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Lok Sabha passes three labour code bills ,opposition walked out

The Lok Sabha onTuesday passed three important labour codes that fulfill the long pending demands of Industry to allow them flexibility in hiring and retrenchment, make industrial strikes difficult besides, facilitate ease of doing business.

Opposition political parties including Congress, which had opposed the bills last week when it was introduced, had walked out of the lower House and did not participate in the discussion.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said the changes in the labour Codes have been made keeping in mind the transformation India has undergone in past decades in terms of technology, work methodologies, work-sphere facilities and the nature of works. He said changes in labour laws have been envisaged by recognizing the changes global scenario and for meeting future work requirements.

While initiating discussing on the three bills - Code on Industrial Relation, Social Security, and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), labour minister said industries and workers are two sides of the same coin and the three bills have tried to balance their rights.

The labour codes have been brought with a view to balance the interests, rights and obligations of employees and the employers in the country," Gangwar said adding that the multiple licensing, paper works hassles of companies will come down significantly.

In the Industrial Relation Code, government has allowed companies having up to 300 workers to fire people or close units without prior approval of the government. And companies having more than 300 workers need to apply for approval, but if authorities do not respond to their request then it will be deemed approved.The three codes will also allow states to roll on labour reforms and empower them to exempt any company or companies from complying with one or more labour laws. A move that industries believe will boost investment.

But some experts and labor economists said the blanket exemptions to industries through various provisions will lead social and economic unrest and take away both job security and wage security.

Gangwar, however, said that fixed term workers and regular workers will enjoy equal benefits. He said in the Social security Code talks about universalizing social security by bringing informal workers, gig and platform workers under its ambit. He said companies having less than 20 workers can voluntarily join EPFO to get social security benefits and internal workers will be free to voluntarily join employee state insurance scheme for getting healthcare benefits. The code also talks about platform companies employing gig and making provision of one to two percent of their profits for social security need of their workers.