New Delhi, Aug 15: Emphasising on the government's commitment to simplify laws for the common man, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the government is converting 44 labour laws into four simplified codes.
In his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 69th Independence Day, Modi said Rs 27,000 crore is lying as unclaimed amount in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which will be utilised for the welfare of the workers.
The unions have strongly opposed some of the amendments, including those relating to easing retrenchment, lay offs and closure of units provision and forming unions, under the proposed New Industrial Relations Code.
"Laws should be clear and precise. It is only then that the society progresses. There are 44 different types of labour laws in the country, which confuses the labourers on where to look for.
"We have brought a change in them. We are converting 44 labour laws into 4 simplified codes, which will be easy to follow for the poor as well as the illiterate labourers to follow," he added.
The codes will relate to industrial relations, wages, social security and safety. The Prime Minister's views on labour reforms come in the backdrop of trade unions directing affiliated units to mobilise around 40 crore workers, including from unorganised sectors, for strike on September 2 in the absence of any truce offer by the government on such reforms.
Trade unions and government are at loggerheads over the latter giving no heed to the former's 12-points charter of demands. The government had set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to evolve a consensus on labour reforms and other issue in May.
But the panel failed to make any substantive headway in its first meeting held on July 19. As many as 12 trade unions, including BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, had decided to observe nationwide strike on September 2 against various issues.
On unclaimed amount in EPF, Modi said this amount will be utilised for the welfare of poor labourers.
"We are making special identity cards for labourers in the unorganised sector so that where ever they go, whichever factory they work, we will have their identity and details and we will utilise this Rs 27,000 crore for their welfare," Modi said.
The government, under the Shram Shakti Pehchaan campaign, is enrolling unorganised sector workers and issuing them smart cards to make them avail benefits of various schemes.