The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has lambasted the government think-tank Niti Aayog for “dictating things on labour issues in a unilateral way”, as if oblivious to the decades-old tripartite culture prevalent in the country. Formulated by BR Ambedkar, the tripartite mechanism has been working in the country for the last about 6-7 decades. The tripartite culture was responsible for all labour laws and reforms in the country. No other body can have any say on such things, but Niti Aayog is often violating that policy and is advocating labour law reforms without discussing with the trade unions, said Saji Narayanan, former national President, BMS.
“The Niti Aayog has put out a document on their website on labour laws advocating fixed-term employment. Fixed-term employment has not been discussed with the tripartite body. That is not congenial to our tripartite culture. The Niti Aayog is dictating things. They are unnecessarily poking noses,” he said.
Narayanan added that the Aayog should have done some intellectual exercise with the central trade unions and include their views while advocating such policies. All labour-related policies should be discussed at the tripartite forum like the Indian Labour Congress (ILC) which should formulate labour policies and not the Niti Aayog.
BMS, in the past, has even condemned the government for not doing much to generate permanent employment in the country. The government’s idea of introducing fixed-term employment was also severely criticised by the trade union as it does not see fixed-term employment ensuring job security.
The senior trade union leader also wants the government to recognise around 60 lakh anganwadi and asha volunteers, who have been working for 40 years, as honourary workers.“They are all along being considered as honourary workers. The government is talking of bringing them under the social security net, but nothing has been done. Most importantly, government has to recognise them as workers and give them proper salary. Tamil Nadu and Pondichery have already recognised them as government servants,” he said.
In its three-year draft action agenda, published recently, Niti Aayog suggested that fixed-term employment which was introduced into the textiles and apparel industry, may be extended to all sectors in order to incentivise entrepreneurs to accelerate the creation of regular salaried jobs.
“The change will encourage employers to rely on regular fixed-term employment instead of contract workers, especially when hiring workers for specific projects or for meeting seasonal demand,” it said.