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INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS: 17 OCTOBER 2014

PM rolls out labour reforms

Prime Minister unveiled new measures for the youth, workers and employers to improve ease of doing business for enterprises while expanding government support for training workers.


Details of the Schemes launched are as follows:

Apprenticeship Protsahan Yojna

The Apprentices Act 1961 was enacted for regulating the Apprenticeship Training Scheme in the industry for imparting on-the-job training to apprentices. Presently, there are only 2.82 lakh apprentices undergoing training against 4.9 lakh seats.

Apprenticeship Scheme has huge potential for training the large number of young person’s to make them employable. If properly revamped, it could also significantly contribute to ‘Make in India’ Mission. Similar schemes have been highly successful in countries like Germany, China and Japan where the number of apprentices are stated to be 3 million, 20 million and 10 million respectively.

The Apprentice Protsahan Yojana will support one lakh apprentices during the period upto March 2017. Selected Apprentices and the Establishments ready to participate in this scheme from various states will be invited and it is proposed that Prime Minister will give sanction letters to these to mark the launch of the new scheme.

Present framework tightly regulates the number of apprentices trade-wise, and is not attractive to youth because of low rate of stipend. Further the industry is averse to participate because the scheme is not viable for the small industries. There are a large number of establishments including MSMEs where training facilities are available but could not be utilized so far.

A major initiative has been undertaken to revamp the apprenticeship Scheme in India after extensive consultation with industry, states and other stakeholders with the vision of increasing apprenticeship seats to more than 20 lakhs in next few years. There are four components of this initiative, which are given below:

  • Making the legal framework friendly to both, industry and youth.
  • Enhancing the rate of stipend and indexing it to minimum wages of semi skilled workers.
  • Apprentice Protsahan Yojana which will support manufacturing units mainly and other establishments by reimbursing 50% of the stipend paid to apprentices during first two years of their training.
  • Basic training component (mainly class room training part) of the curricula is being restructured on scientific principles to make it more effective, and MSMEs will be supported financially by permitting this component in government funded SDI scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

Universal Account Number (UAN) for Employees Provident Fund:

Under the scheme complete information for approximately 4 crore subscribers of EPF has been centrally compiled and digitized and a UAN has been allotted to all. The UAN is being seeded with Bank account and Aadhar Card and other KYC details for financial inclusion of vulnerable section of society and their unique identification.

Camps are being organized to facilitate opening of bank account and Aadhar card for those subscribers who have no bank account or Aadhar card as on date. This will ensure portability of the Social Security Benefits to the labour of organised sector across the jobs and geographic areas.

The EPF account of employee will be now be updated monthly and at the same time he will be informed through sms. Finally it will ensure that each of the 4 crore or more EPF account holders have direct access to their EPF accounts and will also enable them to consolidate all their previous accounts .

The minimum pension for employees has been introduced first time so that employees’ pension is not less than Rs. 1000 per month. The wage ceiling has been raised from Rs. 6500 to Rs. 15000 per month to ensure that vulnerable groups are covered under EPF Scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

Labour Inspection Scheme:

To bring in transparency in labour inspection, a transparent Labour Inspection scheme is being developed. The four features of the inspection scheme are:

  • Serious matters are to be covered under the mandatory inspection list.
  • A computerized list of inspections will be generated randomly based on pre-determined objective criteria.
  • Complaints based inspections will also be determined centrally after examination based on data and evidence.
  • There will be provision of Emergency List for inspection of serious cases in specific circumstances.

 

A transparent Inspection Scheme will provide a check on the arbitrariness in compliance mechanism.

Sources: PIB.

 

Shram Suvidha Portal

Ministry Labour & Employment has developed a Shram Suvidha Portal in central sphere to create a conducive environment for industrial development. The 4 main features of this Portal are:

  • Unique labour identification number (LIN) will be allotted to Units to facilitate online registration.
  • Filing of self-certified and simplified Single Online Return by the industry. Now Units will only file a single consolidated Return online instead of filing 16 separate Returns.
  • Mandatory uploading of inspection Reports within 72 hours by the Labour inspectors.
  • Timely redressal of grievances will be ensured with the help of the portal.

 

This will bring in the necessary ease in compliance of provisions related to labour and will be a step forward in promoting the ease of doing business. The complete database available centrally at unified portal will also add to the informed policy process. The portal will be operative in 4 central organizations namely Chief Labour Commissioner, Directorate General of Mines Safety, Employee Provident Fund and Employees’ State insurance Corporation. In this endeavor of the Ministry, complete information of all 11 lakh units for these organizations has been collected, digitized and de-duplicated reducing the total number to 6-7 lakh. It is proposed to allot LIN to all these 6-7 lakh units.

Sources: PIB.

World Food Prize

Sanjaya Rajaram, an eminent Indian scientist, has been awarded the World Food Prize in recognition of his significant contributions to global wheat production.

Mr. Rajaram, currently a Senior Scientific Advisor at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), has developed some 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries across six continents and an estimated 58 million hectares. His wheat improvement research has helped secure a 1.3 per cent rise in global wheat production per annum in the last four decades.

About World Food Prize:

THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE is the foremost international award recognizing — without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs — the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

The Prize recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply — food and agriculture science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership and the social sciences.

The World Food Prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.

Sources: The Hindu, http://www.worldfoodprize.org/.

 

India’s new CEA

US-based economist Arvind Subramanian took charge as chief economic advisor (CEA) in the finance ministry.

He is a former International Monetary Fund economist. His key task will be to work out a new monetary policy framework in which the government will set the inflation target, to be implemented by a policy panel of the central bank.

He heads a team who are to bring out the government’s annual Economic Survey during the Budget session, and the Mid-Year Analysis of the economy in the Winter Session of Parliament in December. The challenge before him will be to defend policies and actions of the government, such as India’s stand at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Chief Economic Adviser heads the Economic Division of Government of India. The main functions of the Division are advisory in nature. The Division examines domestic and international economic trends and undertakes research studies having a bearing on economic policies and management of the economy and renders policy advice.

Main activities of the Economic Division include:

  • Monitoring of Prices and policies relating to price control.
  • Monitoring of trends in Agricultural and Industrial Production and related policy issues.
  • Monitoring of Production, Public Distribution and Stocks of food grains and related policy issues.
  • Monitoring of Monetary and Credit Aggregates.
  • Monitoring of Public Finance.
  • Monitoring of Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.
  • Monitoring of Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments.
  • International Economic Institutions: World Bank and IMF, ADB and G-20 related issues.
  • Preparation of Annual Economic Survey and Mid Year Review of the Economy.

For further reference: http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_eco_affairs/economic_div/ed_index.asp.

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p style=”text-align: right”>Sources: business-standard, PIB, finmin.nic.in.