The Regional conference of state Labour Ministers and Principal Secretaries of Labour of North Eastern States was held in the presence of Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour & Employment, It was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati. The Secretary, Labour and Employment, Govt. of India, Smt. Sathiavathi and officers from all the 7 states of North East were also present.
Inaugurating the conference the Chief Minister of Assam urged to upgrade the ESIC Model Hospital at Beltola from 50 bedded to 150 bedded. Shri Sonowal also highlighted the steps taken by the State Government of Assam to reduce the hardships of people during demonetisation.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya highlighted various labour reforms taken by the Government measures taken to ensure job security and social security of workers and implementation of National Career Service Project. of 100 model career centres to be established in India, 18 are to be set up in North East States.
Shri Dattatreya also stated that the various initiatives taken by the Ministry of Labour and Employment like launching of
He said that Shram Suvida Portal, an initiative of this Government has brought more transparency and accountability leading to better enforcement of labour laws, Simplification of 43 labour laws in to 4 major labour codes like code on wages; code on Industrial relations; code as Social Security & Welfare and Code on safety & working conditions is under process.
Shri Dattatreya highlighted the initiatives taken by Government to improve health infrastructure in the North East states. The Minister said that the existing 50 bedded hospital in Assam (Beltola) will be upgraded to 150 bedded Hospital in phases as per the request of Chief Minister of Assam.The Minister said that the legislative reforms undertaken by the Government like enhancing the eligibility limit under Bonus Act from Rs. 10000 to 21000 per month and enhancement of calculation ceiling from Rs. 3500 to Rs. 7000, amendments through child labour (Prohibitions & Regulation) Amendment Bill 2016, that stipulates complete prohibition of child labour below 14 years and stringent punishment for its violation. The Amendment also prohibits the adolescents of age group of 14-18 years to be employed in hazardous occupations.
Shri Dattatreya also stated in order to ensure cashless transaction of wages to workers, particularly those in the informal sector, Ministry of Labour and Employment has taken huge efforts for opening bank accounts. Already 25.68 crore Jandhan Accounts are existing and the workers left out are being covered under this effort.
Labour and Employment Minister concluded that Co-operative Federalism is a key vehicle to achieve rapid development in India. Strong states are the foundation of a strong India. The progress of a country depends on the progress of the states as state governments along with the central governments are co-partners in moving forward the agenda of economic development. Shri Dattatreya also reiterated his commitment for welfare and social security to all workers.
In the regional conference of North East all the officers and bureau leads made presentations on various initiatives undertaken by the Government of India.
The Model shops and establishment (Regulation of Employment and conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 approved by the Union cabinet is a suggestive piece of legislation keeping in view the spirit of cooperative federalism. This gives liberty to states for fine tuning the Model bill while making Acts to suit their requirement. This Model bill gives freedom to operate 365 days in a year and opening / closing time of establishment, women to be permitted employment during night shift, if the provision of shelter, rest room, ladies toilets, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc., exists.
As part of the Administrative initiatives, Govt. of India has taken important decisions concerning workers’ interests. Like (a) The minimum wages for all sectors in the central sphere has been increased by more than 42% (b) ESI coverage on wage ceiling has been increased from Rs. 15000 to 21000, (c) Minimum pension under EPS has been revised to Rs. 1000 in perpetuity per month, (d) Bonous ceiling has been enhanced from Rs. 3500 to 7000 and the eligibility limit has been raised from Rs. 10000 to 21000, (e) EDLI benefit increased from 3.6 lakh (Max( to 6.0 (Max), (f) Time limit reduced to 20 days from 30 day for EPF claim settlements and (g) Optional Deferment of age for drawing Pension from 58 year to 60 year with 4% per year incentive.
Besides, under the revised scheme for the rehabilitation of Bonded Labour the quantum of financial assistance has been increased from the symbolic level of Rs. 20000 to Rs. 3 lakh. While the most deprived and marginalized people like the disabled, female and children rescued from trafficking, sexual exploitation and transgender will get Rs. 3 lakhs, the next in order is the special category comprising of females and the minors who will now get Rs. 2 lakhs. A normal adult male bonded labour will get Rs. 1 lakh.