One of the main demands of the trade unions is to arrest the price rise. The Minister said that under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, all the Ministries including the Labour & Employment are taking collective steps to contain price rise which is hurting the vulnerable labour of this country. He said that the declining trend of the price rise is indicative of positive results of these initiatives.
He reiterated that employment generation which is another demand of the Central Trade Unions is the main focus of various new initiatives of NDA Government in general and Ministry of Labour of Employment in particular. Ministry is taking several initiatives regarding the employability of the labour force and skill development of the youth. Make in India Campaign will not only boost industrial growth but will also be able to create huge employment opportunities for the youth in India. He informed about the initiatives related to expansion of Apprenticeship Scheme. He told that the amendment bill to the Apprenticeship Act has already been passed by the two Houses of Parliament. Amendment to Apprentice Act would add to the number of seats from 2.9 lakhs to 20 lakhs in next few years. Further, Government is going to reimburse 50% of the stipend money to the apprentices of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Manufacturing Sector. Stipend is now indexed to minimum wages of semi-skilled workers, which assures a minimum payment of 70% in the first year, 80% in the second year and 90% in the third year to the apprentices.
He further said that the Ministry is committed for the welfare of the 93% of the workforce in the unorganised sector and is taking series of initiatives towards this objective. He mentioned that the newly launched Scheme of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is another initiative which will benefit large number of construction workers of this country. Under the scheme, the construction workers would be trained at the site itself and they will be imparted with the necessary skills, so that after the training the construction workers would get better employment with better wages on the basis of certified skills. He further informed that under the scheme, the workers will also be paid at Rs. 35/- on hourly basis for the period of training.
Talking about the initiatives, Minister said that 956 Employment Exchanges all over the country are now being modernized. With this initiative, he said that by March 2015, Employment Exchanges will no longer be mere registration centre for the unemployed youth but would function as Career Guidance Centers. They would guide the youth of this country about the employment opportunities and also counsel them regarding the required skills for a particular job. An instant SMS would also be sent to their mobile numbers, about the available opportunities. He said that the Ministry is in constant dialogue with various State Governments regarding the modernization of Employment Exchanges as Career Counseling Centres.
He reiterated his Government’s commitment for tripartite consultations to address the concerns of Central Trade Unions. Hon’ble Minister requested all the Central Trade Unions to not get carried away by the misinformation being spread. He appealed to all the Central Trade Unions to understand real spirit behind the proposed labour reforms and requested them to convey the same to their members so that the benefits reach to the larger workforce. Minister further stated that he is committed for transparency and accountability in the system and increased employability through all his initiatives of the Labour Ministry.