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    May 2016

More jobs, labour reforms: Just fallacies?

Editor-Post

At the recent Harvard University’s 2016 commencement, US President Barack Obama told the graduating students, “Passion is vital, but you’ve got to have a strategy.”
 
These words of wisdom are apt for the Modi Sarkar which completed its two years on May 26. Two years on, there is no doubt about the passion of the Prime Minister in bringing sweeping policy reforms. However, the efforts are not matching the ground reality. There is a wide gap between the euphoric sloganeering of creating more jobs, Make In India, Swachh Bharat, Digital India, etc and the Government’s appetite for actual reform.
 
Bureaucracy Today from its previous edition began an exercise to track and monitor the national institutions of governance and the actions of policy-makers and then analysed whether the big-ticket announcements of the NDA-II Government are actually being translated into reality. 
 
Under the magazine’s lens in this edition is the Union Labour and Employment Ministry. When the Modi Government came to power in 2014, it promised reforming the archaic labour laws as well as creating 10 million jobs a year. However, now the promises seem just fallacies. 
 
Our Cover Story analyses the contradictions in bringing in reforms in the labour and employment sector. 
 
While the Prime Minister’s proposed labour reforms are now entangled in a web of disagreement between the Government, industry and trade unions, his promise of creating 10 million jobs a year fell flat with the employment scenario remaining bleak as ever. 
 
A survey by the Labour Bureau shows that the target of new jobs in eight labour-intensive industries fell to a six-year low in 2015, with only 1.35 lakh jobs being created. The findings are alarming since almost one million new faces enter the job market every month.  
 
Now we come to discussing the labour reforms issue. According to a study done by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the All India Organisation of Employers, the Central Government’s “obsession with continuing an archaic labour policy” is keeping investors away and is hindering employment growth and making Indian enterprises “uncompetitive”. Again as per an International Labour Organisation report, 93 percent of India’s workforce does not enjoy the protection of 44 labour laws which are in existence in our country. Ironically as the Government proposed to bring reforms in these laws, trade unions, including the one affiliated to the ruling BJP, are up against the changes. The situation is quite confusing and this is definitely not the direction where India should be going.
 
India needs a much higher rate of economic growth and the creation of more jobs. This issue will determine the fate of the Modi Government in 2019 and it should now be the topmost priority of the Government. It should not forget the fact that generating employment in the country was a big issue in 2004 when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the Lok Sabha elections.  
However, as Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu once said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”. We hope that the Modi Government will rectify its shortcomings and fulfil the aspirations of voters. Youth are watching! 

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