Delhi: Keeping in line his his motto “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”, Narendra Modi on Thursday took a historical step by unveiling key labour efroms, which were deterred for long due to fears of a trade union backlash and partisan politics. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India has the capacity to provide adequate skilled workforce to the world.
“The entire world will be requiring crores of skilled manpower and we can provide that resources to the world by 2020. We have that capacity in our country. Skill development is the biggest opportunity that India has,” Modi said giving a much-needed push for labour reforms.
“We need to develop skilled workforce. Let’s start preparing for that from today itself. Our government has already started works at that direction…I have to do a lot of works in next five years,” the PM said at the Vigyan Bhawan while delivering a keynote during the “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram” ceremony.
PM referred that ‘Shrameva Jayate’ is as important as ‘Satyamev Jayate’. He said, “Shramev Jayate (labour triumphs) has the same power as Satyamev Jayate (truth triumphs) does for the development of our nation.” Labour problems, “he said, must be seen through the eyes of the shramik (worker) not industrialists.”
He said that the government would remove small hurdles to take the nation forward involving the poor people.
“We have to look at labourers’ issues, their problems from their point of views only. We should not judge them from the investors’ point of view. If we do, we would never be able to address the real matter,” Modi said, pointing out that “We need to change our attitude towards labourers”.
Raising the issue of e-governance that is important for transparency, he said ease of business is the priority of his government.
“Ease of business is important and essential for Make in India vision,” the PM said making a mention that ‘Inspector Raj’ is still considered as a big problem in India.
He further said that his government would provide permanent labour identification numbers for labourers’. “We don’t respect manual labourers,” the PM pointed out.
The five main schemes launched by PM Modi included:
1.) A dedicated Shram Suvidha Portal: That would allot Labour Identification Number (LIN) to nearly 6 lakhs units and allow them to file online compliance for 16 out of 44 labour laws. Filing of self-certified and simplified Single Online Return by the industry. Now Units will only file a single consolidated Return online instead of filing 16 separate Returns. Mandatory uploading of inspection Reports within 72 hours by the Labour inspectors. Timely redressal of grievances will be ensured with the help of the portal.
2.) An all-new Random Labour Inspection Scheme: Utilizing technology to eliminate human discretion in selection of units for Inspection, and uploading of Inspection. Reports within 72 hours of inspection mandatory Serious matters are to be covered under the mandatory inspection list. A computerized list of inspections will be generated randomly based on pre-determined objective criteria. Complaints based inspections will also be determined centrally after examination based on data and evidence. There will be provision of Emergency List for inspection of serious cases in specific circumstances.
3.) Universal Account Number: Enables 4.17 crore employees to have their Provident Fund account portable, hassle-free and universally accessible. The UAN is being seeded with Bank account and Aadhar Card and other KYC details for financial inclusion of vulnerable section of society and their unique identification. This will ensure portability of the Social Security Benefits to the labour of organised sector across the jobs and geographic areas. The EPF account of employee will be now be updated monthly and at the same time he will be informed through sms. it will ensure that each of the 4 crore or more EPF account holders have direct access to their EPF accounts and will also enable them to consolidate all their previous accounts (approximately Rs 27000 Crore are currently lying with EPFO in inoperative accounts).
4.) Apprentice Protsahan Yojana: Will support manufacturing units mainly and other establishments by reimbursing 50% of the stipend paid to apprentices during first two years of their training. Yojana will support one lakh apprentices during the period upto March 2017. Presently, there are only 2.82 lakh apprentices undergoing training against 4.9 lakh seats.
5.) Revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana: Introducing a Smart Card for the workers in the unorganized sector seeded with details of two more social security schemes.
Elaborating on the law, Modi said: “Fifty types of departments chase them, 50 types of forms have to be filled in. The world has changed.” He added, “companies would now only need to fill a single form online. A new website, managed by the labour ministry, will allow companies to fill forms online and raise their grievances.” Modi also promised easier movement of accounts in the Provident Fund scheme by using a universal account number. The payroll-funded programme has 80 million members. Because transfers are so difficult, more than Rs. 27,000 crores ($4.4 billion) lie idle in such accounts. “I need to return this money to the poor,” the prime minister said. “The world asks, ‘What is Modi’s vision?’ They will see it in this effort,” he said. The new law will simplify employment rules and smooth the way for people to move social security funds when they change jobs. They also provide for an improved pension and minimum salary grade, Modi added.
PM expressed his concerns on the “Inspector-Raj”, saying that rule of inspectors has deluged employers with paperwork, discouraging them from expanding and taking on new staff. He opined that till now, units for inspection are selected locally, without any objective criteria, allowing inspectors to harass unit owners and even exploit them in cases of violation of rules. But that will change. Inspection of businesses will be made more transparent, with a computer lottery being used to pick the enterprises to be inspected and officials required to upload a report within 72 hours, Modi said.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister felicitated ITI Brand Ambassadors, that is, icons of success coming from ITIs in different vocations. He released a booklet on National Brand Ambassadors for Vocational Training and Souvenir for All India Skill Competitions and distributed prizes to awardees of All India Skill Competitions. Simultaneously, a process was set into motion to send SMSs to about 1 crore EPFO subscribers, over 6lakh establishments, 1800 Inspecting Officers and 4 lakhs ITIs trainees regarding the relevant benefits. PM said, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Commerce and Industry are both working in close coordination to fulfill the mission of “Make in India”. He added tha, not only the amendment is needed to make labour laws flexible for the present circumstances but it is also important to ensure that the compliance is made easy as this will encourage the development of manufacturing industry particularly MSME sector in the country.
Union Minister for Labour & Employment, Steel and Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar termed these initiatives as bold steps in achieving Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’, emphasizing that all actions of the Ministry are geared to bring about greater transparency and speed in the system. Shri Tomar informed that three bills had already been introduced in the Parliament with the vision to harness India’s demographic dividend, and facilitate ease of doing business in the country. “It is envisaged that the Apprentice Act, upon implementation, will increase the number of apprentices to over 23 lakhs,” he said. Tomar expressed that the momentum of bringing reforms in the labour sector will be sustained and archaic laws will be done away with. In the forthcoming winter session of the Parliament, he said that the Ministry plans to bring amendments to introduce a single act for MSMEs and for abolishing child labour in the country.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harshvardhan, Minister of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises, Kalraj Mishra, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant Geete, Minister of State for Labour & Employment, Steel and Mines, Vishnu Deo Sai and the Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Gauri Kumar were all present during the occasion.