The Narendra Modi government’s ambitious labour reforms are set to miss another deadline.
The long-awaited codes on wages and industrial relations is unlikely to be tabled in the upcoming second half of the Budget session, labour ministry officials indicated.
Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya has also prioritised the passage of the maternity benefits bill and the amendments to the gratuity bill over the labour sector reforms.
“In the second half of the budget session, we will try to pass the maternity benefit bill and the payment of gratuity bill,” Dattatreya told reporters on Thursday.
The wage code bill was sent to a group of ministers headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley after it was presented to the Union cabinet for considering.
The labour reforms, a sensitive issue involving lives of millions of workers, have also evolved sharp divisions with the political parties and consensus on these bills has been elusive.
“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 demonetisation,” said Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Leftist Centre of Indian Trade unions (CITU).
Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya had earlier announced that the bill would be passed in last year’s winter session. Thereafter, he told reporters that the bills will be cleared in Budget session 2017.
The wage code bill among other things cracks down on strikes and trade union activities.
“It proposes that for going on strike for a day, salary of eight days will be deducted. How can the government expect to get support for this?” said Sen.