Tag Archives: EPFO

Drafting Team was trying to finish off the EPFO. Was the CPFC aware?

The Ministry of Labour & Employment had reconstituted the “Group responsible for the Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare” two years ago, as per the Letter No. Z-13025/ 13/ 2015 L.R Cell dated 12.03.2015 of the MOL&E.

This group, called as the Drafting Team, had been working for the past two years and has brought out the present ‘draft Labour Code’ which was put in public domain on 16.03.2017 by the MOL&E.

The CPFC had also deputed an RPFC to be part of the Drafting Team “on full time basis for completing the exercise”.

Was the CPFC aware of the what work was being done by the Drafting Team during the period of two years? Was he ever briefed by  his RPFO about the direction in which the Drafting Team was going about its work,  to finish off the EPFO ?

An application under the RTI Act:

(Click on the image and download the document)

EPFO Copy

 

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Sinister report of the Second National Commission on Labour: Exposed by the Dissent Note !

“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed …… to exploit, ……. its citizens”

– Leo Tolstoy

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What Tolstoy said becomes totally true when we see the conspiratorial manner in which the Labour Code is being brought about. The intended Labour Code is, really, going to be a tool of oppression. It is intended to convert the entire labour force into slave labour. The Ministry of Labour & Employment is indulging in false propaganda through its powerpoint presentation on this issue. The Ministry is hiding many a truth behind the Code. When the Ministry wants to undo the ESI and EPF facilities, it is projecting the noble features of these schemes, as if they are going to be introduced only through the Labour Code. The Ministry which does not come forward to make public the legislative policy behind the Labour Code does not hesitate to cheat the people through the Power Point Presentations which contain a lot of half-truths and misleading statements.

The officials who are held hostages by the power-brokers, are doing their biddings to undo the welfare schemes. But, they hoodwink the people to believe in the contents of Labour Code which is,actually,  intended to benefit the middlemen at the cost of the working population.

The rulers proclaim from the roof-tops that they are  bringing out this Labour Code as per the recommendations of the Second Labour Commission. But, the fact is that the motive of that Commission was sinister.

That fact is established from the very Dissent Note submitted very honestly by the Member Mr. C.K. Saji Narayanan on 21.05.2002.

A few quotes are given below. The complete text of the Dissent Note can be had by clicking on the following link:

Saji dissent

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Mr. Saji Narayanan has done his work honestly, fearlessly, with conscience and without fear. He has rendered his service to humanity right.

It is the duty of every conscientious citizen of the nation to expose the ulterior motive behind the proposed Labour Code and enlighten the masses and help them get their rightful benefits as workforce restored.

People do have the right to demand from those who defend the Labour Code to give point by point reply to the observations of Mr. Saji Narayanan.

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Slave Labour Code : Review by Lord Yama Dharma Raja ! – Episode 1

It’s Heaven! The venue is the Durbar hall of Lord Yama Dharma Raja. He had summoned the souls both from the heaven and the hell to discuss the hullabaloo around the draft Labour Code circulated by the Ministry of Labour & Employment in India, on 16.04.2017. The entire assembly is full and the crowd is overflowing outside the Durbar Hall too to watch the proceedings, which are telecast live too throughout the universe. Sir William Beveridge, who had given the monumental report on Social Security, Prof. B.P. Adharkar, the Father of Social Security in India, and other stalwarts on social security were the special invitees of the meet.  Now, the proceedings!

Lord Yama image

Lord Yama Dharma Raja: “Dear Mr. Beveridge ! What is going on in India? I find there are protest marches in Chattisgarh about some Labour Code? The issue is spreading around, I am told. What is the problem?

Beveridge: My Lord ! The ultra-rich club in India is becoming more and more vicious. They are finding newer and newer methods to loot the common people. The present set of rulers are much more obliging to them than the previous rulers. That is the cause of all the problems in India, now.

Lord: Ultra-rich? What is it?

Beveridge: My Lord ! 1% of Indians have cornered for themselves 53% of the wealth of the nation. They are the ultra-rich.  And, they want to covet even more. The rulers are happy to oblige this greedy rich, for quid pro quo, and betray the trust reposed in them by the common people. These rulers want the votes of these commoners to remain in power. But, they do have no compunction to cheat these commoners by colluding with the rich and ultra-rich to enable the later to loot the commoners. The proposed Labour Code is yet another example of the manner in which the rulers go out of the way to please their ultra-rich monsters, sorry, masters. That is the reason for the social tumult in the offing in India.

