Nod For Changes In Labour Laws For SEZs

New Delhi, Nov 6: | Updated: Nov 7 2003, 05:30am hrs
The government has initiated the process of change in labour laws by approving simplification of procedures under the laws for special economic zones (SEZs).

This would facilitate job-creation on a fixed-term basis without compromising on social security, labour minister Sahib Singh Verma said here on Thursday. He said this while inaugurating the two-day 23rd national employee relations conference, Balancing Employment Equity with Corporate Efficiency, organised by the Standing Conference on Public Enterprises (SCOPE) in association with the International Labour Organisation under the aegis of Council of Indian Employers.

The changes intended in SEZs include exemptions from payment of statutory dues such as contribution to the employees provident fund and employees state insurance for a five-year period, Mr Singh said, adding that the exemptions have already come into effect from Wednesday and Gujarat has become the first state to implement them.

State governments are the drivers in developing SEZs with a view to increase exports. He said, The move would help domestic industry in a big way by way of increased production and greater employment opportunities.

Several states had petitioned the Centre seeking relaxation in labour norms for setting up these zones. Among the major units expected to gain from the move include the Positra SEZ, promoted by Sea King Infrastructure in Gujarat.

The government has taken an in-principle decision to allow fixed term labour contracts. The amendment to the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, was also ready, the minister added.

Earlier, SCOPE director general SM Dewan said along with the transfer of technology, the movement of labour should also take place. Corporates were increasingly becoming aware of their social responsibility and balancing stress at work-place, he added.

Essar chairman Shashi Ruia said India was trying to become an economic power of the world, but the basic issue was to balance employment equity with corporate efficiency.