The fastest running hand of the clock, the hand which creates the first momentum, provides the first pull to the other two hands, works incessantly but remains least observed. Looks quite debilitated but works without fail. While watching the time, people don’t even consider it, except during sports events. It is creating the ‘first’ pull even than it is given the name ‘second’ hand.

Why anyone should be considered second when they are the prime force for the development of the society. Yes you have got it right. I am talking about our labour force on the occasion of May’ 1st which is being celebrated as International Worker’s Day in respect of all those people who toil hard in the scorching summer and also in cold breeze to support the ever growing aspirations of a the society. Here I present one of the myriad examples: Tajmahal was built by 20,000 workers who worked for nearly 20 years.

चर्चाओं से शोध से, इतिहासों से दूर ;

ताज महल के रूप में, ज़िंदा हैं मज़दूर

– आलोक श्रीवास्तव

Our labour force burn their blood as fuel to the growth engine of economy. Shower their sweat on the land of our dreams and grow a fortune for us. This day deserves to be dedicated completely to our labour force and today we all need to salute the hardwork of our labour force exactly as we salute the bravery of our soldiers.

Nearly 43 labour laws exist at present to safeguard the rights of workforce including ISMW (Interstate Migrant Workmen), BOCW (Building and other Construction workers) etc. Hundreds of trade unions in organised sector and apart from that many unorganised workers as well, plenty of Government Officers with lucrative schemes and reports showing ground reality and covering it at times. All of it for the welfare of our labourer but conditions are neither conducive for workers nor for industries considering the rigidities these labour laws offer. These labour laws often pose challenges to the ease of doing business and on the other hand, the benefits to the labour force are not fully ensured through them.

To achieve the dream of ‘Make in India’ it is required to make our country an investment friendly country with ease of doing business at its base. On the other hand basic rights of labour force are to be safeguarded. To reach to an amicable solution between the two, we need that all issues should be deliberated in details encompassing the viewpoints of all the stakeholders. Easier said than done, few stakeholders may come with pre-conceived notions, pre-occupied mind-sets and hidden motives. This becomes a major deterrent in a democratic set-up when number validates the workability and virtues of any reform.

Ensuring minimum wages, healthy and safe working conditions, providing basic amenities for both male and female work force etc are the common guidelines sketched in labour laws. Considering the commonalities, present Government is considering the simplification of the laws by merging the laws and by bringing the concerned departments under common umbrella. This will bring an end to Red tape and Inspector Raj culture which will help to achieve a win-win situation for both workers and industries.

It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the people work under unorganised sector and that’s the reason trade unions claims that the laws are not going to change the ground realities as such. Even if this is believed to be true than there is no reason that the simplification and rationalisation of existing laws should not be considered. To break a hurdle in the path of industrial growth the laws should immediately be clubbed and simplified because 90 percent are not going to be impacted even if the results are not exactly as per our expectations. So the opposition to these reforms is unwarranted considering the reason assigned. Growth generates opportunities and opportunities create surplus which automatically avoids the need to safeguard the basic minima in terms of facilities and revenue sharing. Over-regulation often defeats the intended purpose and transparency together with flexibility helps in achieving self-regulation beneficial to both the parts viz. Capital and labour.

As already said that this is going to affect only ten percent of the labour force which works in organised sectors. Other 90 % needs major focus and mass awareness is required for uplifting their quality of life. The domestic help we have at our home, other workers we employ for doing our sundry works etc. They need our special attention and care because God has been kind enough to us for making us capable to help them and we should not lose the opportunity. As a token of regard to the prime mover of the economy our labour force, we should ensure that their family also get a better quality of life and for this to happen we can think of sharing the burden of their education and health expenses of their kids apart from the stipend we pay them for their regular services.

Society can only grow when all it’s components grow at an equal pace. Any inequality in growth-rates will generate adverse impacts like increase in crime rate etc. So it’s for the betterment of whole society that we think of issues of all-encompassing growth in a broader perspective. Labour force deserves the fruit for their hard work and onus is on each one of us.