1% own 53%

1 % owns

Lord: What is that Labour Code, after all?

(Adharkar rises up to respond to this question)

Adharkar: My Lord! We had already discussed on 26.09.2015 about the manner in which the rulers under obligation to the ultra-rich went extra mile to amend the Sec. 44 of the ESI Act, 1948 to facilitate privatisation of social security in India. (https://flourishingesic.info/2015/09/26/lord-yama-dharma-raja-discusses-amendment-to-sec-44/). But, they could not succeed in their attempt because the employees’ representatives in the supreme body of the ESI Corporation became  alert to see through the game plan of the rulers. The employees’ representatives had voiced their protest so vehemently that the rulers beat a hasty retreat on 07.04.2015 in the meeting of the supreme body. (https://flourishingesic.info/2015/04/05/kind-attention-esi-corporation-members-please-ask-these-questions-on-07-04-2015/). So, they found a way around. Now, instead of trying to tinker with Sec. 44 of the ESI Act, they are going to club together  as many as 15 labour welfare legislations including among them the ESI Act and the EPF Act and remove the important benefits provided under the ESI Act. They believe that people would not notice their mischievous intentions and the loss of benefits under the ESI Act when they mix all the laws together and take away the benefits provided under the ESI Act.

(At this stage Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the UK chips in. The Lord looks at her.)

Thatcher: My Lord, What Mr.Adharkar says is true. When I was the Prime Minister of the UK, there was a BBC serial titled, “Yes, Minister”. I used to keep aside all my routine work and watch that serial everyday. It explained to the people and politicians how the bureaucrats used to cheat the politicians in power. The senior bureaucrat, Sir Humphrey, in that serial would train his junior in that art. He would Margaret_Thatcheradvice his junior that if he wanted to something wrong, he must do things in a complicated way so that the people would not understand anything. ”If people don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.” But, on going through the draft Labour Code circulated by the Ministry of Labour of the Government of India, that the said advice of Sir Humphrey is used by the politicians and bureaucrats of India to cheat the common people. It is a matter of shame that India which was given independence from the British control goes the wrong way in running the nation. It becomes clear from the text of the draft Labour Code that the nation is going away from civilised way of social life. I was discussing about it with Mr. Jerome Blanqui, the great French economist of the early 1800s. His ideas contributed a lot to the evolution of formal law-making by various states on social security. He is also of the same opinion about this draft Labour Code. The present government of India is helping the greedy rich to exploit the labour class and keep them poor perennially. I am sad at these developments in India”.

(The Lord looks at Jerome Adolphe Blanqui, whose great treatise, ‘History of Political Economy in Europe – From the ancients to our day’, published in 1837 AD, was a remarkable milestone in the evolution of Social Security).

Jerome Blanqui: “Yes, My Lord ! Every society is supposed to move forward to a civilised state. I was fortunate enough to have been born in France where great souls who fought for liberating the humanity had been born and had worked for it. Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu liberated not only France from the tyrants but also the entire humanity from slavish menJerome Blanquitality.  French intellectuals considered that production was “not” something that was “independent of the fate of the workers”. I have stressed the fact that “it is not sufficient for (a nation) that wealth be created, but it must be equitably distributed”. In the view of our French intellectuals, “men are really equal before the law as before the Eternal. The poor are not a text for declamations, but a portion of the great family, worthy of the deepest solicitude”, care and concern. But, I find that the present day rulers of India are moving in a diametrically opposite direction. The nation will, then, be a den of poverty and misery, with the working class having no real right to live a dignified life as they will be treated as ‘commodity’ by the rulers.

Beveridge: The intention of the present day rulers to make the working class a pawn in the hands of the employers has already become public, in the year 2014 itself. Yet, the public has not been awakened to their sinister designs. It was on 07.08.2014, that these rulers introduced a Bill for increasing the spread-over time from 10 and half hours to 12 hours, for enabling the employers to force the workers to  work for about 10 hours a day, to compel women workers to work during night hours, etc., That would prove that India is on the path of retardation while other nations like Germany move forward towards reduced work hours which result in more production.

