The state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have relaxed a labor law to attract investment and resume economic activity, which was paralyzed by a nationwide coronovirus-induced lockdown. Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat have also amended their Factories Acts and increased the working hours from 8 to 12 hours per day or 72 hours a week.
The industry is divided by new rules. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that spoke with First position The government has chosen to focus on the challenges they face, as the government has begun to ease the lockdown and allow some industries to function.
The entrepreneurs stated that the payment of salaries, when no production was made by the government; Withdrawal of workers who have left for their hometowns; Separating factories and workplaces from raw materials and supply chains – these are many major challenges for the region, he said.
Industry points to challenges, labor laws need ease
Mahesh Singhi, founder, consultant and advisory firm, Singhi Advisors, said, “The new rules are tough, but these are exceptional circumstances.” right time. “If more rules were made, even if others were made redundant, it would hamper each state’s plan to resume economic activity,” Singhi said.
“Rules and laws are good for normal times. But it is a war-like situation and the primary objective is to generate employment, create demand for products and services and reduce the demand-supply gap. But should it come at the cost of workers’ health, their rights? Singhi said that any revolution calls for a change in the rules. “You have the right to earn and it comes from the responsibility to do the work.” But this would mean that ILO should increase the working hours to 12 instead of 8 hours? “Time is needed to ensure that money flows into the system. Both the employer and the employee have to go through some difficult times before things return to normal, ”he said.
The working hours established at the ILO conference are 48 hours per week. Labor regulations such as the 8-hour workday were brought in after years of protest against exploitation. However, labor is a concurrent subject and states may amend certain labor laws for their territories.
“The labor changes introduced in UP and MP are both steps that will give the industry great flexibility in its labor practices,” Chandrajeet Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industries, said in a statement.
Banerjee said that after a large number of employees moved out of the workplace due to measures of coronovirus and lockdown, there was a need to replenish and map workers who had been displaced and re-hired. . He said that the ordinance in Uttar Pradesh and the relaxation of rules in Madhya Pradesh will help the industry to adapt and develop to new economic realities.
The other relief is for the government to pitch in with the relief package. Arjit Rawal, Director of Logistic India Private Limited, suggested to the government what the Canadian government was doing for industries. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Encourages employers to recruit employees who lose their jobs due to coronovirus. CEWS grants eligible employers up to 12 years 75 percent of the eligible employee’s weekly earnings, with a maximum income of $ 847 per employee per week. The funding is retrospective on 15 March.
Rawal wants the government to ease the pressure by giving some relief to employers. “Consider extending the fiscal year,” he suggested. The industry is seeking to extend the financial year extension by three months, given the economic impact caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. But Rawal says, “Companies still have to file annual income tax returns. Where would an entrepreneur doing a miniscule business be able to do this under these circumstances? ” He asked.
He said that Labor had gone back to their villages and hometowns in large numbers, and getting them back would be a huge task. Rawal said, “The government should present a comprehensive solution and encourage the industry until it returns to normal.”
The president of the Bombay Industries Association, Siddharth Shenoy, said, the 40-day shutdown of the government and the sufferings caused by the people have somehow been overcome by negotiating labor laws, the absence of labor over the absence of labor. He said the MSME sector faces challenges – no transport, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages among others. He said, ‘Big companies can take care of themselves because they have so many subsidiaries. But what about us, ”he asked.
Some believe the exemption in labor laws stated by state governments is temporary. Recognizing that labor is a very essential part of the ecosystem, Ashok Mohanani, vice-president of Ekta World, NAREDCO, said that the laws were being relaxed as an emergency measure to boost the economy a lot. Availability of land, flexibility in labor laws and a welcoming administration to rationalize supply markets would be attractive to global markets. “However, it is also necessary to ensure that labor is not exploited and this is a positive step for businesses as well as for them.”
Some industrial associations see lockdown rest as the most important period. This is almost a COVID-19 Part 2 position, said KR Gopi, president of TMIA-TTC-MIDC Industries Association. With significant percentages of labor in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in Madhya Pradesh, TMIA now fears that workers may prefer to return to their home states.
