Growth of Labour Legislation in India

Law is necessary for maintaining peaceful environment for the growth of the industry. Labour legislation in India has developed with the growth of the industry. In the eighteenth century India was not only a great agricultural country but a great manufacturing country too. Asian and European markets were mainly fed by the looms supplied by India,but the British Government in India as a mater of policy discouraged the Indian manufacturers in order to encourage the rising manufacturers of England. Their policy was to make India subservient to the industries of Great Britain and to make Indian people grow only raw materials. The British oppression in India continued for a considerable time which led to the growth of Indian nationalism and to a vigorous renaissance. Nationalism has an obvious economic aspect with in our country which was reflected in the urge for economic reforms and for industrialization. In the twentieth century the national movement took a new turn and there was a common demand for the Indian goods. A non –co-operation movement which is known as The Swadeshi movement was started, which urged the people to use goods made in India and to boycott foreign goods. The non-co-operation movement synchronized with periods of economic crisis gave impetus to industrialization. Not only that , growth of Indian private sector owes much to these popular movements. No doubt, the Indian Economist, drew their inspiration from British classical Economists but they outgrew those ideas. Like British Economists, Indian Economists not only advocated that the trade and commerce should be free but they laid emphasis on the free trade of local goods. An attempt was made to put forward a theory of economic development and planning suited to conditions of our country. After thirties, the planning was accepted by the national movement as the economic ideology. Thus, planned industrialization became our main goal. In India, the plantation industry in Assam was the first to attract legislative control. The method of recruitment of workers in this industry was full of hardships. Workers were employed through professional recruiters. Workers were not allowed by the planters to leave the tea gardens. A number of Acts were passed from 1863 onwards to regulate the recruitments. These legislations protected the interests of the employers more than safeguarding the interests of the workers. The Factories Act was passed in 1934 and the Mines Act in 1923. The Workmen's Compensation Act 1923 was passed to protect the interest of the workers. The following Acts have been enacted to promote the conditions of labour and regulate the relation between employer and employee keeping in view the development of industry and national economy:• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • The Apprentices Act, 1961 The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933 The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 The Employees Provident Funds and Misc. Provisions Act,1952 The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 The Employers Liability Act, 1938 The Employment Exchange (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 The Factories Act, 1948 The Industrial Disputes Act The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act,1946 The Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns & Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Act, 1988 The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 The Mines Act,1952

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The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976 The Shops and Establishments Act, 1953 The Trade Union Act, 1926 The Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 The Weekly Holidays Act, 1942

Mahatma Gandhi had once said, 'A nation may do without its millionaires and without its capitalists, but a nation can never do without its labour'. In India, a number of labour legislation has been enacted to promote the condition of the labour keeping in view the development of industry and national economy. But for industrial regeneration it is necessary that the partners of the industry must cure their respective defects. Since independence both legislation and public opinion have done a lot, to better the condition of the workers. At the same time it is the duty of the workers and their organizations to improve the work –efficiency and help in securing better production resulting in greater profits. Prosperity of the industry should be shared by the management with workers and the community at large. Workers are the dominant partners in the industrial undertakings and without their co-operation, good work, discipline, integrity and character, the industry will not be able to produce effective results or profits. If the human element refuses to co-operate, the industry will fail to run. Therefore, the profit of the industry must be shared between employers, workers and community; The Government and the factory owner must completely understand the labour psychology and a change in their outlook and attitude is desired to secure the industrial peace. Nothing should be done under threat or coercion but on a clear understanding that whatever is good and is due to the labour must be given. Industry owners should treat the workers as co-partners. Workers in the country must understand fully that if they desire to secure their due place in the industrial world they must think more in terms of responsibilities and duties. Sabotage and violence of all kinds , bitterness in thought, word and deed must be eschewed. An improvement in labor regulations will provide an opportunity to accelerate manufacturing growth and development of nation.

2. Contents: I. Manpower, employment policy and labour welfare in India: post-independence developments: 1. Manpower: trends and magnitude. 2. Employment policies and programmes. 3. Labour welfare: legal framework and initiatives. 4. Women workers: legislations and empowerment. 5. Industrial relations and labour laws. 6. Restructuring of labour laws: the great debate. 7. Labour laws and welfare: India and ILO. 8. Labour reforms: India and WTO. II. India's Five Year Plans at a glance. III. Edited extracts from India's Five Year Plans on employment and labour related matters (I plan to X plan including mid-term appraisal of the X Plan). Appendix: 1. Second National Commission on Labour: approach to review of labour laws. 2. Second National Commission on Labour: social security--a vision. 3. Dimensions of economic reforms in India. Bibliography. "During the pre-independence period, industrial relations policy of the British Government was one of laissez faire and also of selective intervention. There were hardly any labour welfare schemes. After independence, labour legislations have formed the basis for industrial relations and

social security. These legislations have also provided machinery for bipartite and tripartite consultations for settlement of disputes. Soon after independence, the government at a tripartite conference in December 1947 adopted the industrial truce resolution. Several legislations, including the following, were enacted to maintain industrial peace and harmony: Factories Act, 1948, Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The payment of bonus act was passed in 1965. In the early 1990s, the process of economic reforms was set in motion when the government introduced a series of measures to reduce control on industries, particularly large industries. The workers have opposed economic liberalisation policy for fear of unemployment while entrepreneurs have welcomed it in the hope of new opportunities to improve Indian industries. The new economic policy has directly affected industrial relations in the country, because the government has to play a dual role, one of protecting the interest of the workers, and second to allow a free interplay of the market forces. Economic reforms, by removing barriers to entry, have created competitive markets. Fiscal stabilisation has resulted in drastic reduction in budgetary support to the public sector commercial enterprises while exposing these enterprises to increased competition from private sector. "This book examines the whole gamut of labour related issues during the post-independence period. The approach to the subject is mainly descriptive, interspersed by comments at places. The book is organised into three parts. Part I provides a comprehensive introduction to various facets of Indian labour since 1947. It describes demographic trends, employment policies and strategies, constitutional provisions, legal framework, and institutions pertaining to labour and its welfare, current labour policy issues, labour laws pertaining to women and their empowerment and approaches of WTO and India on matters related to labour. Part II contains glimpses of India's Five Year Plans from First Five Year Plan (1951-56) to Tenth Five year Plan (2002-07). Part III comprises edited extracts from India's Five year Plans on matters related to manpower, employment and labour welfare. Besides, there are three appendices which provide relevant material on the subject." (jacket)

3. National Legislation and Policies Against Child Labour in India
The Constitution of India (26 January 1950), through various articles enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down that:

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No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment (Article 24); The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 years. (Article 21 (A)); The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength (Article 39-e); Children shall be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth shall be protected against moral and material abandonment (Article 39-f); The State shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years (Article 45).

Child labour is a matter on which both the Union Government and state governments can legislate. A number of legislative initiatives have been undertaken at both levels. The major national legislative developments include the following:

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986: The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in 13 occupations and 57 processes that are hazardous to the children's lives and health. These occupations and processes are listed in the Schedule to the Act; In October 2006, the Government has included children working in the domestic sector as well as roadside eateries and motels under the prohibited list of hazardous occupations. More recently, in September 2008 diving as well as process involving excessive heat (e.g. working near a furnace) and cold; mechanical fishing; food processing; beverage industry; timber handling and loading; mechanical lumbering; warehousing; and processes involving exposure to free silica such as slate, pencil industry, stone grinding, slate stone mining, stone quarries as well as the agate industry were added to the list of prohibited occupations and processes; The Factories Act, 1948: The Act prohibits the employment of children

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