TU leaders argue for 're-drafting' Unorganised Workers' Bill

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) Ahead of the Parliamentary Standing Committee's meeting to discuss the Unorganised Workers Bill 2007, the central Trade unions today said the legislation is"totally unacceptable" to them, and sought "re-drafting" of the Bill to include guarantees of legal right and funds by the Centre.

The present Bill is worse than the one introduced by the previous NDA regime, said the top leaders of the TUs who have been invited by the parliamentary Panel to discuss the subject tomorow.

The Parliamentary Panel will also hold discussions with the entrepreneurs on October 25. The Committee has already held deliberations with the government officials, Committee Chairman S Sudhakar Reddy said.

CITU President and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe said the government should withdraw the present Bill and instead introduce the new one based on the recommendations of the Arjun Sengupta Committee, which has proposed two separate Bills for Agricultural and non-agricultural workers.

Mr Sengupta has also been made the member of the Parliamentary Panel, Mr Reddy said adding that all the Tus had been invited to participate in the meeting. But the individuals, NGOs and other stake holders could also send their proposals and suggestions to the Committee either by writing or by online.

Mr Pandhe deplored that the government had just rushed the Bill in the House while not consulting the TUs on the subject. "It lacks teeth and proper grievances redressal system. All the TUS including the BMS and the INTUC hold the same view." The CITU president said what the government had done about the present Bill was that it allowed state governments to prepare the scheme. The government should adopt the same methodology as had been done in the case of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), he added.

AITUC National Secretary D L Sachdev said NREGS had a constitutional guarantee of being completed in five years. "We want a similar approach in this issue." Mr Sachdev said the Bill had been diluted as even those provisions contained in the bill presented by the NDA government were not there now." There appears no political will on the part of the UPA government to bring about a comprehensive Bill which guarantees social security and better working condtions for the unorganised workers.'' HMS Secretary R A Mittal said the present Bill talked about constituting a national Board for Unorganised Sector which would prepare a scheme but not implement the same." It is just not practical." He said the government could notify the scheme through an executive order and later withdraw the same whenever it liked.

The TU leaders said such a scheme as proposed in the Bill would meet the same fate of such several schemes in the past.

On the Manmohan Singh government's recently launching the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana for the BPL families and a similar one for the landless agricultural Workers', they said it would also not succeed.

Until and unless a statutory scheme with the financial backing and a committed fund was brought in, there was no question of provision of social security and better working conditions to the unorganised workers, they added.

UNI

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