Consultative Committee Meeting reviews functioning of labour bureau

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (ANI): The meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Labour and Employment reviewed the functioning of labour bureau.

Presiding over the meeting here late last evening, Oscar Fernandes, Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge) said that availability of up to date and accurate labour statistics is imperative for the formation and revision of appropriate labour related policies and programmes.

"This has become more relevant in the present context when the economy is faced with slow down. The labour bureau being a premier organisation in the field of labour and price statistics, its role in the current economic scenario has become all the more important," said Fernandes.

Detailing the working of the bureau, the Minister said the main function of the organisation is to compile the consumer price index numbers for industrial, rural and agricultural labourers, which are used, amongst other things, to regulate dearness allowance of industrial workers and government employees and to fix/revise minimum wages.

"In order to make the indices more realistic, the base year of the consumer price index numbers are altered by following due statistical procedures and in consultations with the stake holders," he added.

The Minister said the members of the recent change in the base year of consumer price index numbers from 1982 to 2001.

"In order to make the exercise furthermore exhaustive, the modalities are being examined by an Index Review Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. G.K. Chadha, an eminent economist, whose report is expected shortly," he said.

Commenting on the decline noticed in the earnings of workers during the last quarter of 2008, he said a quick survey conducted by the labour bureau in selected centres spread over eleven States, also indicated a decline in employment in most of the sectors studied, especially in the export units.

The Minister appreciated the bureau's work in this regard and noted that it delivered the report of the quick survey within a month.

He said the surveys being conducted by the bureau are valuable source of information on employment, working and living conditions, wages and earnings, and welfare facilities of various segments of workers in organised and unorganised sectors.

The important segments being studied are women workers, SC/ST workers, unorganised sector workers, and contract workers, he added.

The other activities of labour bureau include the conduct of rural labour enquiry, occupational wage survey, annual survey of industries, bringing out various publications giving data on various facets of labour and conduct of different training programmes for central and state functionaries engaged in labour statistics.

On the future plans of the bureau, it was explained that in short run the CPI base will be updated every tenyears and every five years in long run.

Efforts will be there to make the bureau as a storehouse-premier agency in the field of labour statistics. An office complex at Chandigarh will be constructed as soon as possible.

The members were also informed that the micro filming of old library records has been completed. Also, the improvement in Indian labour journal in terms of research content and quality is in progress and given the mandate, the task of collecting employment/ unemployment statistics will be made on regular basis.

A presentation was made about the working of the bureau through which the Members were informed that the bureau is facing shortage of field staff.

Since the labour bureau has only four regional offices, it proposed to have a regional office in each state to have better coordination with the States. (ANI)

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