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Nasscom to help Karnataka to rewrite labour regulation

BENGALURU: Karnataka on Monday accepted software industry body Nasscom’s offer to help the government rewrite labour regulation in a way that it aligns with the changing requirements of private businesses, state labour minister S Suresh Kumar said.

“We will not only revisit our labour regulation to make them relevant, but will also bring more services online so that there is little or no interface between industries and the labour offices,” Kumar told ET, after a 90-minute interaction with senior executives of technology, biotech, automobile and manufacturing companies.

“There is already a 24×7 labour helpline (155214) available; it is currently a voice-based one,” the minister said. “We will soon introduce WhatsApp and text messaging facilities. Out of the 54 services the labour department provides, 30 services are already online, and 10 services are within the ambit of Sakala,” he added.

Sakala, or timely service, stipulates the timeline within which a government department must provide the service requested by the applicant.

A Nasscom representative said the state’s labour regulation needed to be updated so that they were in sync with the technological changes in the private sector. “We need to reimagine our labour policies,” he said.

An executive from a startup urged the labour minister to exempt technology firms of less than 100 or 50 employees from contract labour regulation because the employees are highly skilled people.

A startup entrepreneur urged the labour department to relax the startups from compulsory registration with the department for a certain period. Startups struggle to find a foothold in the first few years, but on many occasions, a labour inspector shows up as soon as the firm is founded, he said.

An IT company representative called for reworking of regulation related to providing transport to female employees working on night shifts. There are quite a few small things that have thrown up practical problems. For instance, as per current rules, women should be made to sit in the front seat and dropped only at her residence even though she would want to be dropped at a different location.

A woman executive drew the government’s attention to the stringent requirements in the composition of the POSH (prevention of sexual harassment) committee. The regulation requires new members every three years, but companies are finding it difficult to get replacements with people well-versed in investigative skills. Minister Kumar responded saying he would discuss with the home department to see how best the government could address this.

An executive of a multinational technology company complained that the government had made it mandatory for companies to link Aadhaar number of employees with their PF account. But many employees have refused to provide their Aadhaar number citing a Supreme Court judgement in the Aadhaar case. They are finding it difficult to remit their PF contribution in such cases, he said.

Source: Economic Times