With a large base, second only to China, the MSME sector contributes 28 per cent of GDP and over 40 per cent of India’s exports, while generating employment of about 11 crore. The region is called the backbone of the economy, but the government ignores the sector when it comes to the stimulus package. “We have to pay wages for the months of April and May during production stops when there was zero production. There is no relief in interest on electricity bill payments, loans taken for working capital. ”
He said that labor laws can be relaxed temporarily, but they cannot be made permanent and are short-term solutions. Gopi said that the safety and health of workers has to be taken care of and this cannot be an option either.
On Monday, MSME and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said they expected the Center to unveil the financial package in two-three days, noting that the situation was “very poor” despite a three-month moratorium on loan repayments . Declared by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
But some are not aware of these packages, which are needed. For example, the government announces relief-bank loans for the MSME sector, but banks are not ready to give it. Siddharth Shenoy, president of the Bombay Industries Association, said the rules are made and passed by the Center, but nothing happens at the ground level.
Rights of workers?
To obtain investment and to further the economy, state governments have stepped in on labor laws, which have been laboriously contested and fought for the health and safety of workers. KR Shyam Sundar, Labor Economist and Professor in the Human Resource Management (HRM) Sector, XLRI, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, said that it is immeasurable how labor laws that a state government needs to kickstart labor shortages and the economy Can amend. He called it ‘labor market anarchy’.
These labor law changes, he said, are based on three major principles, that is, labor laws are not required in society, meaning the state has no role in the labor market; Workers must rely solely on the goodwill of the employer, and labor rigidity is the major bottleneck that inhibits investment and therefore economic growth. He fears that the UP Model Model will probably become the norm for defined labor market governance.
Along with Sundar, Ram Kiran, assistant professor and head of the Department of Commerce, SK Somaiya College, Mumbai, and a research scholar, said the change in labor laws is a ‘slap’ in the face of workers who go home hungry Were forced to ‘. Kiran has worked extensively on women workers working in textile factories. “About 90 percent of the workers in textile factories are women. By relaxing the labor rules and not providing them with basic facilities like toilet facilities, canteens, drinking water, what is the management giving them? You want them to work for 12 hours, but you do not want to give them facilities.
Does the action of the state government coincide with the laws of human rights and labor rights? But the goal is to kickstart the economy and at the present time, any action that comes with it is par for the course.
Researcher Mansi Parpiani of Azivika Bureau, a non-profit organization that works with migrant labor in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, said that terms like organized labor and migrant labor are a wrong binary. “Only a small number of small workers’ organizations have full rights. Many semi-permanent workers are employed in large industrial sectors, and MSMEs on short-term contracts. ”Parpiani said, contract labor has already curtailed existing laws and limited the number of workers they actually protect.
With their latest move, state governments, with their perceived focus, took away Labour’s rights. After this, the time has come for the government to take the rest of the states on this route. Vishal Kumar, co-founder and financial advisor of MSMEx-, an online micro-advisory platform for small business owners, said that labor reforms are long overdue and are a must for a densely populated country like India. A two-pronged decision to break the labor laws of the Uttar Pradesh government, he said: “From a business angle, it would be welcomed with loopholes in norms and compliance. But India cannot be seen as a country that cannot Exploits labor, especially when health is a big challenge in these times, “he said.
Is there a need to amend labor laws in India? Most of the peers I spoke with First position Said, it was unnecessary. He said that the BJP-ruled states have passed the rules. Saju Jacob, a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court and the High Court, Delhi, said, “The central government of the BJP can support the state governments passing these rules.” He called the relaxation of labor laws ‘wrong’ and a new low. “Capital will flow only where labor standards are good. Investment does not depend on cheap labor and potential investors will focus on infrastructure. The focus should be on it, ”he said.
Relaxation in labor laws has opened up the proverbial Pandora’s box for labor in the country. They may have to trample a long road before overtaking them until the rules are reversed.
However, all is not lost, said Gayatri Vasudevan, executive chairman and co-founder, Labournet Services. When the dice is cast against the side of labor, it is better to focus on what can be valuable for the benefit of labor.
According to news reports, Gayatri said that the losses incurred by the industry due to the epidemic are in large part ‘. Under the circumstances, he suggested that it would be better for activists and others who have fought to protect the rights and labor to ride this wave by focusing on employee health, safety and security. That India has a ‘pathetic’ record in this matter. A win-win proposal, perhaps, given that labor shortages would mean that they are to be compensated, if not immediately but in the long run. This can be a pleasant result of amendment of labor laws. Maybe.