Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday unveiled a string of labour reforms, including measures to end 'inspector raj', asserting that ease of doing business is ‘essential’ to ensure 'Make-in-India' campaign is successful.
He dedicated a number of schemes under Shramev Jayate (work alone triumphs) programme which includes portability through universal account number for employee provident fund, single window portal to enable doing business with labour ministry and labour inspection scheme in central sphere.
Modi said these steps exemplified his government's approach of 'minimum government and maximum governance'.
Elaborating on steps to end the inspector raj -- harassment by officials, Modi said a transparent labour inspection scheme is being developed to check arbitrariness.
While so far the units for inspection were selected locally without any objective criteria, the new scheme envisages that serious matters will be covered under the mandatory inspection list.
A computerised list of inspections will be generated randomly on predetermined objective criteria and complaints-based inspection will also be determined centrally based on data and evidence.
There will also be provision of Emergency List for inspection of serious cases.
"We have replaced 16 forms (which factory owners had to fill) with one form, which is available online.
“Now computer draw will decide which inspector (labour) will go for inspection to which factory and he will have to upload his report online in 72 hours.
"These facilities are what I call minimum government, maximum governance. I have been hearing about 'inspector raj' since childhood," Modi said.
Noting that it is the responsibility of the government to simplify processes for doing trade, the Prime Minister said, "Ease of business is the first and foremost requirement if 'Make In India' has to be made successful. Ease of business is the priority for Make In India."
Inaugurating the 'Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram' organised by the Labour Ministry, Modi also reached out to 420,000 ITI students through SMS as he greeted the achievers with ITI degrees in various fields, hailing the undergraduate technical course.
Besides the ITI students, about one crore EPFO subscribers also got SMSes regarding portability through UAN and about 650,000 establishments and 1,800 inspectors got SMSes about Unified Labour Portal which, the government believes will make for a transparent and accountable Labour Inspection Scheme.
The Prime Minister said that this event is different from other launches as the message has reached to the stakeholders at the same time.
Laying emphasis on skill development in Apprenticeship Protsahan Yojana that he launched, the Prime Minister said that the country has huge potential to provide manpower to the world, which will require this by 2020.
Presently there are 2.82 lakh apprentices undergoing training against 490,000 seats.
An initiative to revamp the apprenticeship scheme has been undertaken and the particular scheme will support one lakh apprentices during the period up to March 2017.
Reaching out to the working class, he said that he is keen that Rs 27,000 crore (Rs 270 billion) lying unclaimed in PF accounts are given back to their claimants arguing that if mobile subscribers get connectivity everywhere they go, why cannot migrating labour force can continue to get PF benefits.
"I have to give back this money to the poor. This Rs 27,000 crore (Rs 270 billion) belongs to the poor," he said even as he took a dig at this critics for questioning his vision.
"Those who ask what is Modi's vision won't be able to see this because the power of their spectacles has gone up just looking for a vision," he said.
Stressing that the government functions on trust and not doubt, he said that this was the vision behind his government's decision allowing self certification of documents by enterprising youths, who had to run from pillar to post earlier to get their documents attested by officials.
Exhorting people to accord respect to labour and consider labourers as 'Shramyogi', he said that society can develop only if the dignity and honour of labour is restored in social life vis a vis other white collared jobs.
Noting that it is ironical that while an unemployed graduate in some other course is respected, those from ITIs are looked down upon and they are hesitant to identify themselves due to it.
"We have not considered labour respectable. We treated it as downgrade," he said, adding that a compassionate approach will ensure that "Shram Yogi" becomes "Rashtra Yogi" and "Rashtra Nirmaata".
Modi made a strong pitch for understanding and appreciating labour issues through the perspective of the labourers, so that they could be resolved with compassion.
The Prime Minister lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in launching a series of schemes simultaneously, which took into account the interests of workers as well as the employers.
He said the Shram Suvidha Portal has simplified compliance of 16 labour laws, through a single online form.
Modi said that transparent Labour Inspection Scheme for random selection of units for inspection would end undue harassment of the "Inspector Raj," while ensuring better compliance.
The Prime Minister said the initiative of appointing National Brand Ambassadors of vocational training would instill pride and confidence in ITI students.
Lauding e-governance as easy, effective and economical governance, he said that it will also boost transparency.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi