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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Plan reforms with consensus: Manmohan

Recently Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated the government's plan to introduce labour reforms with “consensus.” This statement assumes significance as the labour unrest in Maruti Suzuki India Limited plants near Delhi had forced the management to declare two days shutdown. Dr. Singh, affirmed the government's commitment to do “everything possible to ensure good industry-labour relations.” He said:“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. “Workers and management had a symbiotic relationship and both sides should work in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, without losing sight of the overall national objective of progress.

“There is a view that the labour laws are sometimes felt to be too rigid and are a constraint on our growth impulses… There was also a contrary view that the labour legislation needed to protect the interests of workers, particularly in the unorganised and the contract labour sectors. Clearly, there were areas where there was a need to strike a balance between the needs of a growing economy and the interests of working people.”

The Prime Minister said the Center was aware that there were many areas of labour legislation that might require reform to encourage business and enterprise. “We will move ahead only in those areas where a broad consensus for reform is built and will ensure that the interests of our workers are fully protected in doing so.” He also highlighted the government's plans to increase skill development programmes and expand the workers' health insurance scheme such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which was already benefiting about 25 million labourers.

Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said the objectives of maximum utilisation of resources, quantum increase in productivity and efficiency could not be achieved unless the managements, workers and trade unions came together and helped evolve an ethos and work culture. His Ministry had constituted a National Social Security Board for recommending formulation of Social Security Schemes.

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