Skip to main content

Industry body FICCI seeks stringent laws to deal with labour unrest, says it's No 1 risk to Indian economy

Counterview Desk
The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (FICCI's) annual study, “India Risk Survey 2016”, has ranked strikes, closures and unrest as the most important risk affecting the Indian economy, even as ironically declaring at one place that “industrial strikes and lockouts showed a waning trend this year."
Claiming to have reached the conclusion on the basis of a survey of industry experts and government decision-makers, the survey encompasses 12 key risks that pose threats to the entire economic ecosystem of the country, the report says, strikes, closures and unrest was rated as the highest risk in all four zones – North, East, South and West.
Yet, ironically, the report says, in the first four months of 2015 there were 40 strikes and lockouts, as against 53 and 121 strikes and lockouts respectively during the same period in 2014 and for 2013.
“In terms of the number of workers joining the strikes”, the report says, “It has come down from a high of 1.81 million organised sector workers in 2003 to one million in 2014.”
Providing more data, the report says, “The provisional figures for the first four months of 2015 indicate that less than 100,000 workers were affected as a result of strikes and lockouts. For the same period, the mandays lost due to strikes and lockouts stand at 445,986, as compared to 1,129,425 in 2014.”
Calling “civic and labour unrest” an India-wide phenomenon, affecting “all sectors in varying degrees”, the report significantly suggests that it should be considered a crime punishable under the IPC.
It emphasizes: “A handicap in dealing with various forms of social strife is the nonexistence of a unified set of laws. At present, the laws to deal with communal incidences, caste agitations, and other forms of violent demonstrations are covered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).”
Seeking a “single and cohesive set of laws will help define the incidents and fix accountability at multiple levels, including the police”, the report says, “Most labour problems are a result of disputes over wages, working conditions or union representation.”
Calling India’s labour laws as “most stringent and complex in the world, complicating the regulatory environment for businesses”, the report says, “There are close to 44 central labour laws and above 100 state labour laws in the country, most of which are archaic in reference to a globalised economic perspective.”
Especially objecting to laws such as the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, the report says, the latter particularly “requires prior government permission to lay-off workers or close businesses employing more than 100 people.”
“Due to this”, the report underlines, “Businesses have found ways to circumvent these rules through contract workers, which is another point of conflict in the labour-employer ties.”
Insisting that social unrest is particularly affecting the Indian economy, the report says, “The defining event in this category has been the ongoing Jat agitation, demanding OBC reservation for the community in education and government jobs. The agitation during February 2016 alone caused economic losses worth Rs 34,000 crore.”
“Prior to the Jats, the Patels in Gujarat and Kapus in Andhra Pradesh had raised similar demands. Recent developments show that the issue of reservation is far from over. Along with the reservation agitations and resulting violence, social strife remains the most potent risk to business operations”, the report says.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.