Govt open to changes in Contract Labour law

"As far as amendments to the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 are concerned, we will proceed with an open mind," Rawat said addressing a seminar on 'Management of Contract Labour in PSEs' organised here by Standing Conference of Public Enterprises.

Industry has been demanding for long that the Section-10 to the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act 1970 should be dispensed with. However, the Unionists think the other way round.

Under the clause, the government can identify any process, operation or other work in an establishment, where it can prohibit any employment of contract labour. The act is aimed to abolish and regulate contract labour.

Asked whether, any amendment bill for making changes in the Act is expected to be tabled in the forthcoming winter session, Rawat said, "We are preparing the draft bill which is unlikely to be tabled in the next Parliament session."

The minister urged the public sector to be a role model employer and to show a pathway to the private sector in implementing government regulations on labour. Echoing similar views, Labour Secretary P C Chaturvedi said, "The law (for contract labour) has lost its spirit. There was an intention to reduce labour law over period of time, but it happened the other way round."

"Everybody is employing contract labour to reduce cost. But cutting cost does not mean exploitation of labour. It should be done by increasing productivity by modernisation, best practices and using best technology," he said.

Chaturvedi said, "Now public sector is using contract labour to cut cost and such workers are treated as second grade citizens." "It is the PSUs, which should show the way to private sector. If the contract workers are treated with human face, the demand of regularisation (of employment) would mellow down," he added.

On this occasion, Director General SCOPE U D Choubey said: "There are plethora of social security laws in India and SCOPE endorses the views of the government that welfare of the workers is a real concern as large number of people in the country are living below poverty line."

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