Stressing that underemployment was a bigger problem than unemployment in the country, the Niti Aayog has suggested focusing on sectors such as apparel, electronics, food processing, gems and jewellery, financial services, tourism and real estate to expand formalisation of jobs in the economy.
It offered suggestions to expand activities in these sectors as part of its three-year action agenda, which has replaced India’s five-year planning process associated with its socialist past.
The suggestions highlight the futility of government efforts to club labour laws into four codes unless these are really reformed. “It is important to note that unifying the existing large number of labour laws into four codes without reforms of the laws themselves will serve little purpose,” the NITI Aayog said.
Unless substantive change was brought about either by amending the existing laws or writing them afresh, the current situation of low productivity and low-wage jobs could not be expected to change, it said.
It suggested expansion of fixed-term employment available to the textile industry to all sectors. “The change will encourage employers to rely on regular fixed-term employment instead of contract workers, especially when hiring workers for specific projects or for meeting seasonal demand,” the NITI Aayog said.
The Centre has initiated the process of combining 44 labour laws into four codes in order to simplify them. The codes pertain to labour, industrial relations, social security and welfare, and safety and working conditions.
The suggestions also include the prescription of outgoing Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to set up coastal economic zones. Business Standard has reported that these zones are facing land acquisition hurdles.