The government is abolishing laws from the period of slavery and labour laws are being simplified, the Prime Minister said, adding that 29 labour laws have been converted into four simple labour codes to ensure the empowerment of workers via minimum wages, job security, social security, and health security.
Addressing the national conference of labour ministers of all states and union territories via video conferencing today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that India’s labour force has a huge role to play in realizing India’s dreams and aspirations to build a developed nation in the Amrit Kaal.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated various government initiatives, including the Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana meant to provide security cover to workers. These schemes have assured the labourers of the recognition of their hard work and contribution.
The Prime Minister said that, “the emergency credit guarantee scheme, according to a study, saved 1.5 crore jobs during the pandemic.” He added, “We are seeing that just as the country supported its workers in their time of need, in the same way, the workers have put their full strength into recovering from this epidemic.”
The Prime Minister credited workers for India once again attaining the position of the fastest growing economy in the world.
“A lot of credit goes to our workers for making India one of the fastest growing countries once again,” he said.
Simplifying labour laws
He pointed out that the e-Shram portal is one of the key initiatives to bring the labour force into the ambit of social security. In just one year, about 28 crore workers from 400 areas have been registered on the portal. This has especially benefited construction workers, migrant labourers, and domestic workers. He requested all the ministers to integrate state portals with the e-Shram portal.
While highlighting the role of construction workers, the Prime Minister lamented that the ‘cess’ meant for their welfare has not been used to the fullest. “I have been told that out of this cess, about Rs 38,000 crore has still not been utilized by the states,” he said, urging authorities to pay attention to how ESIC together with the Ayushman Bharat scheme can benefit workers.
He further added that over the last eight years, the government has taken the initiative to abolish the laws from the period of slavery that reflect a mentality of slavery. “The country is now changing, reforming, simplifying such labour laws.”, the Prime Minister said. “With this in mind, 29 labour laws have been converted into four simple labour codes”. This will ensure the empowerment of workers via minimum wages, job security, social security, and health security, he added.
The Prime Minister reiterated the need to change as per the changing scenario. He emphasised the need to take full advantage of the fourth industrial revolution by taking quick decisions and implementing them rapidly. In the light of platform and gig economy and online facilities, Narendra Modi stressed the need to be alive towards the emerging dimensions of work. “Right policies and efforts in this area will help in making India a global leader”, he said.
Reiterating that the future needs flexible workplaces, a work-from-home ecosystem, and flexible work hours, he said that systems like flexible workplaces can be used as opportunities for women’s labour force participation.
Recalling his address to the nation on the 15 August from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he said that he has called for the full participation of the nation’s women power. He added, “By making the right use of women power, India can achieve its goals faster.”
He also emphasised the need to think in the direction of what can be done for women in the newly emerging sectors in the country.
Dwelling on India’s demographic dividend, Prime Minister Modi said, “We can take advantage of global opportunities by creating a high-quality skilled workforce.” He also highlighted that India is set to sign migration and mobility partnership agreements with many countries and urged all the states to take advantage of these opportunities. “We have to increase our efforts, learn from each other”, he said.