Labour reforms a tall task after demonetisation | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Labour reforms a tall task after demonetisation

While the Goods and Services Tax faces a possible delayed rollout, another bold reform of the NDA government in the labour sector faces an uncertain future.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2017 14:39 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Out of the proposed four labour bills, the labour ministry has been able to prepare just one bill for review. And it is too sensitive to push the bill when demonetisation has rendered millions of labourers jobless.
Out of the proposed four labour bills, the labour ministry has been able to prepare just one bill for review. And it is too sensitive to push the bill when demonetisation has rendered millions of labourers jobless.(AFP File Photo)

While the Goods and Services Tax faces a possible delayed rollout, another bold reform of the NDA government in the labour sector faces an uncertain future.

Out of the proposed four labour bills, the labour ministry has been able to prepare just one bill for review. And it is too sensitive to push the bill when demonetisation has rendered millions of labourers jobless.

“We have rejected the wage code bill outright. Instead of pushing the bill, the government must focus on how workers can get cash in hand. The Centre must also see how to check the massive job loss arising out of demonetization,” said Tapan Sen general secretary of the leftist Centre of Indian Trade unions (CITU).

The inability to push labour reforms, after status-quo on the land acquisition bill, may put a question mark on the government’s appetite for reforms.

The wage code bill was sent to the cabinet by the labour ministry, but has been returned to the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley for further review.

Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya who had earlier announced that the bill would be passed in the winter session, has now set the new deadline for the bill’s clearance: Budget session 2017.

“The GoM will soon give its report. We are hopeful to pass it in the Budget session,” Dattatreya told HT.

It is easier said than done as the Opposition may not agree to push the sensitive bill.

The trade unions have rejected the bill on several grounds. “It proposes that for going on strike for a day, salary of 8 days will be deducted. How can the government expect to get support for this?” said Sen.

The Congress-affiliated trade union INTUC has also opposed the bill. Trinamool Congress, the fourth largest party in Parliament had warned earlier that if the bill is anti-labour, it will not support the legislation.