Blanqui: What is more? These rulers were sadistic enough to call that bill as the Bill for safety and health of workers.picture1

The present Labour Code is also yet another sadistic piece. This is intended to relieve the State of its obligation to provide social assistance in the form social insurance.  Common people will, however, be told that it is an effort towards “simplification, amalgamation and rationalisation”. The rulers would cover up their mischievous intentions by propagating that the Labour Code was to extend the benefits to unorganised labour including the household workers. But, the real intention is to reduce the benefits provided by the ESI Corporation and enable the private players enter into the field of social security and make a mess of it. Commercialisation of social security will result in complication of the process and deprivation of various benefits to the working population. My Lord, kindly ask for the details from Mr. Robert Owen, who is regarded as the Father of Social Security of the World. He did not only plead for the intervention of the governments of various nations to step in and enact laws for the welfare of the workers, but also for international agreement between various nations for enacting such laws. Mr. Louis Rene Villerme, the great physician, who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the working class and their working conditions in 1800s, would throw more light on it. So many illustrious figures had been fighting and canvassing for about 100 years for State intervention to safeguard the living conditions of the working class. All their efforts culminated in various labour laws from 1923 to 1952 in India, overseen by the government. But, all these developments are attempted to be consigned to dustbin by one single Labour Code.

Lord: How?

Adharkar: Yes, My Lord! In the name of amalgamation, the draftsmen of the Labour Code have seen to it that many time-tested benefits provided under the ESI Act vanish into thin air. The ESI Act provides a bouquet of benefits. But, the bouquet has been meddled with in the Labour Code and individual benefits have been separated and are made to be chosen by every employee, telling him that his contribution would be dependent on the nature and number of benefits he wants. That is why the words “not exceeding” have been incorporated in Sec. 20.1 of the Labour Code, while specifying the quantum of contribution payable by the employer.

Lord: In that case, have they made known to the people that the benefits would not be a package but would have to be picked and chosen by the workers?

Adharkar: No, My Lord ! The draftsmen know what they are going to do but are suppressing the complete picture from being shown to the workers.

Lord: Why do they do so?

Adharkar: If they make their intentions or goals known to the public, they would not be able to privatise the social security scheme, as the public would oppose it. They will not, then, be able to please the businessmen who want to enter into the field to make money by squeezing the workers. That is why they say only a few things  in the Labour Code and try to acquire power  to the rulers to do many things, which are against the workers, through sub-ordinate legislations. When people ask about them, they say that they have not prepared those subordinate legislations yet. They have many such subordinate legislations in mind, like, Rules, Regulations, Schemes, Bye-Laws, Licences, etc.,  But, they say that they have not prepared them yet.

Lord: Is it necessary to prepare the subordinate legislations also along with the Code?

Adharkar: No, My Lord ! Subordinate Legislations can be prepared later. But, the primary legislation which empowers the executive to prepare subordinate legislations must be a self-explanatory one informing the people about the goal and purpose of the legislation. The need is more so, when the rulers want to replace the existing legislations. They have the right to compare the present position with the promised scenario in its entirety. But, the rulers do not want to give complete picture to the people, of their proposed legislations.

Lord: Can the rulers do so?

Adharkar: No, My Lord ! They cannot. There is a Legislative Department under the Ministry of Law & Justice. “The drafting of Bills” is the work of the officials of this department (http://lawmin.nic.in/more.htm). The letter dated 24.04.2017 of the Ministry of Labour shows that they do have a “Drafting Team”. That Drafting Team should have been given some directions, in writing, to prepare the Labour Code. It is those directions which would enlighten the people what is in store for them. But, the rulers do not make it public.

Lord: Okay, but when the rulers do not make something public, why do you presume that the Code would be anti-labour?

Adharkar: It is not my presumptions My Lord! There are indications in the draft Labour Code itself that the intentions of the rulers or the Drafting Team are sinister. Besides, the procedure of drafting legislations require the rulers to entrust the Drafting Team with the ‘legislative policy’. Mr. Justice. M. Jagannadha Rao, Chairman of the 17th Law Commission of India, has written a paper on Legislative Drafting. He says, “The draftsman is not the author of the legislative policy, he merely tries to transform the legislative policy into words. The legislative policy is made by the political executive which belongs to the political party which is ruling the legislature or by the monarch who reigns over the country. The draftsman must, therefore, digest the legislative policy fully before he produces the instrument of legislation which can achieve the legislative purpose”. The issue here with the Labour Code is why the Drafting Team does not make the concerned ‘legislative policy’ public.  That shows that their intention is mala fide. The wordings of the draft Labour Code also testify to the existence of such mala fide intention. People do not know what benefits would be there for them and what would not be.

