J&K contemplates to change Labour laws on pattern of Gujarat, MP

Shift hours being raised to 12, ‘hire & fire’ policy to be introduced

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, May 14: J&K is contemplating to change the Labour laws/ rules on the pattern of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, to attract investment from outside and giving boost to the industrial development across the UT.
Official sources said that in view of emerging scenario amidst Coronavirus pandemic, the Government of India has been trying its best to lure companies looking to move out of China. For attracting the huge investment in the industrial sector, many states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have changed Labour laws/ rules and adopted some new rules for the convenience of the investers.
Since the J&K Administration is also trying its hard to attract massive investment in J&K from outside, especially post August 5, 2019 developments, the Administration is contemplating to introduce new labour rules here on the pattern of Guajarat and Madhya Paradesh shortly.
Sources revealed that these states have raised the `shift hours’ in the factories from 8 hours to 12 hours and permitted overtime of the work up to 72 hours, with some flexibility in changing shifts.
As per the new Labour rules, the shops and business or other establishments can operate from 6 am till midnight.
For bringing end to the Inspector Raj, now under new Labour laws, no factory inspection will be conducted for three months, no inspection of firm with less than 50 workers and moreover, third party inspection has been introduced to facilitate the industry.
Free hand has been given to the union holders/ owners and management to `hire and fire’ workers/ labourers, no labour inspection or Government intervention. Moreover, there will not be any role of the trade unions.
In Gujarat, the new industrial establishments have been exempted from all Labour laws barring , Minimum Wages act, Industrial Safety Rules, Employees Compensation Act. New Ordinance has come to roll out benefits that will be available for 1200 days.
The Madhya Pradesh Government has declared to conduct registration of units/ firms and issue licenses within one day and conduct renewal of a factory license once in 10 years. It also decided that startups need one time legislation and no renewal. It also declared that there will be no registration for contractors with 50 labourers and establishments with up to 100 workers, can hire according to needs.
The UP Government has also exempted Industry from all Labour laws barring, Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996; Workmen Compensation Act, 1923; Bonded Labour System ( Abolition Act) 1976 and a section of Payment of Wages Act.
Meanwhile, Federation of Industries Jammu, Chairman Lalit Mahajan, while reacting to the move suggested that the Green category Industrial units should be exempted from the preview of Pollution Control and Factory Act provisions. In respect of Orange and Red Category, the License should be granted with a validity of 10 years. He said all returns related to Industrial units should be on line with the exemption to MSME Sector having less than 100 Workers.
He suggested that in respect of termination of job, one month notice should be introduced. Disputes between the employees and employers should be settled by appointing an Arbitrator to avoid the Legal complications. In case of any violation of Labour laws, an opportunity should be given to the Unit holders without any penalty and moreover, 12 hours shift should be introduced for better productivity which will also a financial benefit to the workers.
Mahajan said allotment of land, Industry Department degistration, Power sanction, Pollution Control Board activities should be done within three days from the submission of proposal by the prospective unit holders and the land should be allotted on free hold right basis.
No inspection of units for first three years by any Department related to Industrial Sector should be conducted and all applications submitted on line should be treated as valid.Moreover, strikes in the factories should be banned and Trade Unions be discouraged, he added.
Association of Industries (AOI) Gangyal Jammu, president Rattan Dogra said many states in India are now bringing in Labour reforms to attract investments and to increase productivity of Industries in the post lockdown period. This is primarily to spur the economy into running mode again after the setback suffered due to COVID-19. Additionally, it is felt that many business houses which now intend to move out of China may be given incentive to shift here by offering ease-of-doing-business.
Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have already announced major reforms. In view of the “Invest J&K” campaign, we feel that it is high time that J&K should also decide some reforms in Labour matters.
Dogra said AOI suggests to end Inspector Raj from Government Labour Department for registrations and routine inspections as this do not serve any purpose other than breeding corruption. Third party certification be encouraged. He said Industry should be permitted to `hire and fire’ labour freely as per the requirements of production, special hand holding for small scale industry to help them in ease of operations.
He further suggested that there should be no restriction on hiring local/non-local labour at unskilled/ skilled level. Industry needs skilled workforce rather than complying with the political requirements of constituents. The Government here must abolish unnecessary Labour laws except the bare minimum like for Bonded Labour abolition, Payment of Wages, Industrial Safety and Minimum Wages; ESI and EPFO should be activated in J&K to a greater extent and make them Industry-friendly.
Dogra said automatic online approval should be available for all expansion and incentives, refunds wherever due, should be released by the Government within a fixed time frame announced or else interest should be payable to the industry just as “we pay penalties for any delayed payment of taxes.” He said “transparency in dealings between the Government and Industry is the need of the hour and we need to recognise weritocracy because in the new competitive world, it is survival of the fittest for all of us.”


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