Modi unveils five schemes to kick-start labour reforms

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled labour reforms for workers and employers with an aim to create a more enabling environment for doing business for enterprises as well as expanding government support to training workers in the country.

The new reforms launched under Shramev Jayate (work alone triumphs) programme by Modi are part of his call for ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’, emphasising that all actions of the ministry are geared to bring about greater transparency and speed in the system.

While inaugurating the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Shramev Jayate Karyakram, organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Modi said “Ease of business is the greatest requirement for India’s success. It will be a priority under ‘Make in India’. Labour’s problems must be seen from labour’s point of view.”

A total of five schemes have been unveiled namely Shram Suvidha Portal, all-new Random Inspection Scheme, Universal Account Number, Apprentice Protsahan Yojana and Revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.

Under the Shram Suvidha Portal, the government would allot Labour Identification Number (LIN) to nearly 6 lakh firms and allow them to file online compliance for 16 out of 44 labour laws by simplifying the process through introduction of just a single online form.

The LIN web portal will operate through a unique LIN or Shram Pehchan Sankhya for each employer and will provide for the e-filing of annual returns by employers.

The new Random Inspection Scheme is to bring in transparency in labour inspection and envisages that serious matters are to be covered under the mandatory inspection list and a computerised list of inspections will be generated randomly based on pre-determined objective criteria.

So far, the firms were being selected locally for inspection without any objective criteria.

There will also be the provision of ‘emergency list’ for inspection of serious cases. The inspectors have to upload their reports on to the portal within 72 hours of carrying out an inspection.

While talking about the steps to end the inspector raj—harassment by officials—Modi said a transparent labour inspection scheme is being developed to check arbitrariness.

Universal Account Number scheme would enable 41.7 million employees to make their Provident Fund account portable, hassle-free and universally accessible.

On the other side, the Apprentice Protsahan Yojana will support manufacturing units and other establishments by reimbursing 50 per cent of the stipend paid to apprentices during first two years of their training.

“In our country, only white collar jobs are considered good… We have to change our perceptions and give respect to labour,” Modi said, adding that the revamped apprenticeship scheme and Industrial Training Institutes have a total of 34 lakh seats for students.

Under the revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the government has introduced a smart card for the workers in the unorganised sector seeded with details of two more social security schemes.

While commenting on the new reforms, corporate bodies said that the new initiatives will make it easier for them to do business in India and boost global investor sentiment by easing compliance burden and ushering in transparency.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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