A working group of the Planning Commission for the 12th Five-Year Plan has called for a complete review of the strength of the enforcement machinery for labour laws.
It has said the ratio of enforcement officers to industrial establishments is very low, even as the number of Acts, establishments and workers have increased manifold over the years.
It has proposed creation of an all-India service for labour administration, to provide professional experts in the field of labour administration, autonomous bodies and labour adjudications.
It said strengthening of the enforcement machinery by way of increasing the manpower and improving the infrastructure is essential for effective implementation.
It also called for institutional mechanisms to upgrade skills, induct greater professionalism, introduce performance assessment parameters and well-defined incentives and disincentives for officers dealing with enforcement of these laws.
It wants creation of a database on all aspects relating to industrial relations and said officers of the labour departments should have access to such a database. In addition to codification and simplification of labour laws, it also suggested creation of an online single-window system for making compliance user-friendly, simple and transparent.
The report is silent on how the gap in coverage of contract workers by the enforcement system could be tackled but it has called for fast-tracking amendments in the Minimum Wages Act, Contract Labour Act and the Factories Act during the 12th Plan.
These amendments, proposed by the Union labour ministry, would ensure a national minimum wage for every worker, besides payment of wages in the worker’s bank account and parity of wages for contract workers and regular workers.
The ministry has proposed a single statutory National Floor Level Minimum Wage for the entire nation, in an amendment to the Minimum Wages Act.
The wage in the proposed amendment includes basic pay, dearness allowance and house rent allowance.
It would not allow employers to split the salary into different heads and would force them to pay provident fund on the full wage announced by the government.
D L Sachdeva, secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, said the shortage of personnel has been raised by unions for a long time. While officials retire, they are not being replaced, he said.