Year-End Review 2010:-The Ministry of Labour & Employment has made serious efforts to implement various provisions mandated relating to enhancement of the welfare and well-being of farmers, farm labour and workers particularly those in the unorganized sector, ensuring the fullest implementation of minimum wage laws for farm labour, striving for elimination of child labour, examination of labour laws that create an Inspector Raj and harmonization and streamlining of procedures.
· Amendments have been carried out in 5 Acts namely the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Proposals to amend 10 Acts are at various stages of consideration.
· The ‘National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace’ and the ‘National Policy on HIV / AIDS and the World of Work’ have been announced. The ‘National Employment Policy’ is being formulated.
· The ‘Report to the People on Employment’ has been placed in the public domain.
· 27 States / Union Territories have taken initiatives to implement the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). About 2.23 crore cards have been issued till 15.12.2010.
· The coverage under RSBY has been expanded to include construction workers. Cabinet approval has been obtained to cover street vendors also.
· The National Floor Level Minimum Wage has been revised from Rs.80/- to Rs.100/- per day w. e. f. 01.11.2009.
· ‘Pehchan Identity Card’ Scheme for Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) beneficiaries has been launched.
· The wage ceiling for coverage of employees under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 has been enhanced from Rs.10,000/- to Rs.15,000/- per month w.e.f. 01.05.2010.
· The ‘Modernization Project’ is being implemented in the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) with technical assistance of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
· Employment of children has been prohibited in two more occupations, namely, ‘Circus’ and ‘Caring of Elephants’.
· About 6.47 lakh children have been mainstreamed under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP).
· Vocational Training is being provided through a network of 2,178 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 6,464 Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) where about 1.19 million training seats are available.
· Upgradation of 100 ITIs with domestic resources, 400 ITIs with World Bank assistance and 1,396 ITIs under PPP mode was undertaken.
· ‘Skill Development Initiative’ (SDI) Scheme for training school drop-outs and existing workers especially in the informal sector under Modular Employable Skills (MES) framework was implemented.
· Kaushal Vikas Yojana to set up new 1,500 ITIs and 5,000 Skill Development Centres, Skill Development Plan for Youth , supplementing infrastructure deficiencies in ITIs in NE states and Sikkim and modernization of all 969 Employment Exchanges in the country under e-governance plan are being taken up.
· ILO Convention No. 127 concerning Maximum Weight for manual transport has been ratified.
· Labour Bureau has conducted eight quarterly quick employment surveys to assess the impact of economic slowdown on employment.
· Labour Bureau has conducted the Annual Survey of Employment & Un-employment for the reference period 2009-10.
The details are given below:
The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 has been amended to make it gender neutral. The Act will now be called ‘the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923’. Besides , the compensation under the Act has been enhanced from Rs.80,000/- to Rs.1,20,000/- in case of death, from Rs.90,000/-to Rs.1,40,000/- in case of disablement and from Rs.2,500/- to Rs.5,000/- towards funeral expenses. The employee shall be reimbursed the actual medical expenditure incurred by him for treatment of injuries caused during the course of employment without any ceiling. A new Section 25A has been added for the Commissioner to dispose the matter relating to compensation under this Act within a period of three months from the date of reference. The wage ceiling limit for working out compensation has been increased from Rs.4,000/- to Rs.8,000/- per month .
The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 has been amended first to cover teachers in educational institutions and again to enhance the ceiling on gratuity from Rs.3.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh.
The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 has been amended to improve the quality of service under the scheme and also to enable ESI infrastructure to be used to provide health care to workers in the unorganized sector.
The Plantations Labour Act, 1951 has been amended for providing safety and occupational health care to plantations workers.
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 has been amended to amplify the term ‘appropriate government’ defined under section 2(a) of the Act, enhance the wage ceiling from Rs.1,600/- to Rs.10,000/- per month to cover workmen working in supervising capacity, provide direct access for the workman to the Labour Court or Tribunal in case of disputes arising out of Section 2(A) of the Act, expand the scope of qualifications of Presiding Officers of Labour Courts or Tribunals, establish Grievance Redressal Machinery and empowering the Labour Court or Tribunal to execute the awards etc.
The National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace and the National Policy on HIV / AIDS and the World of Work have been announced.
Important Schemes For Unorganized Sector Workers:
A Health Insurance Scheme for the poor titled ‘Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana’ (RSBY) is being implemented from 01.04.2008. The scheme envisages provision for issuing a smart card to the beneficiary. This card facilitates cashless transaction up to Rs.30,000/-. 27 States / Union Territories have initiated the process to implement the scheme and 24 States / Union Territories have started issuing cards. More than 2.18 crore cards have been issued. So far as other target groups are concerned, construction workers have been covered and Cabinet approval has been obtained to cover street vendors also. Steps are being taken to extend the scheme to cover railway porters and Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) beneficiaries who have worked for more than 15 days during the preceding financial year etc. The National Social Security Fund has been set up for unorganized sector workers with an initial corpus of Rs.1000 crore. This Fund will support schemes for weavers, toddy-tappers, rickshaw pullers, beedi workers etc. Welfare Schemes relating to group insurance, medical cover, scholarship, pension, housing etc. for building and other construction workers, cine, beedi and non-coal mine workers are in operation.
