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This article is written by Sunil Kumar Yadav, a student of CNLU.

Background

The much talked about The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was introduced into Rajya Sabha and the house passed the bill on 25th November and after the quick discussion in the Lok Sabha it was passed on 28th November 2014 by the Lok Sabha with the certain demanded amendments in the bill. The amendment was made to reduce compliance related to labour laws for small companies.

Major changes in the Bill

  1. The major point of the Amendments of the bill has been in introducing new definition to small establishment, increasing the ambit of small establishment. Earlier according to the definition small establishment were those which employed 10 to 19  workers but now the number of workers for small establishment has been extended to 40 workers. After this amendment more medium and large establishment will come under small establishment and they will all be exempted from filing the returns and maintaining registers.
  1. Another major point in the amendment is that now the establishment who need to furnish their returns and to maintain register. The facility has been provided to them that they can file their returns with electronic media like giving details of employee and returns in floppy, disk or now they can even e-mail their report to the department or they can provide the concern department with print out of the documents when demanded by the inspection officers.
  1. The coverage of the principal Act has been expanded from nine schedule Act to sixteen schedule Acts, the seven new act which has been added to increase the ambit are
  • The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961(27 of 1961
  • The Payment of Bonus Act 1965(21 of 1965)
  • The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditional Employment) Act 1966 (32 of 1966),
  • The Inter-State migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Regulation of Service) Act, 1979 (30 of 1979)
  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act 1986(54 of 1986)
  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 (61 of 1986)
  • The Building and Other Construction Work (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service)  1996 (27 of 1996).
  1.  And the date of submission of the reports has been changed from 31st January to 31st March.
  2. The second schedule was amended and by this amendment the forms are simplified, so that the details of the workers can be easily filled in a synchronize manner. To make it more convenient the forms for the small establishment has been put in annexure B, C, and D and for the very small establishment the form E has been prescribed.

 These are the major clauses which had been dealt by this amendment and      government had tried to simplify the rules in for the small establishment which will at least give some relief from the official documentation.

Conclusion

Based on Economic census of Central Statistical Organisation there were around 418.27 lakhs such small establishment, comparing with the present scenario there will be much more establishment that they were in 2005. So the government don’t have any idea that how many such establishment are there nor they are aware that these establishment are regularly submitting their returns or not. In the given situation when there is no provision for the penal provision the amendment done can be highly detrimental for the government. And by increasing the number of employee most of the establishment will be exempted from furnishing return and maintaining register.

The new bill has made filing of returns through electronic media possible. This is expected to reduce maintenance of separate physical register and the documentation of the government. As the inspecting officials earlier used to create a lot of problems for the small establishment, due to which many establishment closed down. Now after amendment of the Act, the unwanted hurdles for small industries had been wiped out by the amendment.

There is another major problem which the government has fail to consider that is that there is shortage of man power for regular monitoring of implementation of laws, which generally occurs in every law implementation procedure but in this there are not even adequate and efficient human resource that is required to strengthening of enforcement machinery.

After the amendment there is an urgent need to fill in these issues from the government so that the objective of making the law will be fulfilled.

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