Modi govt promoting new forms of 'economic slavery': Congress

Modi govt promoting new forms of economic slavery: Congress

New Delhi: Hitting out at the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the labour ministry's proposed raising 'spread-over time' for a worker to 12 hours a day from the current limit of 10-and-half hours, the Congress on Monday attacked the Centre saying that the proposed rules will lead to 41 lakh job losses in the organised sector.

"India abolished slavery centuries ago. Modi government is promoting new forms of 'economic slavery' for exploitation of labour & working class," said Randeep Surjewala, who is general secretary and national spokesperson of Congress.

The order notified on November 19, has drawn flak from many corners because the Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020 passed by Parliament provides for maximum eight working hours in a day.

Surjewala also shared a statement released by the Congress in which the party has alleged that the BJP government, instead of mitigating the over-exploitation of the poor and vulnerable, has now given an open license to oppress the working and manufacturing class.

"Rule 28 of the new rules now provide for 12-hour shifts for factory workers, leaving them little time for long hours of commuting, rest, sending for the household, relaxation and family time i.e. work-life balance. This would have a severe impact on the physical and mental well-being for India's labour and working class," the Congress leader said in a statement.

Terming it "draconian anti-labour rules", the statement claims that the amended the legislation is bound to make 1/3rd of the current workforce in factories across the country "redundant" and "jobless," as industries will now opt for two shifts instead of the prevailing three-shift pattern.

Countering the government's proposal of 12 hours-shifts based on suggestions of the parliamentary committee on labour, Congress cited 2017-2018 Annual Survey of Industries by the government of India, according to which there were 1,22,24,402 individual workers employed in factories alone in India.

However, with the stretched working hours allowed under the new rules, more than 40,65,000 persons will be rendered jobless immediately upon its implementation, the Congress claimed.

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