Thursday, October 13, 2011

Govt working on streamlining labour laws: PM

Voicing serious concern over cases of industrial unrest, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government is working on streamlining labour laws for welfare of workers and it would move ahead only in those areas where consensus for reform is built. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined that healthy worker-management relations were fundamental to industrial development and both sides need to work in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, without losing sight of the overall objective of progress.
"Recently we have witnessed some incidents of industrial unrest. This is a matter of serious concern to me and I believe we need to address this issue with alacrity and sincerity," he said while giving away Shram awards in New Delhi.
Though cited no specific case of industrial unrest, his statement comes against the backdrop of strike at the Maruti plant in Manesar in Haryana, on the outskirts of Delhi.
Referring to labour reforms, the Prime Minister said his government was committed to do everything possible to ensure good industry-labour relations.
"There is a view that the labour laws are too rigid and are a constraint on our growth impulses. There is also a contrary view that the labour legislation needs to better protect the interests of workers, particularly in the unorganised and the contract labour sectors," he said.
Singh said there were areas where there was a need to strike a balance between the needs of a growing economy and interest of the workers.
Noting that the government was working on several fronts to streamline labour legislation, the Prime Minister said he was aware that there were many aspects of the issue that may require reform to encourage business and enterprise.
"We will move ahead only in those areas where a consensus for reform is built and will ensure that the interests of our workers are fully protected in doing so," he said.
Singh said the National Skill Development Mission has put in place a coordinated action plan for skill development which lays down a solid foundation for future work in the area.
"During the 12th Plan, we must identify the gaps in the institutional arrangements for skill development and plug them," he said.
The government has established the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which, along with initiatives at the state level, will provide the bulk of the skill development results, particularly in the unorganised sector, Singh said.
"However, for this to happen, support to NSDC would have to be significantly enhanced and state skill development missions in all states would have to be fully operational and effective during the 12th Plan," he said.
Singh said sufficient attention must be paid to skill development so that our growing youth population is provided decent employment opportunities.
He higlighted steps the government had taken for the benefit of workers in the unorganised sector.
The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana was already benefitting about 25 million workers and the government was in the process of covering more categories of workers under the scheme, Singh said.

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