A POLITICAL DECISION:- SUSPENSION OF LABOUR LAWS (PART 2)

Labour laws are very much important for the proper working of labourers in factories, industries and in other areas. But the political move of the BJP government to make India’s economy stable which was diminishing due to global pandemic makes the life of labourers worse[1]. In this research paper we will find why the government find it necessary to make this political move and violates the rights of the workers and it mainly affect the migrant workers. The sayings of ILO ( International Labour Organization) on this matter will also be answered in this  paper. This political move of the government not only affect workers, but it also create a havoc in politics as every party questioned this move of the government.

The infectious COVID-19 triggered a worldwide epidemic throughout the world. It has spread across 170 nations, including India, and continues to influence millions and to grow at a stunning pace. In order to stop the outbreak, the central government. It had to incorporate a strict lockdown in the country for almost 58 days, which prohibited the protest, closed all public places and ordered all factories, industries and other sources of jobs to be shut down. But as a result of the lockdown, the economic growth rate has indeed been massively ruined, as well as the lives and families of the poor and labour have been affected, because there was no source of revenue, but the government. Proper steps have been taken to support the disadvantaged & the workers. “Laws were being revised & suspended with such a goal to incentivizing commercial and manufacturing activities in the state as the extreme lockdown has created more human misery than COVID-19″[2].

India’s states have announced a host of amendments to labour regulations, TV channels and newspapers talking about big “reforms” in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, and about chief ministers “stopping the pump” and “blowing the path for the rest of India to follow”. On the basis of the 1991 example, the word “reforms” seems to invoke memories of repealing the draconian License Permit Raj and changes to the law that enable private business to prosper. The English-language media typically depict such improvements as undisputedly favourable to the Indians. But would you really use the term “reforms” to characterise the actions of Uttar Pradesh under “Chief Minister Adityanath?”

To draw investment, Adityanath [3]is giving companies and factories a three-year regulatory vacation in his province. “The Purge: Labour[4], if you want to”. As anticipated, this has enriched people who feel that labour laws are the biggest obstacle to Indian industry[5]. Meanwhile, those who pay heed to the real workplace conditions are appalled. This “turns the clock back 100 years,” one of them said. And “BMS, the labour arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent body of the ruling BJP, opposed the decisions”. They’re a “massive pandemic,” the Sangh said. India has undergone the greatest decline in factory productivity in the last 52 years.

There seems to be a desperate need to boost economic and industrial development, or else we will soon experience a situation of financial emergency. What would these shifts in labour legislation mean to the middle class? We believe that we are witnessing a new paradigm for India’s growth agenda. The turmoil of COVID-19 is now being significantly used that as an attempt to enhance the power of capital over labour. “We have covered this deregulation of capital, re-regulation of labour in detail elsewhere “. In the past, too, measures have been rendered in the name of the needy, but they are not. Most of the wealthy gained. While previous ruling regimes diluted labour regulations and encouraged cooperative control, this government claims that it has a mandate to do so in advance. The country and national ambitions have been redefined. Many that reject it are “outdated,” not deserving of respect, and also “anti-national”. The essential philosophy which has been developed is that, if a proposal is advantageous to the general population, the inconvenience to a smaller group of individuals must be acknowledged.

But working class is not a smaller group and because of this working class the whole economy is growing. It must be respected as a proposal of law that the private interest, or, in that case, the weaker public interest, must surrender to the wider public interest. Then, it’s a big NO.  Disruption of others should be bypassed for the sake of the broader good or cause of civilization[6]. The suspension of labour legislation is meant to promote commercial and manufacturing practises in the interests of the general population. ‘Interest of the general population’ is a comprehensive term designed to promote social and economic justice for the public through the State[7]. It has been questioned that these suspension infringes the “human right to livelihood, equality, equal pay and immunity from exploitation”. In the wake of such a worldwide pandemic, the government’s prime priority is to protect the lives of its people. In essence, the other basic rights are the right to live. As far as the allegations are concerned, the government has not extinguished the livelihoods of workers, as they do have the right to equal wages, as laid down in “Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act[8], which is not suspended. Section 5 of the Factories Act, 1945 specifies that, in the case of a national emergency such as this, the State Government may exclude any or more of the provisions of the Act, except Section 67″.  Yes, It is true that government did not suspend all the laws, but that’s because they cannot be suspended and the political move which government played to save their reputation backfired.

