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Fact Box: The Code on Wages Bill, 2017

The Union Government as part of labour law reforms has undertaken drive to rationalize 38 Labour Acts by framing 4 labour codes viz Code on Wages, Code on Social Security, Code on Industrial Relations and Code on occupational safety, health and working conditions. The codification of labour Laws will remove multiplicity of definitions and authorities leading to ease of compliance without compromising wage security and social security to workers.

The Code on Wages Bill, 2017

The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha recently. It subsumes and repeals 4 existing Laws, viz. Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Payment of Wages Act, 1936; Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. It will apply to establishments where trade, business, manufacturing or occupation is carried out. It will also include government establishments.

Features of the Bill

National minimum wage: The code ensures minimum wages to one and all and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector of employment without any wage ceiling. It introduces concept of statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas. It will ensure that no state government fixes minimum wage below the National Minimum Wages for that particular area as notified by Union Government. It specifies that central or state governments will revise or review minimum wage every five years.

Advisory boards:  The central and state governments will constitute their respective advisory boards to advise respective governments on aspects of fixing minimum wages and increasing employment opportunities for women.  These boards will have representation from employees, employers, and independent persons.  Further, one-third of total members will be women. 

Payment of Wages:  The code proposes payment of wages through cheque or digital/electronic mode along with conventional cash payments. It mentions deduction of employee’s wages on certain grounds by not exceeding 50% of employee’s total wage.

Redressal of grievances and settlement of claims: It proposes appellate authority between Claim Authority and Judicial Forum for speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims

Offences: The Code specifies penalties for offences committed by an employer. Such penalties vary depending on nature of offence have been rationalized with the amount of fines varying as per gravity of violations. Moreover it specifies that compounding of offences are not punishable by penalty of imprisonment.

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Fact Box: Vice Presidential Election

Incumbent Vice President Hamid Ansari’s term comes to an end on August 10, 2017. Election Commission of India (EC) has issued a notification, the process of filing nominations for the vice presidential election.

About office of Vice President

The officer of Vice-President is second highest public office in India. He has second rank in the order of precedence. Practically, office of Vice President has been created to provide political continuity of the Indian state. His main function is in the form of ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He works as acting president when president is not available.

Eligibility

As per article 66, the candidate contesting for election of Vice-President of India should be citizen of India, completed age of 35 years and must be qualified to become a member of Rajya Sabha. He must not hold an office for profit. A candidate’s nomination paper needs to be subscribed by at least 20 electors as proposers and at least another 20 electors as seconders.

Note: Presidential candidate should be qualified to become a member of Lok Sabha, Vice-presidential candidate should be qualified to become a member of Rajya Sabha.

Election

Like Presidential election, Vice Presidential election is also indirect and is held via system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The electoral college of Vice President includes elected by elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Unlike in Presidential election, MLAs or MLCs from state assemblies have no role to play in Vice Presidential election.

Term and removal

The term of office of the Vice President is five years. The term may end earlier by resignation which should be addressed to the President. The term may also terminate earlier by removal. There no impeachment process to remove Vice President.

The Vice President can be removed by a resolution passed by the members of the Rajya Sabha. To move such resolution, a 14 days’ notice is to be given. Such a resolution, though passed by the Rajya Sabha only, but must be agreeable to the Lok Sabha.

Functions of Vice President

Vice President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. However, during the period when he acts as the officiating President of India, he shall not act as chairman of the Rajya Sabha and shall not be entitled to the salary or allowances payable to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

According to Article 65, in case the President is unable to discharge his duties for reasons such as illness, resignation, removal, death or otherwise, the Vice President shall carry out functions of the President. In such case, he will be entitled for the salary, allowance and all privileges of the President.

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