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Labour ministry’s push for ease of business finds limited response

Union labour ministry’s attempts to push Narendra Modi’s mantra of “ease of business” has received a lukewarm response so far.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2016 10:59 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
The labour ministry is struggling to get the cabinet’s clearance for the proposed reforms in the myriad archaic labour laws
The labour ministry is struggling to get the cabinet’s clearance for the proposed reforms in the myriad archaic labour laws(PTI File Photo)

The Union labour ministry’s attempts to push Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of “ease of business”, but has received a lukewarm response so far.

The ministry is now on a mission to salvage its scheme that allows an easy filing of annual returns for industries on various labour laws and rules.

The ministry had allotted unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) to all registered industrial units. The idea was that they can log on and file their returns instead of maintaining multiple registration numbers and filing returns manually with different authorities.

But more than a year after it was launched, only 3,000 out of 90,000 units have filed returns online using the LIN, Manish Gupta, joint secretary of the union labour ministry, said.

“We are undertaking a drive to root out the anomalies in the distribution of numbers. We hope that this year more than 80% units will file their returns online,” Gupta told Hindustan Times.

The last date of filing is February 1, 2017.

While ministry officials said there have been many cases where one LIN has been allotted to two units or same business house has got two UIDs, one entrepreneur said that the new system is of little use as it has major loopholes.

An industrial unit involving labour force has to file returns for eight labour laws, such as payment of wages act, minimum wages act, maternity benefit act and industrial disputes act. Individual industry bodies file annual returns to claim how it has conducted its business conforming to all labour laws.

While this unique numbering system is only expected to help the management of factories, it can also help bring in more investments and enhance the scope of investments.

The labour ministry is also struggling to get the cabinet’s clearance for the proposed reforms in the myriad archaic labour laws. Even after extensive inter-ministerial discussions, the two codes—on wages and industrial relations—are yet to get the cabinet’s approval.