With the government focusing on cashless transactions post demonetisation, a bill seeking to allow employers of certain business and industrial establishments to pay salaries to their employees either through cheque or electronic means, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Once passed by Parliament, The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will amend Section 6
of the principal Act to enable employers to pay wages to their employees also by cheque or crediting it to their bank accounts.
The Bill was introduced by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya amid din over demonetisation issue. It will also allow state governments to specify industrial or other establishments “which shall pay to every employed person the wages only by cheque or by crediting in his bank account.” The bill states that by adopting the new procedure, complaints regarding non-payment or less payment of minimum wages. It will also serve the objective of “digital and less cash economy”, the bill states.
By making state-level amendments to the Act, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala and Haryana have already made provisions for payment of wages through cheque and electronic transfer. As of now, with the written authorisation of an employee, wages can be given through cheque or transferred to his or her bank account. The Centre has taken various measures to resolve issues raised by transporters and encouraged electronic payments at various places, besides introducing coupon system and exempting tolls at plazas, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
“The Ministry has received representation from Transporters’ Association attracting the attention of this Ministry towards the crisis faced by them due to demonetisation,” Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
He added that the concerns of the transporters have been appraised by the Competent Authority. To overcome the impact of demonetisation, he said that the government is promoting the usage of digital transaction at various places, including toll plazas and petrol pumps and added that the toll tax was also exempted at toll plazas from November 9 to December 2. “Further, coupon system has been introduced at toll plaza to overcome the difficulty of change of high denomination currency,” Radhakrishnan said.
Meanwhile, no end in sight to common man’s bank miseries
Cash starved customers continued to line up outside banks and ATMs on Thursday in the fifth week since demonetisation announcement, even as the government exuded confidence that the situation will improve in the coming weeks with RBI pumping in more Rs 500 notes. Banks across the country are struggling to manage long queues as cash starved customers throng branches to get valid currency notes.
To meet the demand, branches are resorting to cash rationing as they are getting less than their requirement from currency chests. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel was shown black flags at Kolkata airport by Congress workers who were protesting against demonetisation. Patel was in the West Bengal capital to chair the 562nd meeting of the Central Board of the RBI.
According to an RBI release, the Central Board “reviewed the current economic situation, global and domestic challenges and other specific areas of operations of the Reserve Bank of India.” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters that most of the 2.20 lakh ATMs have been recalibrated to dispense new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes.