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After land, now Karnataka mulls labour 'reforms'

The Madhya Pradesh government recently announced a cabinet decision on a series of labour reforms for a period of 1,000 days. Rajasthan has increased the threshold for lay-offs to 300 from 100 earlier

Published: 12th May 2020 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2020 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa

Express News Service

BENGALURU: After implementing an amendment to the Land Reforms Act, 1961, under which industries can now directly buy land from farmers without intervention from the government, albeit with some caveats, the BJP government in the state is “proposing to reform some labour laws in a bid to rejuvenate the industrial sector” which has taken a severe beating because of COVID-19.  

“The Karnataka government is mulling some reforms in labour laws on the lines of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to reboot the industry. A final decision is yet to be taken on the proposal,” an official said. 

An increase in working hours from eight hours to 12 is reportedly under consideration. But as extension of working hours is covered under the Factories Act, 1948, which is a central legislation, the government can only issue an executive order under the provisions of the Act like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. 

“Other considerations, which are directed to attract investors, may include easing of licence and registration, giving a free hand to factories to hire workers as per their need and defer factory inspection for three months as in Madhya Pradesh,” he added.

The Madhya Pradesh government recently announced a cabinet decision on a series of labour reforms for a period of 1,000 days. Rajasthan has increased the threshold for lay-offs to 300 from 100 earlier.

Left parties have condemned the dilution of labour laws by various states, which have practically made the role of labour unions difficult.

Unions protest change 

With a few states, including Karnataka, looking at following the Uttar Pradesh model with regard to suspension of a few sections of labour laws, the All India Trade Union Congress (Karnataka) staged a protest outside Suraksha Bhavan on Monday morning, condemning the move.  Around 100 people gathered, maintaining social distancing, outside the labour department.

AITUC chief secretary DA Vijay Bhaskar said the move could potentially raise unemployment, with increased working hours. Principal secretary, labour department, P Manivannan said “no decision has been made in this regard yet”.

Some of the laws that would no longer apply include the Minimum Wages Act, Trade Unions Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Factories Act, Contract Labour Act, Payment of Bonus Act, Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, Working Journalists Act, Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act. 



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