Supportive labor policies can help Gujarat meet goal of doubling jobs by 2023: Esya center
|Supportive labor policies can help Gujarat meet goal of doubling jobs by 2023: Esya center
Esya Center (BusinessWire India)
Business Wire IndiaDigital technologies have fundamentally transformed the way we work. They removed traditional barriers to work, giving birth to new employment opportunities such as homework, part-time employment, contract workers and concert workers. Gujarat is home to more than 345,000 MSMEs who play an essential role in the economic and social development of the state. E-commerce can help these MSMEs to grow and provide new categories of jobs, as traditional avenues have been severely affected by the pandemic. Recently, Narayan Rane, the Minister of MSMEs said that they would seek to double jobs in Gujarat MSME sector from 58 Lakh to 1.2 crore in the next 2 years.
With this in mind, it becomes essential to have cohesive and well thought out labor codes that will provide a unique opportunity to foster recovery in one of India’s most industrialized states. The need at the moment is to create policies that give businesses the flexibility to adjust their workforce in terms of time and location while providing adequate protection. It is imperative to strike a balance and provide accommodating support for new forms of employment, recognizing and arranging for small contract workers and businesses.
The lack of an appropriate legal framework for non-traditional employees can lead to significant challenges for the improvement of small business owners and businesses. In addition, the codes do not sufficiently clarify the definition of core work and do not include e-commerce organizations as part of the umbrella sectors involved in the supposed core work. This leaves room for misinterpretations and creates a situation that will hamper the employability of contract workers. There is also a need to ensure that vulnerable migrant workers are protected from being blocked without basic amenities. New codes should be targeted at them and therefore socio-economic classification should be taken into account. Speaking at a briefing hosted by The Esya Center, a leading policy think tank, Mr. Vivan Sharan, Secretary, Esya Center, noted, “Existing codes can be characterized as two steps forward and one step back from technology companies. Despite positive elements, such as social security for temporary workers, the Codes limit the freedom given to employers and employees to determine the contours of their relationship. This is particularly visible in the form of restrictions on working hours, onerous registration requirements and prescriptive standards related to working conditions. There is a need to rationalize these restrictions and provide more flexibility while preserving labor rights. “
Sharing its legal expertise in the matter, Mohit Chawdhry, Junior Fellow, Esya Center, pointed out that, “New labor codes should strive to allow flexible working weeks for the benefit of both workers and employers. The government should streamline controls over working hours while simultaneously developing systems to prevent the exploitation of workers. ” He further added, “Part-time work is important for India from a development perspective, as developed countries often tend to have a higher proportion of employees working part-time. There is a need for codes to recognize and define part-time work and allow the participation of a larger and more diverse group in the Indian workforce.
The new legislation offers enormous potential for improvement. Any hope of tangible growth and improvement in the labor system will be undermined if certain problems are not rectified. There is a need for the government to invite and recognize the suggestions of stakeholders and take into account the growing employment potential of digital sectors such as e-commerce. Therefore, the codes should address ways to significantly reduce the burden of compliance, improve the ease of doing business, and provide increased flexibility to employers in terms of hours of work. Provisions should also allow full-time employees to be able to choose their working hours each day without exceeding the weekly limit.