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Boosting the Women Workforce

Context

  • India’s Prime Minister stated during the two-day National Labour Conference (in Tirupati) that India must prepare for future labour needs by providing flexible workplaces with flexi work hours and developing a work-from-home ecosystem, particularly to increase women’s participation in the workforce.
  • The Conference aims to address a variety of issues concerning the implementation of labour codes, discussions on migrant workers’ data, and the workforce’s Vision-2047.

Relevance

GS 1: Social Empowerment

Mains Question

The ability of women to participate in the labour force is the result of a complex interaction of economic and social factors. Examine. (250 words)


ILC (Indian/National Labour Conference)

  • It is the highest level tripartite (government, employers, and workers) consultative committee in the Ministry of Labour & Employment, advising the government on issues affecting the country’s working class.
  • The Indian Labour Conference (then known as the Tripartite National Labour Conference) held its first meeting in 1942. The most recent meeting was in 2014-15.
  • Such a conference is required because India has a legal obligation, as the Indian Parliament has ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention (144) on strengthening the tripartite mechanism.

2022 National Labour Conference:

  • The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment is hosting a two-day conference in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Conference is being held in the spirit of cooperative federalism to discuss a number of important labor-related issues.
  • There will be four thematic sessions at the Conference on –
    • Integrating an e-Shram portal for social security scheme onboarding in order to universalize social protection;
    • Swasthya se Samriddhi for improving medical care through state-run ESI hospitals and integration with the PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY);
    • Development of rules and modalities for their implementation under four Labour Codes;
    • Shramev Jayate 2047, with a focus on just and equitable working conditions, social protection for all workers, including gig and platform workers, gender equality at work, and so on.

The Four Labor Laws:

  • The Indian Parliament passed four labour codes:
    • the 2020 Industrial Relations Code;
  • To consolidate and amend the laws governing trade unions, working conditions in industrial establishments, and the investigation and resolution of industrial disputes.
    • the 2020 Social Security Code;
  • To amend and consolidate social security laws in order to provide social security to all employees and workers.
    • the 2020 Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code
  • To consolidate and amend the laws governing occupational safety and health, as well as working conditions for those employed in a business.
  • It supersedes 13 previous central labour laws.
    • The 2020 Wage Code.
  • To simplify existing labour laws dealing with wage payment, overtime, bonuses, minimum wages, and so on.
  • Because labour is a concurrent subject, states must frame their rules first, and only then can the codes be fully implemented.
  • These codes aim to streamline and simplify the country’s existing and overlapping labour laws (by combining 29 pre-existing labour laws into 4)
  • The Government of India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment had previously planned to implement the four labour codes on April 1, 2021.

Their implementation status

  • As the government lays the groundwork for the four new labour laws, there are hints of a phased implementation, beginning with the introduction of two codes – The Wage Code and The Social Security Code.
  • These will almost certainly be followed by the other two – the Industrial Relations Code and the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code – later.

Ecology centred on women

  • The future will necessitate flexible workspaces, a work-from-home culture, and flexi work hours. These policies have the potential to increase women’s participation in the labour force.
  • The Indian labour force, particularly women workers, will assist India in achieving its labor-sector goals under ‘Vision 2047.’
  • India lagged behind in capitalising on the first, second, and third Industrial Revolutions, but it was now time for the country to capitalise on the ongoing fourth Industrial Revolution in the digital sphere with the right policies and efforts.
  • The Centre has taken steps to repeal slavery-era laws that reflect slavery’s mentality.
  • The country is now changing, reforming, and simplifying such labour laws, which has justified the decision to reduce 29 labour laws to four simple labour codes

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October 2022
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