(John Foster McCreight, the first Premier of British Colombia and then judge of the Supreme Court raises his hand. The Lord nods at him)

McCreight: My Lord ! The procedure of law-making is the same the world over. “Drafting legislation is an art, not a science. A well-drafted bill results, not from slavishly following numerous arbitrary rules, but rather from thorough knowledge of the subject, careful attention to detail, and adherence to such commoJohn McCrieghtn-sense principles as simplicity, clarity and good organization. In drafting legislation, British Columbia legislative counsel have two goals: (1)  to construct legislation that g
ives legal effect to government policy;  (2)  to communicate the law clearly to the people who are affected by it, the officials who administer it and the judges who interpret it.” Satisfying both goals is often difficult, but that has to be, necessarily, done for every law. “Legislative counsel write law based on the drafting instructions they receive from the sponsoring ministry”. It is simply shocking to find the draft Labour Code of India suffering from various infirmities. I wonder how they want the public to opine on it when it is incomplete and contains so many grammatical errors too, besides serious gaps in “communicating the law clearly to the people who are affected by it”.

Lord: Do you think that the government officials would also cheat the public, because the rulers in power direct them to do so?

Adharkar: My Lord ! The bureaucracy in India is a class apart. Sir Humphrey, the fictional character in ‘Yes, Minister’ is nowhere near them, in cunningness. They would cheat not only the people but also the President. They would disobey the President himself, if his decision is not to their liking. They would, therefore, go to any length to please the bosses they like and cheat the people.

Lord: Surprising !  Can the civil service be so?

Thatcher: My Lord ! It  is so in India.

Abdul Kalam: My Lord ! Let me narrate an incident. One Mahendra Nath Das was imposed death penalty by the Supreme Court. He sent mercy petition to the President of India. I happened to be the President at that time. The mercy petition was placed before me in the year 2005 and I commuted the death penalty to life term. Later in the year 2013, I came to know through newspapers that so many things happened in that case. The order issued by me in the file in the year 2005 had not been enforced. The bureaucrats had kept the file pending for years. It was later put up before my successor Pratiba Patil in the year 2011, and she rejected the mercy petition. She was not informed of the decision taken by me in the year 2005. If she had been informed, she would not have taken that decision. Moreover, there was no scope in office procedure to suppress thAbdul kalame factum of my order to obtain another order from the President. Yet, the central bureaucrats had indulged in that mischief. It came to light in 2015 when the Supreme Court of India examined the case filed before it by the person who faced the gallows. So, Indian bureaucracy cannot be expected to be trusted blindly. They must be kept in check, by effectively making use of the Right to Information Act and by strengthening it further, instead of weakening it.

(The Lord Yamadharma Raja was stunned at the revelation by Dr. Abdul Kalam. He feels concerned about his own problems as the Lord of Justice. He looks at Chitragupta).

President Patil Kalam Das Mercy Petition

Chitragupta: Yes, My Lord ! If only that Mahendra Nath Das had been sent to gallows in 2011, after the rejection of the mercy petition by Pratiba Patil, it would have made our work difficult. It will be difficult for us to decide whether Das was guilty of the crime committed by him or the victim of the crime committed by the bureaucrats who cheated the President to cause his mercy petition rejected. If we have to punish him for his guilt we must send him to hell. If he is considered as the victim of the conspiracy hatched by the Indian bureaucrats we must send him to heaven and reserve the hell for those bureaucrats. We will have to weigh the pros and cons very minutely My Lord!

(The Lord nods his head in approval. He is in deep thoughts).

Lord:  Okay, okay ! I am convinced that the Indian bureaucracy at the centre can be cunning to any extent. Now, may I know what they are doing with this Labour Code?

Adharkar: Firstly, My Lord ! Wherever the ESI Act is there, there will be no need for the Employees’ Compensation Act (formerly, Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923). But, in this Code, the provisions of the Employees’ Compensation Act are retained in Part I (Sec. 61 to 75 ) and some of the very important provisions of the ESI Act, 1948 have been totally omitted. How can the Drafting Team call the draft Labour Code a process of ‘amalgamation’?

