Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Labour Ministry Has Not Agreed To Extend The Working Hours

The labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Wednesday said his ministry has not agreed to amendments proposed by the state governments to extend the working hours for workers under the Factories Act.

“The ministry of labour and employment has received the draft Ordinances/Bills from different state governments through the ministry of home affairs regarding amendment in the existing provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 including extension of working hours under the Factories Act, 1948,” minister Gangwar said in response to a Parliament question.

“This ministry has not agreed to extend the working hours,” the minister said.

While the labour ministry claims it has not approved the demand from states for extending the work hours, workers in at least a dozen states are already working on 12 hour shifts as against 8 hours since the lifting up of the lockdown.

This is primarily to address the shortage of workers who had migrated back to their homes, maintain social distancing and complete the pending orders.

In a separate statement, the minister said the Labour Bureau, which is an attached office of the labour ministry, has been entrusted with the task of conducting the four all-India surveys.

These include an all India survey on migrant workers, survey on domestic workers, survey on employment generated by professionals, and survey on employment generated in the transport sector.

“An expert group has been constituted on September 9, 2020 to examine and finalize the schedules, sampling design and other technical details of all the aforesaid surveys being conducted by the Labour Bureau,” the minister said.

Commenting on the number of jobs created in the country during the pandemic, minister Gangwar said till date more than 80 lakhs vacancies have been mobilized through the National Career Service portal.

“NCS has taken various initiatives from March to December’ 2020 to increase the employment opportunities for the youth,” the minister said.

As per the statement, during the pandemic the NCS portal launched an online job fair module where the complete cycle of job posting to selection of candidate can be completed on the portal.

Besides, a special link for work from home jobs and online training was created on NCS portal home page to give direct access to jobseekers to these jobs, it said, adding facility for online soft skills training to enhance employability of job seekers has also been provided on the portal. All services on NCS are free of cost,” it added.

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