Madhya Pradesh Amends Labour Laws, Announces Steps To Revive Economy
Motorcyclists ride past a hoarding featuring PM Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh in Bhopal. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Madhya Pradesh Amends Labour Laws, Announces Steps To Revive Economy


Extending working hours in industrial units and allowing shops to stay open for longer hours are among the slew of measures announced by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday to revive economic activities stalled by the coronavirus outbreak.

Chouhan said shop timings are being extended - shops can stay open from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight - and shift duration in industrial units is also being extended from the present 8 hours to 12 hours.

In addition, Chouhan announced several reforms for industries and in labour laws, which he claimed, will boost industrial activities, increase job opportunities, encourage fresh investments and safeguard the interest of labourers.

Chouhan said the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted the economy and long-drawn lockdown period has slowed business activities.

Now, the situation is gradually coming back to normal and Madhya Pradesh has also resumed economic activities, he said.

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The chief minister detailed the changes made to labour laws.

As per these amendments, registrations and licences under different labour laws will be issued in a day versus the earlier 30 days, renewal of factory licence will be for 10 years instead of one year now.

Also, licence will be issued for entire contract period instead of the calendar year under the Contract Labour Act, he said.

The chief minister said with a view to invite new industries and investors in the next 1,000 days that all provisions, except Section 25 (which is related to safety) of the Industrial Disputes Act, have been relaxed.

Also, to encourage start-ups, a provision has been made for one-time registration with no subsequent renewal, he said.

At present, shops can be opened from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., but now they will be allowed to operate for a longer period of time.

"The Shops and Establishment Act has been amended to change (shop) timings from 6 am to 12 midnight. Now, there will be no unnecessary overcrowding in shops, on the other hand, social distancing will also be ensured, he said.

Chouhan said duration of shifts in factories during the period of Covid-19 outbreak has been increased from 8 hours to 12 hours with permission of overtime up to 72 hours in a week.

Factory owners will be able to change shifts as per their convenience to increase production. In addition, a provision has been made to maintain a single register instead of 61 registers under labour laws and to file a single return instead of 13 now, he informed.

Under the Factory Act, exemption has been given to factories from inspection for a period of three months. Employers will be allowed to have a third party inspection of their factories, the CM said.

Earlier, registration of third party inspectors was done in Mumbai, but now the Labour Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh has been authorised to do it.

Establishments employing less than 50 workers have been excluded from inspection under various labour laws.

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Now inspection will be possible only with the permission of the Labour Commissioner and on the basis of complaints.

Provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act have been also relaxed. Now in factories, trade unions and factory manager will be able to resolve disputes as per their convenience.

They will not have to go to the Labour Court for resolving disputes.

In industries with less than 100 labourers, exemptions have been given from provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Permanent Order) Act.

The Industrial Employment Act law was applicable to establishments with more than 50 workers (but less than 100) till now. It has been extended to establishments with more than 100 workers.

The state government also sent some proposals to the Centre for consideration. One of which related to the Factory Act, under which units that run on power had to be registered in the past for employing 10 labourers.

"Now we have sent a proposal to the centre for registration on employing 50 labourers, he said.

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Similarly, under the Factory Act, units which run without power had to be registered in the past on employing 20 labourers. Now a proposal has been sent to the centre to remove the limit on the number of workers, Chouhan said.

Under the Contract Labour Act, contractors had to register for employing 20 labourers so far. Now they will be required to register only after employing 50 labourers or more, he said.

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A proposal is being sent to the centre to make arrangement of compounding for redressal of penal proceedings by agreement under the Contract Labour Act, Inter-State Migrant Workers Act and Motor Transport Workers Act, he said.

The Industrial Disputes Act has been made effective on establishment with 300 workers instead of those employing 100 workers, he said.

A facility of fixed term employment has been provided for personnel working on contract in industries and other establishments.

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