatives like mandatory issues of appointment letter by employers, annual free medical checkup of workers etc. Mega pension scheme The minister announced a mega pension scheme wherein people with monthly income up to Rs 15,000 will get monthly pension of Rs 3000 once they attain the age of 60. The scheme covers people in both organised and unorganised sectors. To make the labour laws more effective and useful, Gangwar said that “we are preparing a ‘Single Page’ mechanism for various sectors to complete various compliances to ensure ease of doing business. We are also preparing an online system of all grievance redressal to ensure that all problems are resolved with 48 hours without any physical interface.” Ending his speech, Gangwar requested the people from the private security agencies to help the government to ensure growth in the sector. He asked the people to give in their suggestions and assured them that their suggestions would receive due attention from the government.