New Kerala Labour Policy to Make State Investor-Friendly

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The most significant feature of the new policy is the commendable attempt to make the state labour-friendly. A refreshing effort which is in glaring contrast to the attempts by the Centre and many states to heap more misery on the hapless labourers, who are already groaning under the burden of astronomical prices. A report, for Different Truths. 

The new labour policy, which has been approved by the Kerala Cabinet, has a lot to commend itself.

The most significant feature of the new policy is the commendable attempt to make the state labour-friendly. A refreshing effort which is in glaring contrast to the attempts by the Centre and many states to heap more misery on the hapless labourers, who are already groaning under the burden of astronomical prices. 

At the same time, it seeks to reconcile the need to protect workers’ rights with the necessity to make Kerala, an easy-to-do-business state too. With the implementation of the new policy, Kerala is set to shed its image of being an investor-hostile state.

In this connection, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Front Government has been able to enlist the cooperation of trade unions, which have agreed, at a recent meeting convened by the Chief Minister, to end all unhealthy practices bedeviling the labour sector.

As a first step, the trade unions have agreed to put an end to the unhealthy practice of extracting “nokkukooli” (wages for unperformed duties) which was one of the main reasons why businessmen hesitated to make investments in the state. The positive attitude adopted by the trade unions has removed a stumbling block from the path of smooth worker-employer relations.

The government has also requested the trade unions to avoid lightning strikes, which is often resorted to in support of their demands.   

The policy has come against the backdrop of a sinister attempt by the government to deprive workers of their rights and incentives earned through protracted battles over the decades. In fact, the Centre and other states would do well to emulate the ‘Kerala model’.

The most significant feature of the new policy is the accent the government has laid on the need to ensure a minimum wage of Rs. 600 per day for all labourers. It also seeks workers’ participation in health insurance schemes.

Besides, programmes aimed at improving the and efficiency of the workers would be introduced. This is part of the effort to ensure professionalism among the labourers.

The government has also decided to reward the workers who excel in their respective sectors, according to Labour Minister TP Ramakrishnan.

Another commendable feature of the new policy is the emphasis on gender equality. It has been made mandatory for the employers to ensure a women-friendly working atmosphere, besides their safety and security. Firms that employ women will, hereafter, have to set up crèches.

The decision to ban and introduce a comprehensive package for rescued children are the other highlights of the new labour policy. Employers found sponsoring child labour will have to face action.

Last but not the least, the policy would ensure that all labour disputes are settled in a time-bound manner.

P. Sreekumaran
©IPA Service 

Photo from the Internet

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