Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister for Labour & Employment (IC) visits Sriperumbudur Parliamentary Constituency

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister for Labour & Employment (IC) visits Sriperumbudur Parliamentary Constituency 

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister for Labour & Employment (IC) visited the Parliamentary Constituency of Sriperumbudur on Monday 15th  February 2016 and reviewed the performance of the offices under the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India with special focus on the administering of Central Schemes and Central Funding of the Schemes, in Tamil Nadu State.
Shri Dattatreya later interacting with Media.
Persons at Sriperumbudur, highlighted the fund flow to the state of Tamil Nadu by the Central Govt. under various schemes/programmes :
1.      Technical Upgradation Fund of Rs. 8000 Crore
2.      Rs. 37000 Crore for National Highways Development
3.      Rs. 13000 Crore is in Pipeline for converting Kulachal Small Port into major Port
4.      Rs. 650 Crore ESIC Hospital & Medical College Building handed over to Tamil Nadu as centre’s practice of strengthening federal structure
5.      Rs. 1940 Crore has been released for the flood affected areas in Tamil Nadu

Shri Dattatreya said that for further simplification and rationalization, 44 Central Labour Laws are being amalgamated into 4 Labour Codes i.e., Code on Wages, Code on Industrial Relations, Code on Social Security and Code on Safety & Working Conditions.

The Labour & Employment Minister Shri Dattatreya reiterated his Governments priority of welfare of workers of the country with primary focus on Job Security, Wage Security and Social Security. Bonus Amendment Bill has been passed by the Parliament in December 2015 and the Bonus Ceiling has been raised from Rs. 3500/- to Rs. 7000/- and eligibility Ceiling from Rs. 10000/- to Rs. 21000/-.

He said that the Modi New Govt., led by principle of transperancy and accountability, has initiated various technology driven initiatives in Employees Provident Fund Organization, Employees State Insurance Corporation and Labour Welfare.  He informed that in Tamil Nadu alone the EPFO is settling 93% claims within 20 days and 2.23 crore annual accounts have been updated on 1st April 2015.  He also lauded the efforts in issue of Universal Account Number (UAN) numbering 70 Lakhs and redressal of 98.7% grievances, in the state.

Shri Dattatreya announced setting up of a 100 beded ESIC Hospital in Sriperumbudur and upgradation of 7 ESIC Dispensaries at Dindigul, Ranipet, Ambur, Tambaram, Kovilpatti, Rajapalayam, Virudhanagar into 30 bedded ESIC Hospitals.

In response to queries regarding retrenchment of workers due to closure and liquidation of companies, Shri Dattatreya stated that his Government’s main interest is to protect the rights of the workers and the recent reform agenda is a testimony of the Government’s intent of upholding workers’ rights. On Child Labour, he informed that Child Labour Act is being amended to protect the Child’s right to education by bringing a blanket ban on employment of children in industry upto the age of 14 years and in hazardous industry upto the age of 18 years, with stringent penal provisions for violations.

Ninth meeting of the advisory council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms held

We need to continuously improve our legal and judicial framework so that timely and cost effective justice is made available at the door steps to our people-DV Sadananda Gowda 
The Ninth meeting of the advisory council of the national mission for justice delivery and legal reforms was held here in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion Union Law & Justice Minister Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who chaired the meeting said access to justice is an is an integral part of our Constitution. To achieve this objective, we need to continuously improve our legal and judicial framework so that timely and cost effective justice is made available at the door steps to our people. Since the Central Government, the State Governments and the Judiciary all have equal stakes in the improvement of our justice delivery mechanisms; a collaborative approach among the stakeholders is the need of the hour. He said, keeping this in view, a joint meeting of Chief Ministers of States and Chief Justices of High Courts will be convened during the month of April this year to take forward the agenda of judicial reforms.

The minister said, the protracted nature of litigation in the country has an adverse impact on investor sentiments. Therefore, in order to assuage these concerns and as part of the Government’s constant efforts to forge investor-friendly environment in the country, the government has initiated a number of steps, such as the enactment of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 and amendments to Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. These initiatives are intrinsically linked to the Government’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign. Advisory Council of the National Mission gave valuable suggestions on these legislations.

He said though, the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission has not been upheld by the Supreme Court, it asked the Government to review the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts by including within it specific provisions relating to eligibility criteria, transparency in the appointment process, setting up of Secretariat and complaint mechanism. The process of consultation with the state governments has been initiated.

Shri Sadananda Gowda said with the increased devolution of funds to State government by the 14th Finance Commission, the onus is on the state governments to implement the recommendations relating to the justice sector contained in the report. These recommendations pertain to setting up of Fast Track Courts, Additional Courts and Family Courts, increasing the ICT capabilities of the courts and setting up of ADR centres etc. The minister informed that he had written to Chief Ministers to to make concerted efforts to ensure full utilisation of funds allocated to the justice sector as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission. He also referred to the Prime Minister’s correspondence with all the Chief Ministers to implement the recommendations/suggestions contained in the report.

