NEW DELHI: The labour reforms that are being undertaken by the government will prove to be a milestone for the welfare of workers, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Lok Sabha took up bills on the labour codes, which were moved by Gangwar, amid boycott of the House proceedings by several opposition parties, including the Congress, in protest against the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members.
While moving the bills for consideration and passage, the minister said the government has come out with the changes in the legislations after extensive consultations with state governments and other stakeholders.
He said about three-fourth of the recommendations of the standing committee, which scrutinised the codes, have been incorporated in the bills by the government.
On Saturday, Gangwar had introduced the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, and the Code on Social Security, 2020.
Over 29 labour laws have been merged into four codes and one (Code on Wages Bill, 2019) of them has already been passed, according to the minister.
The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, will consolidate and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of persons employed in an establishment and related matters.
The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, seeks to consolidate and amend the laws relating to trade unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishments or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.
The Code on Social Security, 2020, will amend and consolidate laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised sector or the unorganised sector.
Gangwar said efforts have been made to work out a balance between welfare of workers and ease of doing business for the industry.
Starting the debate on the three bills, Pallab Lochan Das of the BJP said that it is for the first time that such extensive labour reforms are being undertaken.
Although the country has 44 labour laws for the past several decades, the standard of living of workers has not improved, he said.
BJD member Pinaki Misra said there could have been minimum health and safety standards in the code, and also suggested that the government have a relook at the definition of 'workers'.
While supporting the bill, he also said that certain provisions needed to be relooked at.
Margani Bharat of the YSR Congress said the codes will push forward ease of doing business in the country as well as help in attracting more foreign direct investments.
According to BJP's Virendra Kumar, the codes will help in ensuring the welfare of labourers and also reduce 'inspector raj'.
Another BJP member Dilip Ghosh said the codes will ensure that all stakeholders work with discipline and also that corruption does not happen in labour unions.
Ghosh, who is from West Bengal, also claimed the situation of labourers was bad in the state.
TDP's Jayadev Galla and Dileshwar Kamait (JD-U) also supported the codes.