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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 14 February 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 14 February 2022


  1. A dipping graph in occupational safety and health
  2. QUAD: Group of Friends with No common enemy

A dipping graph in occupational safety and health


The CRUSHED Report released recently by Safe in India (SII) depicts a depressing picture related to occupational safety and health in the auto sector.


GS III: Government Policies & Interventions, Employment, Growth & Development, Industrial Growth, Inclusive Growth, Social Empowerment

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Present condition of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in India
  2. Statistical profile relating to industrial accidents in India
  3. Under-reporting of data
  4. Inadequacy of Inspections
  5. Rate of Inspection
  6. The Inspector-Raj
  7. What are the issues?
  8. Way Forward

Present condition of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in India:

  • Though Industrial accidents are more common, only major accidents— say in construction or in a hazardous industry are reported.
  • The recently released CRUSHED Report also highlights the concerns related to occupational safety in health sector.
  • Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is an existential human and labour right.
  • It is one of the key area that was not given due significance by the policy makers as well as the trade unions in India.

Statistical profile relating to industrial accidents in India:

  • Labour Bureau: Statistics concerning industrial accidents are produced by the Labour Bureau.
    • It compiles and publishes data on industrial injuries relating only to a few sectors, namely
      • Factories
      • Mines
      • Railways
      • Docks and Ports.
    • Sectors that are excluded by Labour Bureau include plantations, construction, the service sector, etc
    • Deficiencies in the data: The data it produces is not representative of the situation in India. Several major States default in the provision of data to the Labour Bureau.
      • The data reported by the states is volatile.
      • Thus, considering the fact of fluctuations in the incidence of injuries’, it can be concluded that that the reported figures for fatal injuries for all-India would be less by around 40%-50% and that for non-fatal injuries by at least 50%.

Under-reporting of data:

  • There are two primary requirements to ensure safe workplaces, namely
  • Strong monitoring (inspections) and
  • Comprehensive database to frame corrective actions and policies.
  • The data sent by the States to Labour Bureau is likely to suffer from under-reporting.
  • Fatal v/s non-Fatal injuries: Under-reporting of data is more common when it comes to non-fatal injuries than the fatal ones.
    • Example: The SSI’s data shows massive under-reporting of industrial injuries occurring in Haryana.
  • The under-reporting of industrial injuries, unlike for strikes and lockouts, is a far more serious issue and cause for grave concern.

Inadequacy of Inspections:

  • According to the Directorate General, Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI)’s 2020 report, the proportion of working in sanctioned posts for factory inspectors (employment rate) for India was 70.60%
    • But major States had poor employment rates of inspectors namely-
      • Maharashtra = 38.93%
      • Gujarat = 57.52%
      • Tamil Nadu = 58.33%
      • Bihar = 47.62%
    • Heavy workload of Inspectors: In 2019, there was an inspector for every 487 registered factories.
      • The inspector per 1,000 workers employed in factories is a meagre 0.04

Rate of Inspection:

  • The proportion of registered factories inspected for all-India declined from 36.23% during 2008-11 to 34.65% during 2012-2015 and further to 24.76%.
  • Performance of states:  The performance of major states during 2008-2019 is given below:
    • The state of Tamil Nadu had higher inspection rate at 63%-66%,
    • Gujarat had lower rates at 26%-30%.
    • Haryana the lowest at 11.09%
    • The rate of inspection saw a decline in all the above states
  • Over a period of 12 years, the inspection rates declines in almost all the states.
  • The factory inspectorates were inadequately equipped and it is the main reason attributed to the above figures.

The Inspector-Raj:

  • Inspectors Discretion: Practically it is impossible for Inspectors to inspect every factory.
    • Hence they their “discretion” to target the “easy” factories to demand compromising payments.
    • These include powerful industry groups which have successfully lobbied against the inspection system.
  • Conviction rates: For all India, the conviction rates (percentage of convictions in total cases decided) for 2015-2019 stood at 61.39% and the average fine per conviction was ₹12,231.
    • The number of cases pending at the beginning of the year plus those raised during the year is a poor 15.74% during 2015-19.

What are the issues?

  • Two major issues are pertinent to legal and labour policy aspects.
    • Liberalization: Mindless liberalisation of the inspection system as has been effected during the last 20 years will not promote sound labour market governance.
    • Simplification of the process: Simplifying the annual returns and self-certification systems weakens the already poorly placed labour statistical system regarding all variables — especially industrial injuries.
  • Violation of International conventions:
    • India has ratified the following conventions:
      • International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions,
      • the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (C081) and
      • Labour Statistics Convention, 1985 (C160)

Way Forward:

  • The Government in its progress towards framing the Vision@2047 document for the Labour Ministry should review the following aspects:
    • The labour codes, especially the OSH Code
    • The inspection and
    • The labour statistical systems
  • This comprehensive review can bring in significant progress in the future.

-Source: The Hindu

QUAD: Group of Friends With No Common Enemy


The Quad foreign ministers’ meet recently held  in Melbourne showcased its “positive agenda” in the Indo-Pacific region.  


GS II: Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)
  2. Significance of Quad
  3. What are the differences?
  4. Way Forward

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad):

  • The Quad, is a strategic security dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia.
  • The recent meeting of foreign ministers set the stage for a meeting by the leaders of Quad members later this year in Tokyo.
  • The Joint Statement issued by the members emphasised focus on the following ‘areas’:
    • Combat Covid-19 pandemic: It sets a target to deliver more than a billion vaccine doses and donate another 1.3 billion doses around the world.
    • Focus Climate Change: It aims to prepare for an Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum to tackle climate change.
    • Technology Boost: It aims to further a “Quad vision” for technology governances and safe and transparent 5G systems.
    • Disaster Response: It aims to launch humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations
    • India also made its effort to insert a reference to fighting “cross-border” terrorism.
Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 14 February 2022

Significance of Quad:

  • The recent meeting signifies the growing level of comfort with the principles behind the grouping of democratic countries.
  • The grouping emphasised on continued support to regional countries’ efforts to advance a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
  • One of the significant features of the grouping is that the Quad members have avoided institutionalising their grouping, and that they have not “militarised” it.
  • The Joint Statement also ensured a rules-based order and respect for sovereignty and building a region “free from coercion”.
    • This was evident when the Quad members chose not to name China directly despite Beijing’s sharp criticism of the grouping.

What are the differences?

  • Though the grouping showcased its strength in all the above precepts, there are obvious differences in the practice of their vision for the Indo-Pacific region and the world in general.
  • Political Situation in Myanmar: India made it clear that while India supports a restoration of democracy, it does not support western “national” sanctions.
  • Russia-Ukraine Tensions: Indiadid not share the assessment made by  U.S. Secretary of State about an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    • India did not ask its citizens in Ukraine to evacuate immediately as done by the U.S., Japan and Australia.

Way Forward:

  • Though the Quad partners seem to have similar concerns and share many core values, they do not have an identical world view.
  • It is largely seen as a grouping that is “for something, not against somebody”.

-Source: The Hindu


December 2023