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Modi launches key labour reforms, promises better work culture
Friday October 17, 2014 9:06 AM, IANS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday unveiled some key labour reforms that rely on trust and promote the ease of doing business, and said the measures will go a long way in changing India's work culture, promoting social security and skilling the youth.

Labour Reform

The prime minister also unveiled the Shram Suvidha portal, a Labour Inspection Scheme, as also the portability of social security through a Universal Account Number for Employees Provident Fund at an event in Vigyan Bhavan conference complex here. He also launched Apprentice Protsahan Yojana of the labour ministry.

"How to change the work culture? These efforts are a great example," said Modi amid applause. "This is Minimum Government, Maximum Governance."

The prime minister added: "E-governance is easy governance. It builds trust for transparency."

On the Inspector Raj regime, he said, a computer will now determine where an inspection will be carried out the next day. He said that inspectors will have to upload their report in 72 hours.

He also said the number of forms that companies have to fill on labour-related issues has been reduced from as many as 16 to just one now.

"The Shram Suvidha portal simplifies compliance of 16 labour laws with on online form," he said.

On the issue of social security of labour force, the prime minister expressed concern that as much as Rs.27,000 crore was lying unclaimed with the Employees Provident Fund Organisation.

"This money belongs to poor workers of India," he said, adding the portability provided under the Employees Provident Fund through one universal account number will put an end to such large sums of money being locked up and not reaching the intended beneficiary.

The prime minister said the "Shramev Jayate" initiatives were essential elements of the "Make in India" vision, paving the way for skill development of youth in a big way, and creating opportunities for India to meet the global requirement of skilled labour.

Modi also unveiled a booklet on National Brand Ambassadors for Vocational Training and a souvenir for All India Skill Competition.

He said skilled labour has not been given due dignity in the society and was generally regarded as lower to other forms of work.

"A compassionate approach would result in the Shram Yogi (labourer) becoming a Rashtra Yogi and hence, a Rashtra Nirmaata (nation-builder). There is need to change outlook," he said.

Modi said the phrase "Shramev Jayate" had as much significance as "Satyamev Jayate" in the tasks related to the country's development.

He said Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) were the primary units for industrial training but have not been given due importance.

The government has taken a new initiative to appoint ambassadors and they would prove role models for students from ITIs as they had achieved success in their lives after studying in these institutes, he added.

Modi said sometimes people who are not good at academics have potential in areas such as industry.

Referring to his government's moves towards self-certification of documents, he said there was need to have faith on people.

Referring to apprenticeship encouragement scheme of the labour ministry, he said it will help meet needs of skilled workforce.

Labour ministry officials said the Apprentices Act, 1961, had been enacted to regulate apprenticeship training in the industry.

They said a major initiative has been taken to revamp the existing apprenticeship scheme with the aim of increasing apprenticeship seats to more than 20 lakh in the next few years.

The officials said there were only 2.82 lakh apprentices against 4.9 lakh seats available at present.

They also said that one lakh apprentices will be supported under the reworked scheme till March 2017.

The officials said that information about schemes such as National Old Age Pension Scheme and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana will be captured in the card issued under the revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna for labour in the unorganized sector.

Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar also spoke on the occasion. Other union ministers present included Kalraj Mishra, Anant Geete, and Harsh Vardhan.

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