The National Floor Level Minimum Wage has been revised from Rs.80/-per day to Rs.100/- per day w. e. f 01.11.2009. In the Central Sphere, minimum rates of wages were revised for workers in the Employment of ‘agriculture’ , stone breaking and stone crushing’ , sweeping and cleaning’ , watch and ward’, ‘loading and unloading’ , ‘construction’, and ‘non-coal mines’ w.e.f. 01.10.2010 in the range of Rs.146/- to Rs.310/- per day for different categories of workers in different areas. The Central Government has notified the Payment of Wages (Nomination) Rules, 2009 defining the procedure for nomination and restricting the nomination by workers to his family members. The Central Government has re-constituted two Advisory Boards namely Minimum Wages Advisory Board (MWAB) vide notification in the Gazette of India (Extra Ordinary) S.O. 1334 (E) dated 7th June, 2010 and Central Advisory Board (CAB) vide notification in the Gazette of India (Extra Ordinary) S.O. 2064 (E) dated 23rd August, 2010 under Section 7 and 8 respectively of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The first meeting of the MWAB and CAB was held on 23.09.2010 and 07.10.2010 respectively.
Social Security: Employees’ State Insurance Corporation
New geographical areas covered by the ESI Scheme were 46 in 2008-09, 53 in 2009-10 and expected to be 60 in 2010-11. The number of insured persons was 1.43 crore, number of beneficiaries 5.55 crore and number of factories / establishments 4.6 lakh in 2009-10. The functioning of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is being improved through the use of information and communication technology under IT based e-governance project ‘Panchdeep’. A ‘Pehchan Identity Card’ Scheme for Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Beneficiaries has been launched. Every beneficiary will be issued two Smart Cards – one for himself and another for the family. This would enable Insured Persons (IPs) and their family members to avail benefit from anywhere any time, even if they are living at separate locations. The wage ceiling for coverage of employees under the ESI Act, 1948 has been enhanced from Rs.10,000/- to Rs.15,000/- per month w.e.f. 01.05.2010. ESIC has decided to enter the field of Medical Education recently and 29 Institutions would be set up including medical colleges, nursing colleges, dental colleges, post graduate institutions and training schools etc. One Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences & Research at Bangalore and one Dental College at Rohini, Delhi have already been started. It has been decided to modernize/upgrade/expand all ESI hospitals in a phased manner. Accordingly, 118 major projects are underway. New Hospitals at Manesar (Haryana), Bhiwadi (Rajasthan), Baddi (Himachal Pradesh), Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) and Peenya, Bangalore (Karnataka) are going to be commissioned in near future. Sophisticated equipments i.e. MRI & CT scan have been installed in ESIC Hospitals at Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi.
Social Security: Employees’ Provident Fund Organization
The ‘Modernization Project’ is being implemented with technical assistance of National Informatics Centre (NIC). This project is conceptualized in two phases. The first phase that has currently been implemented covers services that are rendered to members i.e. claims settlement and issue of annual accounts slips.
The following benefits are likely to accrue: The time period for settlement of a claim of any type is expected to be less than 30 days. Annual accounts slips of members: The shift from the present manual to the new system would make accounts slip preparation both quicker and accurate. Electronic payments: In the new system payments to members would be made through NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) mode. This will ensure that claims once settled will be credited to members’ accounts within 2 days instead of sending cheques by post which is time consuming. Database update and cleaning: The new system has a robust database in the backend and provides opportunity for gradual cleaning and updating of the database. A clean and updated database translates into better servicing for members.
