Ministry of Labour and Employment to Introduce 2 Key Labour Reforms Bills in Parliament
As a part of labour reforms, The Government would come up with two important bills relating to wages and industrial relations in Parliament in March for simplification and rationalisation of the Labour Laws, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya informed at an ASSOCHAM Annual Event today.
“Next week at the inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitely, we will take the final decision and after that, we will go to the Cabinet. In the March (leg of Budget Session) both the bills would be introduced and I am hopeful it would be passed”, Dattatreya stated. He also said that all 43 Labour Laws would be codified into four broad categories.
The Labour Minster said the Central Board of Trustees of EPFO would consider the proposal to increase the EPFO portfolio in the share market from existing 10 % to 15% from the total corpus. At present as much as Rs. 17000 crore from the EPFO corpus of Rs. 8.70 Lakh crore has already been invested in the stock market.
Furthermore, the minister said that the returns on EPFO investment into equities amounted to 8.7-9% annually. Dattatreya said with the codification of Labour Laws the industry would see an end to the red tape and inspector Raj while the welfare of the workers would also be ensured.
In response to queries from the ASSOCHAM members, the minister said the minimum wages of skilled and unskilled workers have been fixed keeping in view the rising cost of living.
He also listed initiatives for women workforce for whom the maternity leave is being extended from 12 to 23 weeks. The bonus limit for workers has also been increased along with the health benefits being extended by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
In his remarks, ASSOCHAM President Sunil Kanoria said that a fine balance was required between the welfare of workforce and industrial productivity. He complimented the government for taking a number of steps in this direction.