Stressing on the need for flexible workspaces and flexible work hours, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said such systems could provide opportunities for female labourforce participation. There is a need to think in the “direction of what can be done for women in the newly emerging sectors in the country”, he added.
Modi, while giving a virtual address at the two-day National Labour Conference of the labour ministers and secretaries of all states/UTs and the Centre being held at Tirupati, also urged states to make use of the unutilised cess amount of Rs 38,000 crore for building and construction workers. “I have been told that out of this cess, about Rs 38,000 crore has still not been utilised by the states,” he said.
Reiterating the need for increasing female labourforce participation, he said, “Future needs — flexible work places, work from home ecosystem. Future needs — flexi work hours. We can use systems like flexible work places as opportunities for women labour force participation. On 15th August, from the Red Fort, I called for full participation of the nation’s women power. By making the right use of women power, India can achieve its goals faster. We also have to think in this direction, what we can do for women in the newly emerging sectors in the country.”
On the proposed four labour codes, the Prime Minister said in the last eight years his government has taken the initiative to abolish various laws dating back to the colonial era, which also reflected the ‘slave mentality’.
“The country is now changing, reforming, simplifying such labour laws…with this in mind, 29 labour laws have been converted into 4 simple labour codes,” he said, adding that this will ensure empowerment of workers via minimum wages, job security, social security, and health security.
The National Labour Conference will discuss a range of issues on the rollout of the labour codes, including a possibility of staggered implementation of the codes along with discussions on migrant workers’ data and Vision-2047 for workforce.
Driving factors for women
Setting up work-from-home ecosystems, providing flexible working hours and flexible workplaces were the factors which the Prime Minister said would draw more women into the country’s workforce by creating wider opportunities for them.
The Code on Wages and The Code on Social Security are expected to be implemented first and the other two industry-related labour codes, The Industrial Relations Code and The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, may come in later.
In his address, Modi stressed on the need for taking quick decisions and implementing them at a brisk pace, so as to take advantage of the ongoing fourth Industrial Revolution. “India lagged behind in deriving benefits of the first three Industrial Revolutions but we need to change in tune with the changes in the nature of jobs.”
The Prime Minister said India’s success in the 21st century depended on making good use of its demographic dividend. “We can take advantage of global opportunities by creating a high-quality skilled workforce,” he further said.
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Modi said India was signing migration and mobility partnership agreements with many nations and asked states to take advantage of these opportunities. “We have to increase our efforts, learn from each other,” he added.
The Prime Minister also said the e-Shram portal was one of the key initiatives aimed at bringing the workforce, particularly the unorganised sector, into the ambit of social security.
In the one year since its launch, about 28 crore workers from nearly 400 fields have been registered on the portal, he said, asking all states to integrate their respective portals with e-Shram.