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Jan 18, 2020, 11.53 AM IST

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SOCIAL SECURITY

Parliamentary standing panel invites suggestions on Industrial Relations Code, Code on Social Security

“The committee have decided to invite memorandam containing views and suggestions separately on each code from the public in general and NGOs/ experts/ stakeholders and institutions in particular,” labour ministry said in a statement. The bills have been referred to the standing committee for examination and report within three months.

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  • The ministry has proposed constituting a social security fund or funds for provision of social security to unorganised workers, platform workers or gig workers or any class of such workers to be administered by the central government in the social security code.

    Entering 2020, the government hopes that India would be able to implement all four codes on wages, industrial relations, social security and occupational safety, health and working conditions. These are expected to improve ease of doing business and safeguard interest of workers.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, BMS said the code will not benefit the entire 500 million workforce of the country. It said its main concern regarding the code was “the lack of its universal character, since the existing thresholds for applicability of provident fund, employee state insurance, gratuity, maternity benefits have not been removed".

    The SSA with Brazil will help in avoiding making of double social security contributions by the workers (detachment); easy remittance of benefits (exportability); aggregating the contribution periods (in two countries) to prevent loss of benefits (totalisation).

    According to BMS, since the code continues to retain the threshold under each legislation including the provident fund, employees’ state insurance, gratuity and maternity benefits, it will not benefit the entire 500 million workforce of the country. "Main concern that remains in the Code is the lack of its universal character," it said.

    The Bill proposes setting up a social security fund using corpus available under corporate social responsibility. This fund will provide welfare benefits to all workers, including gig workers. As per the bill, millions of organised sector employees may soon have the option of reducing their provident fund contribution.

    "We can't lower the interest rates (on lending) without lowering the interest rates for depositors. And there is a point, a threshold below which we cannot reduce the interest rate for depositors. Third thing is that the credit cost in the country is very high because the default rates are very high, so the spread has to be necessarily high," said SBI chairman.

    The bill seeks to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) so successful bidders of insolvent companies will be ring-fenced from any risk of criminal proceedings for offences committed by previous promoters of companies concerned. It was passed by the Cabinet and subsequently introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Winter session earlier this month.

    New Bill gives employees option to reduce their PF contribution, resulting in higher take-home pay.

    The government has proposed changes which would ensure gig workers get life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefit it may determine as helpful. The benefits have not been clearly defined yet, which is making companies anxious as they fear their operational costs will jump.

    Before the horrific incident in Unnao on Thursday, a similar case was reported from UP’s Sambhal a fortnight ago when a 15-year-old girl was raped and burnt as she succumbed to her injuries in Delhi last week. Opposition leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi have raised over half a dozen more shocking incidents of sexual crimes in UP over the past month.

    Minister S Suresh Kumar pointed out that unorganised work force in Karnataka was huge and according to 2011 numbers, it is to the tune of 2 crore people. Protecting their interest and providing them facilities was government's duty.

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