Lord: What are those provisions of the ESI Act omitted to be brought to the Labour Code?

Adharkar: Sec. 51-B to Sec. 51-E My Lord! They have totally omitted these benefits. They do not reply when asked who advised them to do so. This is a very serious conspiratorial measure agains the working population by the Drafting Team and the rulers.

Lord: I understand. Are other provisions okay?

Adharkar: No, My Lord! The Labour Code had reduced the quantum of compensation payable to the person who sustained Employment Injury. The Code assures only 50% as per the EC Act and not 90% as per the ESI Act. A scrutiny of Sec. 63 reveals this fact. This section is only the reiteration of the provision of the EC Act. The benefit provided by the ESI Act is not assured here through the Code. It has been left open-ended depending on the mercy of the rulers. Sec. 63 (1) (a) (b) which has the phrase “whichever is more” indicates that the Executive is at liberty to increase or decrease the rate of Dependant’s Benefit. The continuation of the present 90% of wages (roughly) as Dependants’ Benefit is not assured. How can people give approval to such a legislation My Lord!

Beveridge: Is it because the ESI Act does also have that provision only in the Rule and  not in the Act?

Adharkar: Mr. Beveridge! When the ESI Act was enacted for the first time, the quantum of all these benefits were assured in the Act (as The First Schedule), before seeking the approval of the Parliament. Now, when the rulers want to replace the present ESI Act, they cannot play hide and seek with people. What is the difficulty for them in shifting the quantum of benefit of Dependants’ Benefit from the ESI (Central Rules)  to the Code itself? More so, when they have shifted the quantum of contribution from Rule 51 of  the ESI (Central) Rules ( a subordinate legislation) to the Labour Code (a primary legislation) directly?

Lord: Why do they do so?

Adharkar: The authorities do maintain a cunning silence in this regard, My Lord! They have not attached any Notes to the draft Labour Code explaining why they included something and excluded others. They do not show the draft ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ too. They cannot, therefore, be trusted, My Lord!. The rumour is that they might not provide Dependants Benefit equivalent to the present one in future, @ 90%, to facilitate entry of private players in the market of Social Security and enable them to make a lot of profit.

Lord: When the ESIC is paying the Dependants Benefit @90% does is suffer any loss?

Adharkar: No, My Lord ! ESIC was showing surplus consistently. A social security organisation must have such strong surplus. The funds were kept only in government securities.

Lord: Is such a surplus necessary?

Adharkar: Yes, My Lord ! Adequate surplus in an insurance against Anxiety, says the Noble Prize Winner Economist Paul Krugman. It is essential in the insurance field. The surplus in the ESIC was not a flab. Moreover, such a surplus got generated from the 1950s when the ESIC had Chapter VI, providing for Employers’ Special Contribution, collected from all over the nation from the employers who were not in the implemented area. Moreover, the ESIC was managing its funds best, My Lord ! This was appreciated by the newspaper Economic Times too in February 2003. The system of managing funds was improved in the subsequent four years, by collecting daily offer from various nationalised banks every afternoon and deposting the money with them in Savings Bank account, instead of Current Account. The method was marvellous My Lord!. But, these essential facts are either not understood by the elements which run down the ESIC or they pretend not to know that. Because, their motive in bringing the Labour Code is ulterior, My Lord!Economic Times 5 2 2003 copy 2

Lord: I understand. When will the earthlings mature? What is the reason for the desperate efforts taken now to privatise social security in India in such a cunning manner?

Adharkar: My Lord, the ESI Corporation cannot give any corporate donations to the political parties. So, there is no real gain for the rulers to run the ESIC right. They, therefore, choose to run it down. There had been vicious campaign against the ESIC and the EPFO from 28.02.2015 onwards, when the Finance Minister presented his budget stating, in an arbitrary and unauthorised manner, that these organisations were holding the employees as hostages. When asked under the RTI Act, no Ministry could explain how such an allegation found a space in the Budget speech.

The agents of the money sharks are working over time since then to campaign against these organisations through numerous articles in various newspapers including the Hindustan Times and the Forbes. My Lord, Indian society is going the wrong way. The humanity is going to suffer a lot unless the mala fide designs of the politicians-businessmen-middlemen-bureaucrats nexus is exposed before the public. There are so many mischievous portions in the Labour Code, My Lord! They do not want to examine the disastrous consequence of similar steps taken in Peru and Chile. They are hell bent on obliging the money sharks who want to enter into the insurance field and loot the people who draw upto Rs. 21000 pm. That is the reason for this unseemly hurry in bringing out this Labour Code, in such a peremptory manner.

