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Gangwar has many responsibilities on his shoulders

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New Delhi, June 05: Minister of State with independent charge in the Ministry of Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar has big responsibility on his shoulders.

Gangwar is not new to his portfolio. Since 2017, he had been working to reform the labour sector in the previous Modi government too.

Santosh Gangwar

By giving Gangwar again the same portfolio, Prime Minister Modi has given a message that how important labour reform is for his government.

Spelling out the priority of Modi government, Gangwar said after assuming charge of office "we will try to complete the labour reform agenda".

According to reports, the government is working in the direction to reform the labour sector as per the recommendations of Second National Commission on Labour by amalgamating, simplifying and rationalising 44 Central laws.

The Commission has called for bringing the labour sector under four umbrella Labour Codes on (i) wages; (ii) industrial relations; (iii) social security & welfare; and (iv) occupational safety, health and working conditions.

Apart from it, Gangwar will have to end the difference between pension for organised and unorganised labourers.

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Currently, labourers of unorganised sectors are getting Rs 3000 and organised sectors Rs 1000 as pension.

He also has a responsibility of securing the data of millions of beneficiaries of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

It is also expected that he would make public the report of fire incident in Mumbai's EPFO hospital in which eight patients had died.

Though Gangwar has spelled out his priorities but labour unions have said that he shouldn't reform the sector in haste as it may prove counterproductive.

His biggest challenge would to be bringing labour unions on talking table and convene Indian Labour Conference (ILC), which has not been organised since 2015.

Last year, ILC was scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi but the government had postponed the event at the last moment fearing boycott from the labour unions.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh had threatened to boycott the Indian Labour Conference, saying their demands had not been met in the Union Budget 2018-19.

Other trade unions had written to Gangwar protesting the government's move of not inviting Congress-affiliated Intuc and expressing their disappointment over the non-fulfilment of recommendations adopted in the previous ILCs.

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