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Bill on farm workers to be tabled in Parliament

Staff Reporter


‘All efforts will be made for smooth passage of Bills’

Labour force in the country put at

49 crore


— Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Distinguished guest: Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes being greeted by National Centre for Labour secretary N.P. Samy (left) at the valedictory function of the NCL’s three-day national consultation on ‘Protective legislation and organising the unorganised labour in India,’ in Bangalore on Sunday. With them are recipient of Right Livelihood Award Ruth Manorama (right) and Blossom Fernandes.

Bangalore: Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes has said the Centre is set to table two Bills pertaining to agricultural workers and those non-farm workers in the unorganised sector in the coming Parliament session.

He was delivering the valedictory address at the three-day national consultation on “Protective legislation and organising the unorganised labour in India,” organised by the National Centre for Labour (NCL) here on Sunday.

Mr. Fernandes pointed out that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government would make all efforts to ensure the smooth passage of the Bills.

Schemes

Programmes such as Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, rural health, SHGs and various housing schemes, and the Construction Workers’ Bill were aimed at helping the unorganised sector.

“Of them, the midday meal is the greatest contribution of the Centre,” the Minister claimed.

Responding to the four-page memorandum NCL submitted to him, the Minister said it was impossible to fulfil all the demands in one go.

In the larger interest of ensuring minimum social security, the Government would consider schemes such as death and accident relief funds, pension, and fixed minimum wages without gender bias.

Trade union rights

Referring to the question of giving trade union rights to the unorganised sector, Mr. Fernandes said the Government was not hesitant for a dialogue though the process of recognising trade unions was in progress. Secretary (Coordination) of NCL, N.P. Samy said of the estimated 49-crore labour force in the country, 39.4 crore were in the unorganised sector.

The unorganised sector was directly responsible for 65 per cent of the national revenue, he claimed.

Plea to Centre

General secretary of NCL, Ruth Manorama, urged the Centre to exercise its will in ensuring respectable minimum wages and recognise the poor people’s right to a decent life and living conditions.

If the Government failed to respond to the needs of the unorganised sector, over 10 lakh labourers in the sector would embark on a ‘Delhi chalo’ programme, Ms. Ruth Manorama said.

The retired bureaucrat R.K.A. Subramanya, Ms. Ruth Manorama, I. Sharath Babu, and Pravin Sinha were felicitated on the occasion.

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