Labour Ministry Current Affairs
BRICS countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa have agreed to work together to ensure stable employment and better quality of life for their people.
Decision in this regard was taken at the 2017 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting held in Chongqing, China. The meeting comes ahead of 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, China in September 2017.
Key Highlights of meeting
Labour and Employment Ministers from BRICS counters discussed topics ranging from skills-driven development to a universally sustainable social security system. They passed BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration. It covers a variety of areas that are of critical importance to all BRICS countries including India and called upon strengthening collaboration and cooperation on these through appropriate institutionalisation.
These areas covered under the declaration consist of Governance in the Future of Work, Universal and sustainable social security systems, Skills for development in BRICS, BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework, BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutions and BRICS entrepreneurship research.
They also presented four documents, including one on common ground in labour market governance and an action plan on skills-driven poverty alleviation. They also held that they should work together to boost employment and inclusive growth, enhancing the skills of professionals to alleviate poverty.
BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries and all five are G-20 members. They are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs.
It was established in 2009. The BRIC idea was first conceived by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs. In 2011, South Africa joined this informal group and BRIC became BRICS. So far, eight BRICS summits have taken place. The first formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009.
The Labour Ministry has drafted the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014 and asked for comments from stakeholders. The Bill is likely to be tabled in the Parliament during its winter session.
Application of law
This law will apply to micro, small and medium enterprises that employ up to 40 employees.
Consolidation of law and procedure
The Bill, if passed, will replace over 44 central labour laws and 100 state laws and streamline the process. A single compliance report, that can be filed online, will fulfill all the requirements under various legislations. Outdated provisions, with no relevance in today’s age and time, have been removed.
Registration of units
The factories covered under the bill will have to register within 60 days of commencement of business. Each employer will be provided a labour identification number, and he can register his factory online.
Payment of wages
The employer will have to transfer the wages to the accounts of the employees. Payment of wages in cash is disallowed. This will help the regulatory agency monitor payment of wages and also give a boost to financial inclusion.
Protection of basic rights
The registration of the units with the authorities will help them monitor the benefits being provided to the employees by employer. The bill clearly states the working hours, minimum wages, overtime wages, provision of leave, social security benefits and conditions for retrenchment of workers.
Any malpractices can be challenged before the Conciliation Officer, appointed in accordance with the Bill.
Need for legislation
The requirement of a separate labour law for small scale industries was identified by the Second National Commission on Labour in 2000. The Commission said that such a law would encourage small scale industries and also boost employment opportunities.