Molten steel is poured at a factory in Haryana | Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg
Molten steel being poured in a factory | Representational image | Udit Kulshrestha | Bloomberg
Text Size:

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has brought in an ordinance exempting businesses from all key labour laws for the next three years.

According to Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya, only three labour laws will be applicable in the state during this period apart from provisions related to children and women in the suspended laws.

The three include the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, and the Bonded Labour Act, 1976. Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (the right to receive timely wages) will also apply in the state during this period.

The decision to approve the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020, to exempt factories, businesses, establishments and industries from the purview of the laws, was taken on Wednesday in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The step is aimed at reviving and boosting various businesses and industries that have taken a hit due to the national lockdown, a UP government spokesman said.

In his statement to the media, Maurya said the Covid-19 pandemic had brought economic and industrial activity to a standstill. “To bring economic activities back on track, new industrial investments opportunities will have to be created,” he said. “The state needs to take steps to bring the economy back on track. That is why this step has been taken.”

According to Maurya, there are 38 laws regulating the labour sector of which 35 have been suspended for three years.


Also read: UP Jal Nigam to release pay for unpaid staffers after furore over Rs 1.47 cr Covid aid to CM


Opposition, activists slam move

The government’s decision has, however, drawn flak from the opposition as well as activists, with critics saying it infringes on worker rights.

UP Congress chief Ajay Lallu Thursday said the Adityanath government has betrayed workers by bringing in the ordinance.

“Now surely there will be insecurity in the minds of workers. They may not get proper wages and allowances due to this ordinance,” he told ThePrint. “Who will be responsible for it? Will CM Yogi guarantee workers their wages?”

Samajwadi Party MLA Udaiveer Singh termed the ordinance as an act of arbitrariness. “This ordinance is anti-labour. How can one exempt any industry from all key labour laws?”

The UP-based labour law advocate Kashinath Mishra said important labour laws will no longer apply in the state after this ordinance. “The minimum wages act is one important labour law that will not apply. How will labourers get the pay they deserve?”

Several other important labour laws will also become defunct. According to Mishra, laws related to trade unions, settling industrial disputes, occupational safety, health and working conditions of workers and contract labour act will not apply. Even laws related to payment of bonuses and provident funds are now defunct.

“How will workers ask for compensation, reimbursements, PF etc. Majdoors will become more majboor,” he added.

UP Congress legal cell incharge advocate Ganga Singh said this is an attack on labour. “After this ordinance, there will be no social security, health security and fund security of labour,” he said. “Is the government helping labourers and workers or planning to make their life more tough?”

CM had called for extensive plan for migrants

The ordinance comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to prepare an extensive action plan for employment of migrants. He had said workers should be linked to MGNREGA and other government schemes.

He had also said the youth seeking jobs under MGNREGA will be immediately given job cards in their respective village. “Lakhs of migrants have returned from different states. It’s not easy to provide them employment as industries are already at a loss. So the government decided to provide concessions to them,” a government official said.

Sources, however, told ThePrint that the government was not keen on highlighting the labour ordinance. The ordinance was passed on the same day that the government had brought in the Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance 2020, which deals with attacks on frontline workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sources said the government wanted only the Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance to be highlighted because of which government ministers and spokespersons had since Wednesday been only talking about the new law to protect Covid-19 personnel.


Also read: First rain and hail, now lockdown — mango farmers set to lose 70-80% of their income


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

10 Comments Share Your Views

10 COMMENTS

  1. Sir

    Modi ji, your government is a government of business people. There is no government of poor laborers, which you have decided for 12 hours duty. He is also taken to fill the pockets of business people.

    The public is requested never to form a government that breaks sticks on the waist of poor laborers.

  2. Scrapping labour laws is a positive and very welcome move by BJP govt. Why not go with scraping stupid workers unions line INTUC, BMS etc.. They are a burden on nation. All the union leaders are millionaires.

  3. I don’t see how this is a reform as stated by so many people, considering the fact it has scrapped regulations for working conditions and basic necessities like ventilation, working time etc., Why is it even a debatable topic when you’re directly endangering lower-class people’s lives in return for a boost in the economy that will be enjoyed by the upper-middle and upper class?

  4. So here’s the nation-building project inspired by Mussolini and Hitler. Trash everything and work towards making India great. Workers are nothing but machines.

  5. Thug bhogi considers labours as Slaves like Adolf Hitler no medical help,no working hours ,no promise of salary& salary hike,Be a dictator in name of pendamic corona.Jai ho chokidar thugs .

  6. Why will workers have “insecurity” in their minds unless thats the agenda of some? Workmen Compensations Act covers the wages to be provided and the Section 5 of Payment of Wages Act ensures timely payment of wages. Opposition should find genuine loopholes rather than inventing or repeating templates of criticism

  7. Labour Laws in India are archaic and have forced a large section of population to remain unskilled and continue to live in poverty. In the name of protecting workers rights the laws in themselves have become a major hindrance to progress, skilling and higher employment opportunities.
    Time to confine the communist and socialist era relics to the dustbin and facilitate major reforms.

  8. Right move at the right time and at right place too.UP with such reforms can benefit immensely with such measures.Large number of migrants are returning to UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.These states too should have such reforms.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here