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Elicit industrialists? ideas, directs CM

CHIEF MINISTER Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked the State Labour Department to hold talks with industrialists and administrative officials and check whether they have significant suggestions to make regarding the new labour policy.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 18:34 IST

CHIEF MINISTER Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked the State Labour Department to hold talks with industrialists and administrative officials and check whether they have significant suggestions to make regarding the new labour policy.

The chief minister made this suggestion when the eight-member committee, which prepared the draft, called on him to submit the vision document at Bhopal on January 10 and during course of talks State Indian Trade Union Congress president R D Tripathi, one of the members of draft committee, objected that the draft lacks the views of industrialists.

Tripathi also insisted that the eight-member committee that prepared the draft be re-constituted to accommodate the employers’ views, sources said. While proposal to form a fresh draft committee was ruled out, Chouhan asked Labour Department Principal Secretary Rakesh Bansal to invite suggestions from the managements by holding a seminar and their recommendations if found valuable, could be included in the new labour policy.

The other members of committee, which includes representatives from centrally organised trade unions, have opposed the idea stating that draft is a well-researched, balanced document that takes care of the needs of employers and employees and is prepared keeping in view the changes taking place in a globalised economy.

In addition, the members argued that suggestions of trade unions or Labour Department are never given significance while framing industrial policy and therefore there is no need to go that extra mile and oblige employers. Some alleged that industrial policies including the new one were prepared without legwork and without knowing the ground realities.

“The labour policy draft was prepared after holding parleys with labourers and employers at Indore, Pithampur, Dewas, Jabalpur, Bhopal and other industrial hubs. We received written suggestions from industrialists while touring the State.

What is to be understood by all is that an effective labour policy cannot be anti-employer. All this has been taken care of while making the draft and there is no need to start afresh,” committee member and State Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh general secretary Bhagwandas Gondane said.

Nevertheless, Labour Department plans to hold the workshop soon. “If everything goes well, we will hold it within a month and forward the propositions to Bhopal,” Additional Labour Commissioner and draft committee member secretary Laxmikant Pandey told Hindustan Times. However, State Government may put off the introduction of new labour policy till Assembly elections that are due after two years. The draft recommends certain innovative measures that will add to Labour Department’s expenses, which the State Finance Department may find difficult to approve. On the other hand, the ground-breaking proposals if implemented could be a formidable catch to attract voters in Vidhan Sabha polls.

It is unlikely, say observers, that new labour policy prepared after gap of 24 years will be enforced in the next financial year. At the most, it will be implemented six months before the polls, experts said.

Incidentally, the committee has become redundant after submitting the draft to the State Government. Therefore, it is upto Labour Department to take the next step.

Recommendations like Small Industries Training Centre, Indore, the draft 2005 states that vocational skills like motor re-winding, welding, chalk and soap manufacturing, these institutions impart, have no market demand. It adds that there is a need to tie-up vocational expertise with emerging industries while the self-employment skills should meet the demands of the region.

The committee, which prepared the draft in the last six months, has asked the government to incorporate subjects in vocational syllabus that can guarantee employment in future.

The eight courses proposed include banking, financial institution sales agents, call and customer care centres, housekeeping/ caretaker, tourist guide, mobile repairing - computer networking, consumer goods sales agent, health and nutrition agents, laboratory assistant and technician.

Insisting on formation of demand-specific training centres for labourers, incorporation of Manpower Planning Department into Labour Department and giving preference to employing workers of closed factories, the document says NGOs working for labour and trade unions need to be trained to comprehend the aim and spirit of labour laws.

The trade union, on the other hand, should also know how to work as an NGO. Recommending amendment in industrial and labour laws, it stresses on having separate and defined goals on organised and unorganised sector in the State labour policy.

“This is necessary because there cannot be common solutions or directions for both the sectors. The conditions of labourers working in organised and unorganised sector differ vastly,” Additional Labour Commissioner L K Pandey remarked.

Citing example, the draft says that the Department often overlooks the interest of masons, kiln workers and those engaged in forest produce while enforcing Minimum Wages Act with the result that labour force engaged in organised sector become the prime aim of welfare.

The draft committee headed by MP Labour Welfare Board Chairman Sundersingh Shakwar had members from Indian Trade Union Congress, Centre for Indian Trade Union and All India Trade Union Congress besides Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 18:02 IST