In pursuance of Government’s commitment to eliminate child labour in hazardous areas, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme covers 271 districts. Over 6.47 lakh children from special schools of NCLPs have been mainstreamed into the formal education system so far. The Mid Day Meal Scheme of Ministry of Human Resource Development has been extended to children of NCLP schools w. e. f. 1st October, 2009, by way of convergence. Employment of children has been prohibited in two more occupations, namely, ‘Circus’ and ‘Caring of Elephants’. Accordingly, employment of children stands prohibited in 18 occupations and 65 processes under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
Employment and Training:
Vocational Training with a view to creating a world-class skilled labour force is being given maximum importance. To help the youth build their career, training courses are offered through a network of 2178 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 6464 Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) located all over the country. About 1.19 million training seats are available in these Institutes. Action continued for upgradation of 100 ITIs with domestic resources, 400 ITIs with World Bank assistance and 1396 ITIs in specific trade and skills under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode so as to create Centres of Excellence for producing multi-skilled workforce of world standard. The ‘Skill Development Initiative’ (SDI) Scheme was started in 2006-07 for the school drop-outs and existing workers especially in the informal sector. Action was taken to achieve the objective to train one million persons in first five years in Modular Employable Skills (MES) framework and thereafter one million every year. Apprenticeship Training is offered to the school leavers and the ITI passed-out persons through a network of 25,472 establishments in 235 designated trades with an objective to provide skilled workers for the industry. A quota of 2.94 lakh has been fixed to engage apprentices in these designated trades. Skill Development Courses in diversified areas exclusively for women are being offered through 1,213 ITIs / ITCs with the intake capacity of 51,804. However Basic, Advanced, Instructors Skill Training and Short-term courses are offered at National Vocational training Institute (NVTI) and 10 Regional Vocational training Institutes (RVTIs) exclusively for Women with about 3,764 training seats. A special scheme to train youth of J&K region under SDI scheme is being launched. Under the scheme, 8,000 youths are proposed to be trained in 2010-11 and 8,000 in 2011-12 of which 25% will be trained within J & K itself and 75% will be trained outside the State. Training cost would be fully borne by the Central Government. Trainees would be provided boarding, lodging & travel expenses, if they are required to stay away from their home. To facilitate an accelerated and sustainable transformation and for expansion of outreach of the vocational training , a scheme has been prepared to set up 1,500 ITIs and 5,000 Skill Development Centres (SDCs) in PPP mode under a project ‘Kaushal Vikas Yojana’ .
For Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas also a scheme in being initiated to wean away youth from violent and destructive activities, namely, ‘Skill Development Plan for youth of 35 Districts affected by Left Wing Extremism’. As a short term measure 5,000 youth of the region would be trained in identified existing ITIs / ITCs. As a long term measure 228 ITIs and 927 SDCs are proposed to be set up in identified 35 districts across eight states affected by LWE. A new centrally sponsored scheme for Upgradation of 20 ITIs and supplementing infrastructure deficiencies in 28 ITIs in NE states and Sikkim is being formulated.
All the 969 Employment Exchanges in the country are being modernized in Public Private Partnership mode at a cost of Rs.2,167 crore under e-governance plan. Under the Project, a national web-portal will be developed, which on the one hand will have the requirement of the industry and on the other hand, the available skilled manpower. In addition, these Employment Exchanges will also assess the existing competencies of the job-seekers, provide them counseling and guidance and help in their placement in the industry. The National Employment Policy is being formulated and the Report to the People on Employment has been placed in the public domain.
Impact of Economic Slow-Down on Employment:
The Labour Bureau conducted eight quarterly quick employment surveys to assess the impact of economic slowdown on employment in India covering units pertaining to important sectors like textiles, leather, metals, automobiles, gems and jewellery, transport, IT/BPO and handloom / powerloom etc. As revealed by the results of different quarters studied so far, it may be observed that the employment increased by 6.38 lakh during October-December, 2009, by 0.61 lakh during January-March, 2010, by 1.62 lakh during April-June, 2010 and by 4.35 lakh during July-September, 2010. Thus overall estimated employment in the selected sectors has experienced a net addition of 12.96 lakh in September, 2010 over September, 2009.
Labour Bureau has conducted the first annual labour force survey on employment and unemployment for the reference period from 1.4.2009 to 31.3.2010. Based on the survey findings, on the basis of around 46 thousand households, the unemployment rate, by following Usual Principal Status (UPS) approach, has been observed to be 9.4%.
Labour Research & Education:
V.V. Giri National Labour Institute undertook Skill Gap Analysis in Gulbarga Region in Karnataka, conducted two international training programmes on ‘Prevention of HIV/AIDS in the World of Work’ and ‘Leadership Development’ and conferred the V.V. Giri Memorial Award in Labour & Employment to Prof. Ravi Srivastava. The Central Board for Workers Education (CBWE) conducted 4,109 programmes for 76,029 workers of organized sector, 4,792 programmes for unorganized sector workers and 2,496 programmes for 1,01,310 rural sector workers during May, 2009 to September, 2010.
Government of India has ratified ILO Convention No. 127 concerning Maximum Weight. The Convention provides that no worker shall be required or permitted to engage in the manual transport of a load which by reason of its weight is likely to jeopardize his health or safety. The maximum limit has been fixed at 50kg. A special Event was organized by Ministry of Labour & Employment on 04.02.2010 at New Delhi in connection with the celebration of the 90th Anniversary of International Labour Organization. Government of India participated effectively in the deliberations at various international fora like International Labour Conference of ILO G-20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting.
The 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference was held on November 23-24, 2010 in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Labour & Employment. Minister of State for Labour & Employment Minister was Co-chairman of the meeting. The ILC deliberated on Global Financial Downturn – its impact- job losses – comprehensive package for protection of labour force, etc.; Problem of contract labour – social security, wages, etc. And amendments in the contract labour legislations; and Employment Generation and Skill Development.