Labour and Employment Ministry Pays Tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Labour and Employment Ministry Pays Tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Booklet “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar-Labour Welfare and Empowerment: Initiatives to Make his Vision a Reality” Released 

The Ministry of Labour & Employment organized a Conference today on December 6, 2015 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary Year of Bharat Ratan Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. A booklet “Dr B R Ambedkar –Labour Welfare & Empowerment : Initiatives to make his vision a reality” was also released on this occasion.

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the chief guest on the occasion while Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State, (Independent Charge) Labour and Employment, presided over the Conference. Former Labour and Employment Minister and the Leader of Congress Party in the Lok Sabha, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi were the distinguished guests to the occasion. The Conference was also attended by Labour Minister from Manipur Shri Hemochandra Singh, the Chairperson of ST Commission, Dr. Rameshwar Oraon and Director ILO country Office Ms Panudda Boonpala among others. Those to participate in the Conference included the Trade Union and Employer representatives, officers from Central and State Governments, and other eminent persons including a large media apart from officials from ministry of Labour and Employment and its organizations.

Shri Rajnath Singh, paying tributes to Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar said that Babasaheb was a saint who always worked for the betterment of the persons particularly for the downtrodden. He said that although Dr Ambedkar is usually remembered as a leader of the dalit classes, he was truly a leader and architect of modern India. Shri Rajnath Singh said that the new age was that of the workers and Government was committed to uphold the vision of Shramev Jayate. He complimented the Ministry of Labour and Employment for inviting all the stakeholders of democracy and labour including leader of the opposite political party, and representatives of trade unions and employer bodies. He said that the healthy democratic process is based on consultation and consensus and creating such forum give us opportunities to discuss the challenges and issues in the labour collectively.

Shri Mallikarjun Kharge appreciated the initiative by the Government to celebrate the 125th Birth Anniversary year of Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Ambedkar. He also talked about the initiative to release a 10 Rupee coin in his name. Shri Kharge said that it is indeed an irony that Labour Ministry is not given its due weightage in the Cabinet portfolio even though the matters of labour are core to the welfare of the saidfe citizens at large. He said that a nation can progress only when the labour of the country is made integral to the development process.

Shri Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Laureate talked about the visionary that babasaheb was. He said that it was because of Babasaheb’s farsightedness that most of the critical labour issues including forced labour, maternity benefit for women and working conditions were discussed and included in the Constitution of India when a large majority of the world was still discussing the means to address these issues.

In his presidential speech, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Labour and Employment paid tribute to the astounding contribution of Babasaheb Dr B R Ambedkar. He said that Ministry in its endeavors is committed to ensure the welfare of the workers. He said that in no case the reforms will be against the interest of the working class. He reiterated his resolve to work for the unorganized workers of the country and to ensure that they get a similar wage protection and job security as available to those in the organized sector. He underlined several initiatives undertaken by the ministry including drafting of labour codes, ESIC 2.0 Reforms, Initiatives by EPFO etc.

The speakers complimented the Ministry of Labour and Employment for this initiative to bring forth the contribution of Babasaheb to the cause of Labour Welfare. Vision of Dr Ambedkar and his revolutionary initiatives for the labour welfare were recalled by all the speakers. True to his inclusive and comprehensive approach towards policy issues, Dr. Ambedkar touched upon every aspect of workers' lives - be it working hours and working conditions including wages, initiatives to promote participation particularly that of women and other disadvantageous segments, social security, skill and training or labour rights; he guided the policy process in a determined manner. He recognized and adopted the consensual approach of tripartite consultation. He championed the cause of labour and was also instrumental in promoting and involving the trade unions.

