New Delhi: The Minister of State for Labour & Employment (IC), Shri Bandaru Dattatreya has announced that the 40 crore workers from unorganized sector will be covered under social security schemes such as ESIC & EPFO. The Minister said that the Government is committed to ensure wage, jobs and social security for all workers including unorganized sector. Shri Dattatreya was addressing a function on the 3 years achievements of the his ministry in New Delhi today. He said that the Ministry is implementing reforms and new ways and means for employment generation. India is the only country which has launched Shram Suvidha Portal for effective compliance and ease of doing business. The Ministry is implementing the National Career Service (NCS) project as a vibrant platform for transforming and strengthening the public employment services in the country.
Shri Dattatreya said that the Ministry got the following Acts passed by the Parliament during last 3 years.
1- The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which ensures complete prohibition on employment of children below 14 years and also prohibited the adolescents (14-18 years ) to work in hazardous occupation/processes
2- The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 under which maternity benefit to woman has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children
3- The Payment of Wages(Amendment) Act,2017 enables the employers to pay the wages to their employees by cash or cheque or crediting it to their bank account.
4- The Employees’ Compensation (Amendment) Act, 2017 has the provision to increase the penalty for contravention of Act from present Rs.5000/- to Rs. 50,000/- extendable to Rs.1 Lakh.
5- Payment of Bonus Amendment Act, 2015 has enhanced the eligibility limit under section 2(13) from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs.21,000/- per month.
6- The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 has been amended by notification to include “fixed term employment” for textile (apparel) sector as a part of textile package to enhance employment.
The Labour & Employment Minister said that the Ministry is working on the proposed codification of existing Labour Laws into 4 Labour Codes.
(i) Labour Code on Wages
(ii) Labour Code on Industrial Relations
(iii) Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare
(iv) Labour Code on Occupational Safety and Working Conditions
The Group of Ministers has approved the Labour Code on Wages and it will be sent to cabinet for approval.
The Minister said that the Minimum wage (per day) for non-agricultural worker in the ‘C’ area category increased from Rs.246/- to Rs.350/-, Rs437/- in ‘B’ Area category and Rs.523/- in ‘A’ area category. He also informed that the Shram Suvidha Portal is a single unified web portal for submissions of common Annual Return under 9 Central Acts and monthly common Electronic Challan Cum Return (ECR) for EPFO and ESIC. He also informed that Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) is allotted to Units and 19,23,162 Lakhs LIN allotted as on on 22nd May, 2017. Total 2,95,423 inspections have been assigned and out of that 2,76,931 inspections have been uploaded as on 22nd May, 2017. Common registration under EPFO and ESIC has been facilitated on the Shram Suvidha Portal since 30th April, 2017.
Shri Dattatreya said that Registers/Forms to be maintained under various labour laws are simplified. 56 Registers/- Forms under 9 Central Labour Laws and Rules made thereunder have been replaced with 5 common Registers/Forms. The notification has been issued on 28th March, 2017 for reducing Forms under certain Labour Law Rules from 36 to 12. It is applicable to the establishments under the jurisdiction of Central as well as State Governments.
He said that employers can apply for EPF code number online by uploading of digitally signed documents. As on 06th December, 2016 around 1.52 Lakhs establishments have been obtained online registration on OLRE portal. Universal Account Number(UAN) has been made compulsory and online credit system introduced. Minimum pension under Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 has been revised to Rs. 1000/- in perpetuity per month w.e.f. April 2015. Time limit for claim settlement has been reduced to 10 days from 20 days. No documents required and only self-certification is necessary for withdrawal under the EPF scheme for the accounts linked with Aadhaar.
The Minister informed that ESIC is now covering complete districts instead of targeted industrial clusters. Coverage expanded to all 393 districts where these clusters are located. 301 districts have been fully covered. In the second phase, the target is to cover all the remaining districts of the country. “One IP-Two Dispensaries” scheme has been launched for the benefit of migrant workers. Now Insured Persons can choose two dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer.
Shri Bandaru Dattatreya said that over 3.87 crore candidates, 14.8 lakh establishments are registered on the National Career Service (NCS) Portal and it has mobilized over 6 lakh vacancies. Around 540 job fair were organised in 2016-17. The NCS project also involves setting up of 100 Model Career Centre to deliver quality employment services and these centres are being set up in collaboration with States and Institutions. NCS has partnered with Department of Posts and common services centre to extend registration of job seekers through the Post Offices.
Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) scheme has been announced to incentivize employers for new employment. Government will be paying the 8.33% EPS contribution for these new employment for the period of 3 years. For the textile (Apparel & made up) sector, Government will also pay the 3.67% EPF contribution of employers for these new employees. Till now benefit have been transferred to 1,954 establishments covering 75,848 beneficiaries under the scheme with an expenditure of Rs. 6 crores (approx.).
Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour Scheme has been revised with effect from 17th May, 2016 where financial assistance has been increased from Rs.20,000/- Rs.1,00,000/- per adult male beneficiary, Rs 2 Lakh for special category beneficiaries such as children including orphans or those rescued from organized & forced begging rings or other forms of forced child labour and women. Rs 3 Lakh in cases of bonded or forced labour involving extreme cases of deprivation or marginalization.
The Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Ms. M. Sathiyavathy in her welcoming address said that the Government is creating environment to facilitate employment with quality and fair wages. For this number of initiatives and programmes have been undertaken.
On this occasion, Shri Dattatreya inaugurated Centre of Excellence (Ophthalmology) of ESI PGIMSR & Model Hospital and Physiotherapy & X-ray units of ESIC on PPP model for beneficiaries for Delhi region. He also inaugurated EPFO Regional Office, Delhi (West) and Regional Office, Delhi (Central). The Minister Felicitated six model employers and also released a book on 3 years’ achievements and initiatives of the Ministry of Labour & Employment.