COVID-19 Fight Can’t Be an Excuse to Exploit Workers: Rahul Gandhi

Centre has supported the structural reforms saying that it will spur economic growth and bring in more investments.

2 min read
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Talking about the slew of changes in the labour laws that have been brought about in certain states recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday,11 May, said that the country’s battle against the novel coronavirus cannot be used to exploit workers and infringe on their basic rights.

“Many states are amending labour laws. Fight against COVID-19 cannot be an excuse to exploit workers, suppress their voice and crush their human rights. There can be no compromise on these basic principles,” Gandhi tweeted.

What Are the Reforms?

Recently, the Adityantah-led government in Uttar pradesh brought an ordinance (Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020) to exempt businesses from having to comply with all key labour laws except three for three years.

On the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ordinance shall suspend the operation of 38 labour laws with the exception of Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Employees Compensation Act, 1932, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 for a period of three years.

Similarly, the Madhya Pradesh government also made amendments in major acts including the Industrial Dispute Act and Factories Act, and reducing the paperwork for companies to help them recover faster from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Gujarat government on Saturday announced an exemption from certain labour laws for 1,200 days to firms that want to set up new units in the state in order to “boost economic activities” post-lockdown.

The new industrial establishments in Gujarat will be exempted from all labour laws barring the Minimum Wages Act, Industry Safety Rules and Employees' Compensation Act.

These major reforms coming in the middle of a pandemic and a lockdown have drawn flak from a lot of critics.

The Centre, has, however, supported the structural reforms saying that it will spur economic growth and bring in more investments.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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