Several countries support India’s labour reforms

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Geneva — Russia, China, Japan, Singapore, Iran, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Ghana, Venezuela Qatar, Fiji and many other countries have strongly supported India’s stand at the 104th International Labour Conference in Geneva.

Speaking on the occasion, Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Government of India, said that the emphasis of the government was on quality and effectiveness of the labour inspection system rather than mere numbers. India wanted to bring in an efficient system of compliance for labour legislation with the help of information technology, he said.

Responding to the observations of the Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations, he said that the Government of India had taken a major “good governance” initiative to avoid malpractices in labour inspections. He reiterated that the rights of the inspection authority have not been curtailed at all. The phrase ‘end of Inspector Raj’ does not mean ‘end of inspection system’ but ending malpractices and arbitrariness in the current inspection system, he said.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is mandated to safeguard the interest of working class while promoting a conducive working environment for inclusive growth and industrial harmony. India is one of the fastest growing nations with the largest proportion of youth population. Therefore, creation of decent employment for all is the top priority for the government, the secretary said.

This means that all avoidable transaction costs and in-efficiencies must be eliminated. Review and updating of labour laws is a continuous process in order to bring them in tune with the emerging needs of globalised and knowledge-based economy, the secretary reminded the representatives of nations at the meet.

India is a founding member of ILO and signatory to ILO conventions on labour inspection as well as tripartite consultation. All the proposed amendments to labour laws are being discussed threadbare in appropriate tripartite forums involving government, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations, and only thereafter, amendments are carried forward.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, speaking at a meeting in the ILO
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya speaking at a meeting in the ILO

The named countries appreciated the commitment of Indian government for social dialogue and decent work. India is the new investment destination of the world and good governance based on transparency, accountability and efficiency needs to be promoted. They were pleased to observe the one-year old Indian government’s initiatives for promoting an enabling environment for trade and industry by cutting the undue transaction costs for compliance of labour laws in a transparent and accountable manner.

The International Labour Conference of ILO is attended by 185 member countries and is the biggest international forum to discuss all the labour related issues. India is participating with a tripartite delegation led by Minister for Labour & Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.