Lord: Yeah! Let us analyse them deeply tomorrow!

(Lord Yamadharma Raja rises up. The assembly is dissolved)

(Contd.)

 

Images: Courtesy,  Wikipedia

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Slave Labour Code: Questions for the meeting on 02.05.2017 !

Note on the draft Labour Code submitted to the Secretaries of State Governments for their consideration before they attend the meeting convened by the Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India on 02.05.2017 at 03.00 PM in New Delhi.

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To download PDF file, please click on the following image:

Note for State Secretaries page 1

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1. The Ministry of Labour & Employment of the Government of India has proposed “to have a consultation Meeting” with the Secretaries of all the State Governments and Union Territories on 02.05.2017 in New Delhi. It has been mentioned in the letter No. Z -20023/13/2015-LRC dated 24.04.2017 of the MOL&E that this is a “consultation process for deliberations on the Code on Social Security & Welfare”. Every State Government has been invited to depute the Secretaries in charge of the four departments, viz., Labour, Health, Social Welfare and Woman & Child Development.

2. It becomes clear from the Ministry’s letter dated 24.04.2017 that this is the first time the draft Labour Code is officially taken to the knowledge of all the State Governments by the MOL&E. They have not been given time to consult the employers, employees, workers, legal experts, political leaders of their States. It is, practically, difficult for these Secretaries to go through the entire draft Labour Code personally and understand the ‘system’ that is proposed to be put in place. It is only fair that the States must be given time adequate enough to study, understand and arrive at their opinion about the issues involved. But, the issue is hurried through by the MOL&E for inexplicable reasons. Speed and surprise are anti-thesis to democracy when discussing the welfare measures of the people of the nation. Continue reading

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Labour Code: Premature one ! Bizarre method of law-making !! Draftsmen ignorant of destinations !!

Applications were sent on 04.04.2017 and 05.04.2017 under Sec. 6 of the RTI Act, 2005 seeking certain information pertaining to the Labour Code.

The following was requested for, in the application dated 04.04.2017:

  • “Kindly supply the relevant pages of the ‘filenoting’ / ‘office note’ / ‘report of the committee of experts’ / ‘report of the of officers’ in which such an explanation justifying their suggestion to drop the word ‘substantial’ in Sec. 94 in ‘Part L’ of the Code is found recorded.”

 

Again, the following was requested for, in the application dated 05.04.2017:

  • “Kindly supply the copies of the format of the proposed License (containing the Terms and conditions imposed by the Government on the agencies) referred to in Sec. 88 and 89 of the said Draft Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare;
  • Kindly supply the copies of the proposesd Regulations and the Schemes referred to in Sec. 24 of the said Draft Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare”.

For more: https://flourishingesic.info/2017/04/06/labour-code-plea-for-publicising-draft-rules-regulations-schemes-license/

It was clearly mentioned in the Appendix to the Application dated 05.04.2017 as under:

“When, the present piece of legislation, the proposed Labour Code, is intended to replace the existing social security machinery, people become apprehensive and want to know whether they stand to gain or lose by that new system.

2. The Executive, therefore, cannot bring in a truncated version of the proposed system in the form of Code and ask the MPs to vote. But, that, exactly, is what the bureaucracy has, exactly, done through this Draft Labour Code. Sec. 24.5 of the Code enumerates the nomenclature of the benefits that would be made available to the workforce. But, the quantum of benefits and the nature of machinery through which such benefits would be provided have not been made known. These issues have been kept reserved for the Executive to make Subordinate Legislations later.

3. But, in all probability, the draft subordinate legislations, (a) the Rules, (b) the Regulations including the termns of conditions of license and (c) the Schemes would, already, have been prepared and kept in the Ministry. The non-publication of those drafts along with the Draft Code, for public debate gives the bona fide impression that the forces which are behind  this move, want to hide many vital aspects of the proposed social security system away from public knowledge until they get the Code passed by the Parliament and acquire power to do whatever they want through Subordinate Legislation. Or, i.e., if they have not yet prepared those draft Rules, draft Regulations, draft Schemes and draft licences, it would imply that these forces want to destabilise the present social security structure and bring in something which is not known even to themselves.”

