One of the major concerns of the Government has been the improvement of labour welfare and safety with increasing produc­tivity and provision of a reasonable level of social security.

1. Introduction

One of the major concerns of the Government has been the improvement of labour welfare with increasing produc­tivity and provision of a reasonable level of social security.

The situation of surplus labour, coupled with employment of most of the workers in the unorganized segments of the economy, has given rise to unhealthy social practises like bonded labour, child labour and adverse working conditions faced by the migrant labour. Within the available resources, a limited effort at handling these problems has not been feasible.

2. Minimum Wage Act

The wages of the workers in the unorganized sector of employment are primarily fixed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Under the Act both Central and State Governments are appropriate governments for fixation/ revision of minimum rates of wages in respect of the scheduled employments falling under their respective ju­risdiction.

3. Payments of Wagers Act, 1936

This Act was enacted to regulate the payment of wages to certain classes of person (whose monthly wage is below Rs. 1600) employed in industry with the object to provide for a speedy and effective remedy to the employees arising out of illegal deductions or unjustified delay made in paying the wages to them.

4. Wage Board for Newspaper Employees

The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Em­ployees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provi­sions Act, 1955 regulates conditions of service of working journalists and other persons employed in newspaper establishments.

5. Contract Labour (regulation and Abolition Act, 1970, and bonus Act, 1965

This Act was enacted to regulate the employment of contract labour in certain establishments and for matters connected therewith. The Act provides for the Constitution of Central and State Advisory Boards to advise the concerned governments on matters arising out of the admin­istration of the Act. This Act provides for payment of bonus to employees as defined under the Act.

Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

This act envisages release of all bonded labourers, liquidation of their debts and their rehabilitation. Under this Act, identification and release of bonded labourers and rehabilitation of freed bonded labourers is the direct responsibility of the State Government concerned.

6. Industrial Relations

Trade Union Act, 1926


This Act provides for registration of trade unions. Any seven or more workers may, by subscribing their names to the rules of a trade union and otherwise complying with the provisions of the Act with respect to registration, apply for registration of the trade union under the Act.

Code of Discipline

The Code of Discipline was evolved at the Indian Labour Conference in 1958 requiring employers and work­ers to utilize the existing machinery for the settlement of disputes.


Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

The layoffs, retrenchments and closures are regulated under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Government has taken steps to further regulate lay offs, retrenchments and closures through the Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Acts of 1982 and 1984.

7. Social Security

Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923

This Act provides for payment of compensation to workmen and their dependents in case of injury and accident (including certain occupational disease) arising out of and in the course of employment and resulting in disablement or death.


Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

It regulates employment of women in certain establish­ments for a certain period before and after childbirth and provides for maternity and other benefits. The Act applies to mines, factories, circus, industry, plantation, shops and establishments employing ten or more persons, except employees covered under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

It is applicable to factories, mines, oil fields, planta­tions, ports, railways, motor transport undertakings, com­panies, shops and other establishments. The Act provides for the payment of gratuity at the rate of 15 days’ wages for each completed year of service subject to a maximum of Rs. 3,50,000.


Employees State Insurance Act

This Act is applicable in the first instance to non- seasonal factories using power and employing 10 or more persons and non-power using factories employing 20 or more persons. It covers employees drawing wages not exceeding Rs. 6,500 with effect from 1 January 1997.

Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

Under this Act, retirement benefits in the form of provident fund, family pension and deposit linked insurance are available to employees.


Employees’ Deposit Insurance Scheme, 1976

It was introduced for members of the Employees’ Provident Fund and exempted provident funds with effect from 1 August, 1976.

Employees Pension Scheme, 1995

Under this scheme pension at the rate of 50% pay is payable to the employees on retirement/superannuation on completion of 33 years’ contributory service. A minimum of 10 years’ service is required for entitlement to pension.

Emigration Act, 1983

This Act regulates immigration of citizens of India for employment in other countries on contractual basis and seeks to safeguard the interest of such workers. Under the provisions of the Act, an employer can recruit any citizen of India for employment in any country or place outside India either through Recruiting Agent competent under the Act to make such recruitment or directly in accordance with a valid permit issued by the Central Government under the Act.

8. Vocational Training

Industrial Training Institutes were set up all over the country to impart skills’ in 42 engineering and 18 non- engineering trades to young men and women in the age group of 15-25 years.

Advanced Training Institutes (ATls) at Howrah, Mumbai, Kanpur, Ludhiana, and Hyderabad and the Central Training Institute for instructors at Chennai, were established in 1960s to train instructor trainees in the techniques of imparting skills, who in turn train and make available skilled manpower for industry.

