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NEW DELHI : Giving a definite roadmap, the union government Wednesday said it will implement all the four labour codes by April 2021, and has now asked states to hasten the process, so that labour reforms can be implemented faster across the country.

Union labour secretary, Apurva Chandra said Wednesday that rule making process is in full swing and the labour ministry will finalize the labour code rules by 15 November. Rules are key part of an Act and are prepared after a bill is passed in the parliament and work as its implementation vehicle.

“We intend to implement all the four codes by April. We are finalizing the rules for all the four codes by 15 November. It’s a stiff deadline but we are for faster implementation of reforms approved by the parliament," said Chandra, who is the new labour secretary and will play a key role in implementing the labour reforms.

“We will upload all the rules of the codes and seek stake holders engagement for 45 days. Based on the feedback, final rules will be fine-tuned and all the four acts will be implemented," the labour secretary said.

He said the rule making is a lengthy process but efforts are on to do it as fast as possible and for the Industrial Relation (IR) Code, almost half of the work is done and the Wage Code work is progressing well. The other two codes are Social Security Code and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) code. While Wage Code was passed last year, the other three were approved by the parliament and has already got the presidential assent. Rules are executive work that add details to an Act and iron out issues that were not clear in the Act.

The three codes on - social security, industrial relations and occupational safety – once implemented will offer industries flexibility in doing business, hiring and firing, make industrial strikes difficult while promoting fixed term employment, reducing influence of trade unions and expanding social security net for informal sector workers.

Along with the Wage Code, passed in August 2019, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has now merged 29 central laws into four codes reducing compliance hassles, and streamlining laws - which have been the demands of industries for decades. Once implemented it will put in place a major reform that has been on the table for at least 17 years and improve the ease of doing business.

The ministry authorities on Wednesday said once implemented by April, the industries will have to file just one compliance return for all the four codes, as against the current practice of over 20 filings. Similarly, other compliance and inspection issues will also be reduced significantly.

Chandra said he has written to chief secretaries of all states and union territories few days back and have urged them to expedite the rule making process. “I have written to chief secretaries and if they can also finish their part of the rule making and consultation part then it can be implemented both at the central and state level together. States have an equal role and even more…for example in the IR code, while 57 rules will be readied by centre, an equal number of rules are to be finalized by states," the secretary said.

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