As the Government shapes its agenda, it is focused on a variety of facts, including limits on the basis of its finances and resources[9]. The Executive shall have specialists, practitioners, managers, contractors, etc. in a given sector and shall have the knowledge to make policies after taking into account all facets of the matter. Whether or not a statute conferring discretion on an administrative authority is legally legitimate should not be decided on the premise that such authority will behave unlawfully in the exercise of its discretion. With reading this statement we cannot say government did not know what are they doing? and why they are doing it? Because when government makes a policy, it is not needed that it will benefit the whole society. It may affect some and good for other. But this policy is not good for anyone beside the government.

In this disease outbreak, the working class experienced a huge loss in order to manage the crisis, in order to make it worse, the limitation on the working of factories and industry must be lifted, so that there would be some relief for the workforce and even a recovery of the economy of the world. Suspension of few labour laws provides an incentive to improve the economy and even the middle class. As a result, fair and just steps would be taken by the Government, and also by the Government.  After this change this question will always arise that “Can economic crises justify an impact on workers’ rights?” In plain words, no, no. Indeed, the guidance of eminent Indian (and global) economists to deal with this economic downturn makes no note of such punitive steps of suspension of labour rights.

Economists across the continuum of ideology have stressed the need to defend the socio-economic groups who would be hardest hit by the lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis. In the capitalist sprint of economic prosperity, the interests of employers and workers have always been short-changed. However, before that time, there was space for dissension and agitation, and many protections for workers were gained by collective organisation and resistance. The revocation of fundamental rights, egregious and illegal in itself, but particularly in the absence of usual types of dissension and legal redress, it’s normal. Many who endured poverty, deprivation, unemployment, embarrassment, indignity and death mostly during shutdown are already held accountable for their precarious life. They are advised that the effort by the state to “over-protect” them has made them more fragile in the past. The effect of this rationality is grotesque.

Since the workers are responsible for their precariousness, so that they will have to bear the cost not just of lock-down but also of restoring the economy, they will have to make a living. As argued before, the suspension of labour legislation makes little sense either. For the gain of labour, or for the benefit of savings. In reality, it does not even help to promote growth. This comes at a time when a substantial part of the population has already lost their wages due to the lockdown and is collecting money to support themselves. “A new report by the Centre for Sustainable Jobs (2020), Azim Premji University found that two-thirds of its survey respondents registered work losses during the lockdown”[10].

 As Certainly, here more questions are raised than answered. “Are we pinning this down to apathy? Or with incompetence? Or the absence of information?” Any of these suggestions would be beneficial to the revelation that this negative attitude is very deliberate and it has a cold logic behind it. The latter, however, brought major questions about the process where the wealthy elite sees the logic of accumulation to which it desires to continue and the role that labour does have to perform  and about to what extent.

The decision is unconstitutional, and also a dirty political move, which government used only for reducing the pressure the have been receiving due to COVID-19 situation. This move also impact the politics, as everything was in chaos because of this move. This move only create confusion among the society and gave a clear view to the people, that government is making some very bad policies in this pandemic, which not only affecting labour class, but the whole society and this move of government to redeem themselves, only backfired.


[1] “Kamini Vidisha, The Covid-19’s impact on start-ups: Make use of the opportunity the corona virus  has provided,  13.04.2020,  The  Financial  Express,https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/the-covid-19s-impact-on-start-ups-make-useof-the-opportunity-the-coronavirus-has-provided/1926446/, (last accessed on 9.08.2020)”.

[2] Centre For Monitoring Westeros Economy < https://www.cmie.com/&gt; accessed 8 Nov 2020

[3]https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/covid-19-yogi-adityanath-attempts-reforms-delivers-regulatory-chaos-in-up-2613781.html(last accessed on 8 Nov, 2020)”.

[4]https://scroll.in/article/961585/the-political-fix-why-are-indian-states-junking-labour-laws-in-the-middle-of-the-covid-19-crisis&#8221;.

[5] https://scroll.in/article/675644/hiring-and-firing-workers-was-never-difficult-in-rajasthan-data-shows

[6] “G. Sundarrajan v. Union of India, 2013 (6) SCC 620″.

[7] Court on its own motion v. Union of India, 2012 (12) SCALE 307.

[8] The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, § 5.

[9] State of Punjab & Ors. v. Ram Lubhaya Bagga & Ors., (1998) 4 SCC 117.

[10] Supra note. 3.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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