Our apprehensions have become true.

The entire draft Labour Code is the handy work of some bureaucrats or middlemen who do not know the niceties and intricacies of not only the subject matter of the Code but also the technicalities of legislative drafting. What is more, they do not know what their ultimate aim is but have attempted to write something as Labour Code and create unnecessary social unrest in the nation.

The reply received from the Ministry in their letter No. M. 13014 / 01/ 2017 – LRC dated 25.04.2017 testifies to this fact.

RTI Reply from Ministry copy

This is not the stage appropriate and proper for a Ministry to call for the opinion of the public. Nor it is a correct stage to call for the meeting of the Secretaries of all the State Governments on 02.-5.2017.

The Government of India must, therefore, withdraw this premature draft Labour code immediately. 

 

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Labour Code: Letter No. 6 – Insignificant representation of employers and employees in the National Council !

The proposed National Council deserves larger representation from a wider spectrum of the employers and employees throughout the nation permitted in the supreme body. It is, therefore, suggested that the draft Labour Code may be modified to facilitate inclusion of, at least, 15 representatives for employers and 15 for employees. Because, the proposed Code amalgamates so many government and government oriented-organisations, including the two major organisations, the ESIC and the EPFO, where ten representatives on either side were in the respective supreme governing bodies.

The parties in power at the Centre should not give the impression that they are afraid of facing the representatives of the people by reducing their representation in the proposed National Council. It is, therefore, proposed that the National Council may be made to have 15 employers’ representatives and 15 employees’ representatives.

Click on the image below for more:

Letter 6 on Labour Code Page 2

Letter 6 

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Labour Code: Letter No. 5 – Rule-making power of the State Governments !

Powers of the State Governments must be listed in an independent Section just like Sec. 165 which deals with the Powers of Central Government to make Rules.

Secondly, all the areas with reference to which powers must be conferred on the State Government must be enumerated, in a thoroughly exhaustive manner in the Code / Act itself.

Click on the image please for the contents !

Letter 5 for publishing

Letter 5 

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Tracing the ‘hostages’: An attempt through the RTI Act !

During his speech at the time of presenting the budget, Hon’ble Finance Minister said that both the EPF and ESI had “hostages, rather than clients”. As this was contrary to truth, it was considered necessary to ascertain the basis on which the Ministry of Finance had included such a phrase in the speech of the Hon’ble Minister. It is in the interest of the working population to identify the caucus that caused such a term to be planted in the Budget speech.

An application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 has, therefore, been sent to the Ministry of Finance on 09.04.2015. Readers will be informed of the developments as and when reply is received from the Ministry of Finance.

The text of the application is as follows:

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To
Mr. C.K. Ramaswamy,
Under Secretary (Budget Division),
Central Public Information Officer,
Ministry of Finance,
Room NO. 237,
North Block,
New Delhi – 110001
email: ck.rswamy@nic.in

Sub: Application under Sec.6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 – Speech of the Hon’ble Minister of Finance at the time of presentation of Budget – information – requested.

Sir,

I would like to reproduced the following paragraph from the speech delivered by Hon’ble Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitely while presenting the Budget of the Government in the Parliament on 28.02.2015:

“61. Madam Speaker the situation with regard to the dormant Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts and the claim ratios of ESIs is too well known to be repeated here. It has been remarked that both EPF and ESI have hostages, rather than clients. Further, the low paid worker suffers deductions greater than the better paid workers, in percentage terms…”

Hon’ble Minister has said
1. that the ESI Corporation does “have hostages, rather than clients” and
2. that the “low paid worker suffers deductions greater than the better-paid workers, in percentage terms”.

Both observations are not true, as we know. Because, the provisions for Exemptions enshrined in the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, provide for exemptions from the coverage of the Act, to the factories or establishments, if only the employers make available benefits that are ‘substantially similar or superior’ to those provided by the ESI Act.

Getting such exemptions is a matter of right for the employers, as assured by the Act itself. It is so simple. There is a format in the ESIC offices for this purpose. There are three columns in it. The first one lists out the benefits provided by the ESI Scheme. The next column is to be filled in by the employer recording the benefits that he provides. The third column is intended to be filled by the employer wherein he would say whether, in his own assessment, the benefits provided by him are ‘substantially similar’ or ‘superior’. The employers must assess themselves first that way, before coming to the ESI Corporation for exemption. The ESIC will examine them and on being satisfied that the benefits provided by the employer are ‘substantially similar or superior’, recommend the case to the Central or State Government, as the case may be, for exemption.

