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Rediff.com  » Business » Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

Last updated on: December 30, 2011 17:15 IST

Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

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Samiran Sarangi in New Delhi

Reaching out to the working class, especially in the unorganised sector, the government rolled out several measures in 2011, raising minimum daily wages, enlarging health insurance coverage and also notifying Majithia Wage Board recommendations for newspaper and news agency employees.

The Union labour and employment ministry also raised rate of interest for EPF subscribers for 2010-11 at 9.5 per cent based on surplus identified, the highest in the past five fiscals.

But it had to confront some unpleasant situations arising out of industrial disputes, labour unrest and strikes by pilots of the national carrier.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

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During the last leg of the year and almost a year after Majithia Wage Board presented its recommendations, the ministry notified them for revision of salaries of journalists and non-journalists in newspaper establishments and agencies.

On the employment front, the quick quarterly surveys conducted by it said that over 23 lakh (2.3 million) jobs were generated since July 2009.

In the unorganised sector, more than 2.54 crore (Rs 25.4 million) families of workers were covered under the government's flagship Rashtriya Swasthiya Bima Yojana till November.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

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The programme provides health insurance to workers to avail smart card based cashless hospitalisation facilities up to Rs 30,000.

The government has decided to extend the scheme to building and other construction workers, street vendors, licensed railway porters, vendors and MGNREGA workers.

On the other hand, Employees State Insurance Corporation opened new hospital and healthcare centres across the country.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

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Employees Provident Fund subscribers got a major benefit during the year with the government in March notifying the rate of interest for the year 2010-11 at 9.5 per cent based on surplus identified.

Earlier during the year, the government notified assurance benefits payable to family of deceased employees equal to 20 times the monthly average wages drawn in preceding 12 months subject to a maximum of Rs 1.30 lakh (Rs 130,000).

While the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) was launched in June, 2010 for refund of EPF claims in all EPF offices and credit of benefit amount, the 'know your claim status' on Internet was introduced in February to allow members to know the status of claims deposited in the office.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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Millions of jobs created in 2011, but strikes marred labour arena

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According to the ministry, during the year, the overall industrial relations climate remained peaceful, thanks to its efforts of achieving a success rate of 98 per cent in avoiding strikes.

"About 538 instances of threatened strikes were reported out of which in 526 cases the strikes were averted due to timely and effective intervention, giving a success rate of 98 per cent," the ministry said.

However, the major ones that drew attention included the one by striking Air India pilots and the lengthy tripartite process of conciliation among the pilots, the management and the labour commissioner of Air India.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: Air India

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The strike by Maruti Suzuki workers in June and October was also in the news, with Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge terming as "unfair" the company's move to make the workers sign good conduct bonds.

The company was, however, quick to respond that it did not indulge in any such unfair labour practice.

The skill development initiative launched by the Centre to create a pool of skilled hands by 2020 also kept the ministry busy.

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Photographs: Reuters

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With the help of the state governments, the Centre launched two major schemes for upgrading all the existing government industrial training institutes in the country.

Under the first scheme, 500 ITIs are being upgraded, out of which 100 have been made centres of excellence through domestic funding at a cost of Rs 160 crore (Rs 1.60 billion).

The remaining 400 ITIs are being upgraded under the Vocational Training Improvement Project assisted by World Bank at a cost of about Rs 1,581 crore (Rs 15.81 billion).

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Photographs: Reuters

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The government also approved a skill development plan in 34 districts affected by Left wing extremism with an outlay of Rs 232.95 crore (Rs 2.329 billion) for setting up of ITIs and skill development centres.

Meanwhile, trade unions launched several agitations protesting the alleged anti-labour policies of the government.

The Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) also joined the protest demanding minimum wages, pension for all and removal of ceiling on payment of bonus.


Photographs: Reuters

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