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The draft norms promise appointment letter to all employees, safety committee, and travel allowances to a segment of migrants (Mint)
The draft norms promise appointment letter to all employees, safety committee, and travel allowances to a segment of migrants (Mint)

Govt draws up draft rules on occupational safety, health

Govt notifies draft rules of labour code on Occupational Safety and Health, concerns remain

New Delhi: The Union government on Friday notified the draft rules of the labour code on occupational safety and working condition, which promise an appointment letter to all employees, single registration and return filing for firms, a safety committee in big companies, and travel allowances to a segment of migrants, among other things.

The draft rules are, however, silent on the promised database of inter-state migrants and on why healthcare checkup provisions are restricted to workers above 45 years, among others

“The salient features of the draft rules include appointment letter in prescribed format including designation, category of skill, wages and avenue for achieving higher wages and higher position to every employee of an establishment within three months of the rules coming into force. No employee will be employed in any establishment unless he has been issued a letter of appointment," the labour ministry said.

The draft rule made a provision for “single electronic registration, licence and annual integrated return for an establishment", for ease of doing business and reducing labour registration and annual return filings. It also talked about a national licensing system for contract hiring.

The ministry asked stakeholders to give feedback in 45 days, following which the final rules will be firmed up. The draft rule said “safety committees have been made mandatory for every establishment employing 500 or more workers to provide an opportunity for the workers to represent their concern on occupational safety and health matters and rules have been provided for composition and functions of safety committees".

The Indian Staffing Federation welcomed the move and called it an “extreme effort for the country’s much required labour reform".

However, labour economists said some provisions are discriminatory, as the draft rules exclude those working in companies with less than 500 workers and, therefore, their safety will be ignored.

“The average size of Indian factories deploy less than 500 workers, and safety concerns are equally significant in them as well. Besides, the rule making provision for annual medical examination only for workers who are 45 years old and above will exclude a good proportion of workers in a factory and other establishments," said K.R. Shyam Sundar, a labour economist and professor at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

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