ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ad-hocism in the Decisions to Modify Labour Laws

Ad-hocism in the Decisions to Modify Labour Laws

Beginning with Rajasthan, labour legislations are being modifi ed and it seems to have the blessings of the new dispensation at the centre. The Government of India too has announced its decision to amend important legislations and has called for public comments. But ad hoc changes as planned do little for the working class, while ensuring that employers do not attract the ire of the law. There seems to be little understanding of the historic background of labour legislations in India, and even less about what needs to be done to make them more effective.

The Vasundhara Raje-led government in Rajasthan has taken the lead in bringing about drastic changes to central labour laws. It has introduced far-reaching amendments to crucial labour legislations, which no state government has ever chosen to do. The history of Indian labour legislations shows that most of them were made due to strong demands by the working class from the Bengal, Bombay, and Madras presidencies. For a state that has very few industries to come up with such proposals shows that the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government wants to use Rajasthan as a potential laboratory for tinkering with labour laws before extending them on a national scale.

The state has made amendments to three central government labour legislations – the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947, Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act (CLRA), 1970, and the Factories Act, 1948 – in an attempt to liberate the corporate sector from the stringent requirements of the law.

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