The recent initiatives by the Ministry of Labour and employment were discussed in context of the carrying forward the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar. Ministry of Labour and Employment is taking steps to ensure job security, wage security and social security to every worker in the country. The initiatives like setting up the national floor level minimum wages (NFLMW) and the upward revision in the Bonus Calculation Ceiling and eligibility limit were appreciated by the speakers. Speakers expressed confidence that the ESIC 2.0 Reforms initiatives will not only carry forward the legacy of Dr Ambedkar who was the man behind establishment of ESI but will also take it to new heights in terms of coverage and delivery of services while making it more transparent and responsible. The initiative of providing Universal Account Numbers to all the subscribers of EPFO has now taken firm roots since it started on the 16th Oct 2014. Till date more than 2 crore UAN have been activated and the benefit has started reaching to the workers on the ground.

It was unanimously agreed that it is our collective responsibility to nurture the vast pool of human resource available with us. Skill Development and Labour welfare must be the priority of the government. Speakers also called for the constructive participation of the tripartite partners for the cause of Labour Welfare. The conference took a resolve to work collectively and collaboratively to realize the vision of Dr. B. R Ambedkar for labour welfare. 

Press Statement of Labour and Employment Minister Outlining New Initiatives for Welfare of Workers 
Following is the press statement of Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, MoS(IC) Labour and Employment-

“Government is pained to notice some views expressed to oppose Labour Reforms. The new Government has from day one committed to all encompassing welfare of workers in true sense rather than giving false hopes by issuing mere statements.

The Government is fully committed to ensure Employment security, wage security and social security for every worker whether in organised or Un-organised sector.

During the last one and a half year, the new Government has taken concrete steps and new initiatives to strengthen the position of workers.

After assuming office, new Government has not only announced a minimum pension of Rs.1000/- per month but has implemented it in perpetuity. Almost 20 lakh persons are benefitted by this act of the new Government The last Government just before elections had made some announcement in respect of minimum pension without making any provision in the Budget. No order was ever issued by the previous Government.

The new Government has also taken far reaching welfare measure for the workers by obtaining approval of the cabinet for enhancing ceiling for bonus from Rs.3500/- to Rs.7000/- or minimum wages whichever is higher. Further eligibility limit has also been enhanced from Rs.10,000/- to Rs.21,000/- per month.

The Government is also proposing to make changes in Labour Laws and replacing 44 central Labour laws with 4 (four) Labour Codes. This is being done with the sole purpose of facilitating small and medium Entrepreneurs especially young entrepreneurs to set up enterprises in every nook and corner of the country without any hassles. This is necessary for creation of Employment opportunities in this country so that almost 10 million people who are joining work force every year can be given an opportunity to live a dignified and self respecting life.

In facts these 44 Central Labour Laws are being amalgamated, simplified and rationalised. Not only this, special attention has been paid for the safety, security and Hygiene of every worker. None of the proposed Labour Law either directly or indirectly has taken away any of the rights of the worker. Rather their rights are being further strengthened.

It has been reported in the media that this Government is threatening workers or tweaking Labour Laws to reduce the scope for industrial jobs. Such reports are based on surmises and presumptions and not based on facts and without going through the Labour Laws. On the contrary all Labour issues are being addressed through tripartite consultations with the sole aim of creating jobs, skills and strengthening safely, security and Hygiene for the workers.

In view of the changing social and economic conditions, it is necessary that we align our Laws and Rules in such a way that we create an environment that is conducive for creation of large scale Employment opportunities.

The Government considers workers as very valuable asset for the country and it is only their hard work and passion that India is growing at a very fast pace. The Hon’ble Prime Minister recently launched Shram Suvidha Portal while committing the Government’s trust in the dignity of Labour, i.e. “Shrammev Jayate.”

Moreover Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched a series of Health Reforms Agenda of ESIC (esic-2.0) ON 20.07.2015 on 20.07.2015 for providing improved quality health services under ESI Scheme.

Universal Account Number (UAN) was also launched by Hon’ble P.M. on 16.10.2014. This provides PF Account portable and enhances accessibility to value added services like SMS etc. to EPF subscribers who are primarily poor workers. This also helps them to track their accounts on real time basis and they don’t have to bother for anything when they change their jobs. The accounts travel with them.” 

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