But, in fact, none of the employers in the private sector could provide the package of benefits superior to those provided under the ESI Scheme. It is only the unwillingness of the employers to provide better benefits that keeps the employees within the fold of the ESI Scheme. Even the newspaper, The Hindu, an employer covered under the ESI Scheme, has, editorially, acknowledged, on 01.01.2005, that the package of benefits given by ESIC can rarely be matched by private employers.

So, in all probability, Hon’ble Minister might have, deliberately, been misled by various persons with vested interests, for ulterior reasons to belittle an organization of national importance. I, therefore, request you to kindly supply the following information under Sec. 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005:

Kindly supply the copies of
(a) the filenotings, if any, received by the Ministry of Finance from the Ministry of Labour or
(b) communications, if any, received from other sources
based on which the contents of the aforesaid para 61 had been included in the Speech of the Hon’ble Finance Minister.

I send herewith Postal Order for Rs. 20 (Rupees twenty only) drawn in favour of the Pay & Accounts Officer, Department of Economic Affairs, New Delhi, Rs. 10 being the fee payable under the RTI Act, 2005 and the remaining Rs. 10 towards the photocopying charges of the filenotings or communications to be supplied.

Thankyou!

Yours faithfully,

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Filed under Amendment 2015

Attachment of Immovable Property by ESIC & EPFO !

The procedure followed for the recovery of arrears from the defaulters is common for both the ESIC and the EPFO. The provisions of the Second Schedule to the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the Income Tax (Certificate Proceedings) Rules, 1962 as were in force as on 01.04.1989 are followed by both the organisations. The procedure followed by the Recovery Officers and the rights of the defaulters and the general public are brought out in the Power Point Presentation given below.

Click on the slide below to reach the Presentation
 

Slide1

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Filed under For Trainees, Powerpoints, Recovery

Test Inspections in the ESIC: A charade!

(This article deals only with the theory of checks and balances in the functioning of an organization and not the practice in Test Inspections, which will be dealt with separately. The theories must always be correct and take into account the problems that would be encountered in the field when it is enforced).

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Every system in a democracy must have checks and balances. As far as the ESIC is concerned, a provision for inspection of factories and establishments was incorporated in the ESI Act to facilitate monitoring proper compliance by the employers. Inspecting the records of the past periods helps the ESIC Administration detect (a) the occasions and (b) the manner in which the employers had, in the past, concealed the concealment of employment of persons and payment of wages. Such inspections help the Administration to find remedial measures to ensure that such concealments do not recur in future. The ESI Act is a labour-welfare legislation and the provision for inspections in the Act are, obviously, intended to advance the purpose of labour and their welfare. Such advancement can be achieved only when the inspections are done in a qualitative manner with adequate depth and substance. This being the importance of inspections under the ESI Act, as a natural corollary, the Administration must provide a system to monitor the performance of the Inspectors, the way there is a need to police the police.

The only way in which such monitoring can be done is to conduct Test inspections by higher officers. This system of checks and balances is there in the EPF Organisation also where it is called Supervisory Inspection.

Test Inspection is only an Administrative action

Test Inspection is only an Administrative action. It does not require any statutory provision. Reg. 102 of the ESI (General) Regulations, 1950 was found adequate for conducting Test Inspections. There was no problem on this issue until some employer went to court and got an interpretation that there was no provision for test inspection in the ESI Act. But, there were many Courts, which did not find fault with the system of such test-inspection. Moreover, the matter was not taken up with higher judiciary for any final verdict on the issue. The legitimacy of test inspections can be explained and justified by the ESIC by citing the practice followed in other departments. That would have protected the interests of the organization. However, it was not considered so essential at that time as the test inspections were continued to be done everywhere by calling them only as inspections (although they were done by the officers who were superior in rank to that of the inspectors).

But, all of a sudden Test Inspections were stopped describing them, strangely, as ‘harassment of employers’. This kind of phraseology in official communication puzzled the readers, as the test inspection was intended to monitor the quality of inspections conducted by the inspectors. That the employer had to pay, sometimes, additional contribution was only a consequential effect. Continue reading

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Filed under Amendments 2010, Inspections