Congress leader and former party president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that many states are amending labour laws to but the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic cannot be an excuse “to exploit workers, suppress their voice and crush their human rights.”
Gandhi said there cannot be any compromise on the basic principles by allowing unsafe workplaces.
Gandhi took to Twitter and said (in Hindi), “Many states are amending labour laws. We are together fighting against coronavirus. But this cannot be an excuse to crush human rights, allow unsafe workplaces, exploit workers and suppress their voice,” he said.
अनेक राज्यों द्वारा श्रमकानूनों में संशोधन किया जा रहा है। हम कोरोना के खिलाफ मिलकर संघर्ष कर रहे हैं, लेकिन यह मानवाधिकारों को रौंदने, असुरक्षित कार्यस्थलों की अनुमति, श्रमिकों के शोषण और उनकी आवाज दबाने का बहाना नहीं हो सकता। इन मूलभूत सिद्धांतों पर कोई समझौता नहीं हो सकता।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 11, 2020
“There cannot be any compromise on these basic principles,” he added.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also said it would be dangerous and disastrous to loosen labour, land and environment laws in the name of economic revival and stimulus.
“In the name of economic revival and stimulus, it will be dangerous and disastrous to loosen labour, land and environmental laws and regulations as the Modi govt is planning.
“The first steps have already been taken. This is a quack remedy like demonetisation,” Ramesh tweeted.
In the name of economic revival and stimulus, it will be dangerous and disastrous to loosen labour, land and environmental laws & regulations as the Modi govt is planning.
The first steps have already been taken. This is a quack remedy like demonetisation!
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) May 11, 2020
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced at a press conference on Thursday that the state government will exempt new factories from almost all labour laws except for a few provisions in the Factories Act, 1948 for the next 1000 days.
Taking a cue, the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh too passed an ordinance on Thursday to suspend most of the labour laws for three years to revive the economic condition of the state.
“The decision to approve the ordinance was taken on Wednesday in a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” said UP government spokesperson.
While 38 labour laws have been scrapped and only four laws that will continue to prevail are Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Building and Other Construction Workers Act 1996, Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Workmen Compensation Act 1923 , along with some provisions related to women and child.
After Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is all set to dilute the labour laws of the state to revive the economic activity, as industries and businesses have come to a halt due to the lockdown.
CM Rupani had said in a statement that Gujarat is planning to exempt new projects from provisions of labour laws if the unit will work for at least 1,200 days.
While other states like Rajasthan Punjab and Himachal Pradesh has also amended the Industrial Disputes Act since last month and raised the working hours from 8 to 12 hours per day.
The central government too is trying hard to showcase India as a great destination for more than 1,000 US businesses to relocate from China in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic and US President Donald Trump’s administration blaming China for the outbreak.