Advanced Vocational Training Scheme (AVTS) was launched in October 1977 for training of highly skilled workers and technicians in a variety of advanced and sophisticated skills not available for other vocational train­ing programmes.

9. Womens’ Vocatonal Training Programme

In 1996, National Council for Vocational Training recommended that in general ITIs, up to 25 per cent of the sanctioned seats might be reserved for women candidates.

Under the vocational training programme managed directly by the Ministry of Labour DGE&T, a National Vocational Training Institute at Noida as an apex centre and ten Regional Vocational Training Institutes at Mumbai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Calcutta, Hissar, Tura, Allahabad, Indore, Vadodara and Jaipur have been set up with an intake capacity of .one thousand nine hundred and twenty in basic, advanced and instructional skills.

Central Instructional Media Institute (CIMI) which was granted autonomy from 1 April, 1999, has been set up in Chennai to make available instructional materials in the form of Media Packages (MPs) for the use of trainers and trainees in the ITIs and apprentices under the Apprentice­ship Training Scheme.

The Apprentices Act, 1961, makes it mandatory for employers in specified industries to engage apprentices for undergoing Apprenticeship Training, which varies from one year to four years.

10. Working Conditions and Welfare

To provide housing, medical, recreational, educational family welfare and other welfare facilities, welfare funds have been created like:

(a) Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946

(b) Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1972

(c) Iron Ore Mines, Manganese Ore Mines and Chrome Ore Mines, Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1976.

(d) Beedi Workers’ Welfare Fund Act, 1976

(e) Cine-Workers’ Welfare Fund Act, 1981.

11. National Employment Services

It has a network of nine hundred and forty five employment exchanges/University Employment Informa­tion and Guidance Bureaux (UEIGBX) at the end of February 1999. It assists all employment seekers through placement against job notified by employers.

Under the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Noti­fication of Vacancies) Act, 1959, it is obligatory for all establishments in the public sector and such of those non- agricultural establishments in the private sector which employ twenty five or more workers to notify their vacan­cies (with certain exemptions), to employment exchanges and supply periodic information as prescribed in the Act and in the rules thereunder. There are thirty seven special exchanges for the physically handicapped.

12. Workers’ Safety

The Factories Act 1948 is the principal legislation for regulating various aspects relating to safety, health and welfare of workers employed in factories. This Act is a Central enactment which aims at protecting workers employed in factories from industrial and occupational hazards. The Directorate General, Factory Advice Service and Labour Institute (DGFASLI), Mumbai, an attached office of the Ministry of Labour, renders technical advice to the States/UTs in regard to administration and enforce­ment of the Factories Act.

Provisions relating to safety, health and welfare of workers employed in docks are contained in the Dock Workers (Safety, Health, and Welfare) Act, 1986 and rules and regulations framed thereunder. The Act came into force on 15 April, 1987.

The National Safety Council was set up in 1966 to promote safety consciousness workers to prevent accidents,minimise dangers and mitigate human sufferings. National Safety Day is celebrated on 4 March, every year to mark the foundation day of the National Safety Council.

Prime Minister’s Shram Awards (Shram Ratna Rs. 2 lakh, Shram Bhushan Rs. 1 lakh, Sharm Vir Rs. 60,000 and Shram Shri/Devi Rs. 40000) are given to workmen of the departmental undertakings and the public sector un­dertakings of the Central Government and State Govern­ments in recognition of their outstanding contribution to production and for showing exemplary zeal in the discharge of their duties.

Shram Vir awards which are now known as Vishwakarma Puruskar were instituted in 1965.

The Government instituted in 1965 the National Safety Awards. The National Safety Awards for mines were instituted in 1983, under the purview of the Mines Act, 1952.

13. Five-Year Plan and Labour Welfare

Five-Year Plan will aim at reducing the number of laws which determine relations between workers and employers, with the objective that a much smaller number of laws can reach the entire work force.

Second National Commission on Labour

The First National Commission on Labour was consti­tuted on 24th December 1966 and it submitted its report on August 1969. Different far-reaching changes have taken place. The reform measures of 1991 have brought about radical transformations in the domestic industrial scenario and the labour market.

Accordingly, the Government de­cided to set up the Second National Commission on Labour on 24th December 1998, for suggesting appropriate changes in labour legislation/policy. The resolution for setting up the Commission was issued on 15th October, 1999.

The Second- National Commission is headed by Chairman and two full- time Members, including Member Secretary. There are seven part time Members representing trade unions, indus­try, women-expert etc. The Commission is required to give its final report within twenty four months from the date of its constitution.