Referring to the last Advisory Council Meeting, in which lack of a proper judicial data base in the High Courts was raised, the minister said he has written to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts asking them to compile the Annual Reports and to make them available online. He expressed happiness in noting that High Courts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madras, Sikkim and Tripura have responded positively.

The Minister also expressed happiness at Bar Council of India’s initiative to establish Lawyers ‘Academy. He said this issue has been discussed on several occasions in the Advisory Council. The first Academy for Continuing Legal Education has been set up at Kochi. He said this Academy is a collaborative effort of M.K. Nambiyar Memorial Trust and the Kerala Bar Council. A series of 22 training workshops have been planned for 2016 with the aim to increase/improve the efficiency of the judiciary and the bar. The minister thanked Chairman, Bar Council of India and Professor Madhava Menon for this path breaking initiative.

During the meeting subjects included for discussions are: specialised courts, judicial accountability, ADR methods such as Lok Adalats and Arbitration, the need for a uniform methodology to collect judicial data and streamlining of court processes. Shri Sadananda Gowda said specialised courts / tribunals are not a new phenomenon and since the creation of the first tribunal in 1941, there has been a proliferation of tribunals. The agenda item seeks to ascertain whether the specialised courts and tribunals have been successful in reducing pendency and whether there is a need to establish specialised courts on the lines of family courts, commercial courts etc.

He said there have been efforts in the past to bring about judicial accountability legislation and to strengthen the existing mechanism of judicial transparency and accountability. The most recent being the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. The advice and guidance of the Advisory Council is being sought for the creation of an appropriate mechanism for judicial accountability.

The Minister said ADR methods such as Lok Adalats and Arbitration have gained considerable traction as an effective means of dispute resolution. However, there is still considerable resistance on the part of litigants to opt for mediation due to the lack of proper statutory framework for the mediation process. It is in this regard the third agenda item explored the pre-litigation dispute resolution scenario in India and the need to give statutory backing to mediation by enacting a standalone law.

Shri Gowda highlighted that the need for a uniform methodology to collect judicial data has long been an issue of concern. He said the issue has been highlighted by the Law Commission as well as the Supreme Court as lack of a uniform data collection mechanism hampers policy making. In light of this, the fourth agenda item discussed the need for a uniform judicial database for policy formulation and the need for the High Courts to take lead in their respective jurisdiction.

The Minister said streamlining of court processes is one of the critical measures needed urgently to liquidate arrears and backlog of cases. The judiciary has taken steps in this direction and the National Court Management System is working with the High Courts to introduce necessary reforms in court and case management. 
Union Minister of Steel & Mines meets Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

Poland offers sharing of expertise in exploration of copper & silver and coking coal technology, with Indian companies 
A meeting was held between Union Minister of Steel & Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Prof. Piotr Glinski in Mumbai on 15.2.16. The meeting was attended by delegates from both sides. It may be noted that Poland has sent a high-level delegation of 50 members led by the Deputy Prime Minister to participate in Make-in-India Week programme at Mumbai.

The meeting began with Shri Tomar welcoming the visiting dignitaries to India.

Deputy Prime Minister, Poland Prof. Glinski expressed keen interest in mutual collaboration in the area of mining and mineral exploration. Polish companies, like KGHM, have expertise in exploration of copper and silver which can be shared with Indian companies, he added. Prof. Glinski also offered knowledge exchange in the area of coking coal manufacturing and skill development. It was informed that Poland is a world leader in Coking coal production and is second largest exporter of coking coal in the world. He shared plans of setting up a state-of-the-art coking coal plant of 2.7 million tonne annual capacity in India.

Shri Tomar spoke about the initiatives taken by the government of India for attracting investors to the country. He gave an overview of the mining and exploration sector in the India and the recent developments in this area. The Minister informed about policy measures like amendment in MMDR Act, National Mineral Exploration Trust and proposed National Mineral Policy, which encourage participation of international private companies also in the Mining & Exploration Sector. He exhorted the Poland delegation to explore avenues for investment and collaboration in mining, exploration, Make in India, Clean India and other special drives being undertaken by the government of India. He assured of all possible support from the government in realizing the true potential of bilateral relations between the two countries. He appreciated the proposal of Poland side for an MOU for cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources between the two countries and assured that once the draft MOU is received from Poland side, the Indian side will give it due consideration.. Shri Tomar appreciated the fact that Poland has started a “Go India” initiative to support “Make in India” and had joined the observance of International Yoga Day enthusiastically. Shri Tomar also welcomed the proposal of Poland side to set up a 2.7 million tonnes per annum capacity coke oven plant in India and assured of full co-operation.

The two countries also agreed to cooperate in the area of clean coal technology. Both sides agreed to further the discussion in forthcoming Kolkata Mining Exhibition, where Poland is planning to participate.

From Indian side, the meeting was also attended by Indian Ambassador to Poland, Joint Secretaries from Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Mines, CMD MECL, CMD MECON, DG GSI and Directors from SAIL and NMDC. 

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