New Delhi: The governments of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh are carrying out major labour reforms. They have made sure they don’t let a crisis as big as Covid-19 get wasted.
Governments should use crises to carry out reforms like former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill had suggested, and reforms like those in 1991 when India was facing a balance of payments crisis.
Today we see so many migrants walking back from various states to the Hindi heartland, but not the other way around. This is because there are no white and blue-collar jobs in the Hindi heartland.
Most of the Hindi heartland is rural and while only 15 per cent of India’s GDP comes from agriculture.
Kanpur used to be an industrial hub, but today the city’s image is completely different. All you see in Kanpur today is shells of factories. Once a booming industrial hub, it collapsed when too many laws were put in place to protect workers.
Problem with the law
Laws meant to help labourers turned out to be counterproductive.
In 1976, Indira Gandhi amended the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, in a way such that firms employing 300 or more workers needed to obtain government permission for layoffs, retrenchments and closures. She later amended the Act again to reduce the threshold to 100.
Such an act only prevents scaling of industries. These laws indirectly prevented job creation. So when there were no jobs, who are these laws protecting? Hopefully, UP’s initiative will start a virtuous cycle.
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