The Union labour ministry has approved a more liberal inspection scheme aimed at simplifying business regulations and bringing “transparency and accountability” in the system.
For this purpose, a Central Analysis and Intelligence Unit (CAIU) will be set up to analyse and collect field data “for a transparent and accountable labour inspection system”.
The scheme will be brought into effect from October 1 for the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), inspections under the ambit of the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) and the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS).
Under the new scheme, inspection of factories will be carried out under 11 Acts, including the Minimum Wages Act, Contract Labour Act and Child Labour Act. There are different inspection guidelines for EPFO, ESIC, CLC and DGMS.
For instance, inspection under the ambit of CLC would be mandatory in areas where a fatal or serious accident has occurred, strikes or lockouts have taken place in the past two years, and in closed establishments where workers’ dues are awaiting settlement.
Optional inspections on the direction of CLC would take place in the case of hazardous manufacture or in establishments where contract workers either constitute half of the workforce or more than 250 employees.
The optional inspection would be automatically generated through a system, according to the priorities of the organisation, the ministry said.
Every organisation will also prioritise the areas requiring mandatory inspection, and the cases forwarded by the CAIU will be on data and evidence basis.
“Each organisation would indicate the criteria which it considers most important from its point of view where the inspections would be mandatory.
The optional inspection also would be generated through computer, using pre-decided number tables, taking into account the priorities of the organisation for bringing in transparency and accountability in labour inspections,” a ministry note said.
The employers will feed periodical returns in the system and the inspectors will file detailed inspection report.
Certain guidelines for inspectors have also been issued, such as maintaining registers, carrying out inspections in normal working hours, uploading the report within three days of inspection, etc.
“The pre-developed criteria in the optional inspection will make sure that no element of bias exists during the inspection,” said Gauri Kumar, secretary in the labour ministry.