NEW DELHI: With the intention of pulling down the curtains on ‘inspector raj’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unveiled an ambitious labour reform package that would boost his ‘Make in India’ initiative and also give the labour force easy access to employment saving schemes, such as the Provident Fund.
The ‘Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram’ programme is, certainly, the big bang labour reform that the industry — the small and big of the manufacturing sector — was waiting for.
Labour Ministry officials said the initiatives that are to be launched are an Unified Labour Portal or ‘Shram Suvidha’, a transparent and accountable Labour Inspection Scheme, and portability through Universal Account Number (UAN) for Provident Fund members.
Also to be flagged off is an Apprentice Protsahan Yojana and a unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) that will be allotted to factories or industrial units to facilitate online registration. Instead of 16 separate returns, units will now have to file just one consolidated, self-certified and simplified online return. “Now computer draw will decide which inspector will go to which factory and he will have to upload his report online within 72 hours,” said Modi.
So, inspectors who are supposed to visit factories to ensure compliance with the law will no longer be free to pick, choose and decide whom they would visit for checking — power that leads to rampant corruption. Instead, the inspectors will now be allotted industries through a computerised system and have to file their reports online within three days. “These facilities are what I call minimum government, maximum governance. I’ve been hearing about ‘inspector raj’ since childhood,” the PM said.
Indicating what was expected, the PM spoke of the need to include demand-based vocational training, an apprentice scheme and revamp of the health insurance scheme to benefit workers in unorganised sector.
The measures are clearly a mix of pro-labour and pro-industry reforms that were proposed, freeing the latter from the clutches of ‘inspector raj’. Modi said the revamped apprenticeship scheme and Industrial Training Institutes will have a total of 34 lakh seats.