The government has agreed to reinstate the suspended pilots. It has also agreed to withdraw the recognition of the pilots' union, Indian Commercial Pilots Association ( ICPA )). The pilots will resume work after midnight. I have discussed the issue with Mulnivasi Bamcef President WAMAN Meshram and Colonel Siddharth Barves today on phone. We have to just revive the AMBEDKARITE Legacy of Trade Union Resistance otherwise Indian workers are DESTINED to be ELIMINATED!Finmin clears seven projects worth Rs 7,554 cr under PPP!
Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - SIX HUNDRED THIRTY
G V Ramakrishna: Air India - A stitch in time lost in time
G V Ramakrishna / May 07, 2011, 0:36 IST
Strategic disinvestment in 1998 could have saved the state-owned airline its current problems
The present turmoil in Air India has thrown up many alternatives including privatisation. Memories are short. Recalling the past may be relevant.
Air-India was one of the public sector companies referred to the Disinvestment Commission (DC) in 1987. The commission had as members D Basu, retired chairman of the State Bank of India, Suresh Tendulkar, an eminent economist who later became chairman of the prime minister's economic council, and M R Nair, chairman of Steel Authority of India. I was chairman of the commission.
The commission had a study done by reputed consultants on the condition of Air-India and also met the airline's management. The eighth report of the commission was released to the press the same day it was sent to the government in August 1998.
The DC considered four options for the revival of Air-India. The option that was recommended for reasons analysed in the report, and that would prevent the airline from becoming sick and would ensure a turnaround in its operations, was as follows:
The government should immediately provide Rs 1,000 crore as equity, according to Air-India estimates, for the financial restructuring of the airline, which would raise its paid-up share capital to Rs 1,154 crore.
Simultaneously, the process of inducting a strategic partner was to be initiated, on the basis of global competitive bids, through an issue of fresh equity shares of the face value of Rs 770 crore. This would enhance the airline's paid-up equity capital to Rs 1,924 crore and reduce the government's holding to 60 per cent. The strategic partner should be a consortium of airlines and investors, with at least 25 per cent of the equity brought in by the consortium being held by Indian investors.
The selection of the strategic partner should be through global competitive bidding among pre-qualified bidders. The pre-qualification of bidders should be based on their financial, technical, marketing and managerial capabilities and commitment to Air-India's fleet expansion. A shareholder agreement providing for an appropriate share in the management to the strategic partner would also be necessary.
The government should thereafter disinvest 20 per cent of the total paid-up equity capital by offering 10 per cent to domestic institutional investors at the price paid by the highest bidder for Air-India shares and the remaining 10 per cent to retail investors and employees at a discount. Any shares not taken up by retail investors and employees may be offered to domestic institutional investors. This would eventually bring the government shareholding in Air-India down to 40 per cent.
Following the implementation of these steps, the government and the strategic partner would each hold 40 per cent of the equity capital of Air-India and the remaining would be dispersed among the domestic institutional investors, employees and the public.
The DC suggested appointing global advisors to help conduct the strategic sale and the offer of sale. Together with the steps for strategic sales, the DC recommended the following measures.
The maintenance, engineering and ground support operations of Air-India, which are its inherent strengths, could be hived off as separate companies. In line with the current global trend, this would enable the airline to benefit from outsourcing these services and reduce its overheads.
Currently, Air-India connects major international destinations with all major international airports in India. A well-knit and effective hub-and-spoke arrangement with Indian Airlines would enable Air-India to provide direct and convenient connectivity with all Indian airports to its customers. For this purpose, there should be a clear demarcation of roles that these two airlines have to play in providing better customer service and jointly competing with other international airlines.
A voluntary retirement scheme should be immediately introduced to reduce manpower.
And finally, since the airline is a highly service-oriented industry, Air-India should initiate steps to improve the quality of its service to enhance its market share.
(The writer is former Chairman of the Disinvestment Commission)
Finmin clears seven projects worth Rs 7,554 cr under PPP!
Demise of Communist Marxist Movement in India has created a VACUME in Indian Trade UNION Movement and recent AIR INDIA Strike is the Best ever Indicator. The Trade Union Movement Hijacked by Brahamin Leadership on the name of Ideology has hitherto betrayed Indian Workers! Thanks to the leadership comitted to Zionst Brahaminical Hegemony and LPG Mafia Raj, India Trade Union Movement failed to defend the Workers and rather played STIMULUS for ECONOMIC Reforms!Trade union Filed Miserably and what happened just see!Air India pilots on Friday night called off their strike after 10 days.
The government has agreed to reinstate the suspended pilots. It has also agreed to withdraw the recognition of the pilots' union, Indian Commercial Pilots Association ( ICPA )). The pilots will resume work after midnight. I have discussed the issue with Mulnivasi Bamcef President WAMAN Meshram and Colonel Siddharth Barves today on phone. We have to just revive the AMBEDKARITE Legacy of Trade Union Resistance otherwise Indian workers are DESTNED to be ELIMINATED!
However,Giving into the demands of the pilots, the government has said that the pay parity issue, which is the primary reason behind the strike, will be taken up by a committee which will submit its report by November!Air India pilots' called off their strike on Friday night, putting an end to their ten-day-old agitation that put travelling public to inconvenience and resulted in nearly Rs. 200 crore loss to the ailing national carrier.
Vinay Kumar for HINU reports:
Emerging after the third day of marathon talks with the officials of the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, the pilots, owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), said the strike was being called off from 10 p.m. on Friday following assurances by the Government that all their demands would be looked into in a time-bound manner. All sacked and suspended pilots were being reinstated and the ICPA was also being re-recognised, the ICPA office bearers told reporters.
``We have got a lot of assurances from the Government and we appreciate the intervention by the Civil Aviation Ministry. We have full faith in the Government and all our pilots who were sacked or suspended are being reinstated,'' Capt. Rishabh Kapur, General Secretary of ICPA, the association of nearly 800 pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines, told reporters. He said that all executive pilots who had also joined the agitation would also be resuming their duties.
Capt. Kapur said the Government has also assured them that their demands of pay-parity and all other legitimate grievances would be considered by the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee under a strict time-frame. He said the Committee would give its report in November and it would be implemented in a time-bound manner by the Government. Without taking any names, he said that all irregularities in Air India would also be looked into and whoever was found guilty would be face action.
Asserting that pilots, owing allegiance to ICPA, were part of the larger Air India family, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi assured that the Government would not act with a "vengeance" towards any pilot.
``I am happy that our suggestions were accepted by the pilots who had gone on strike on April 26. We do not have any kind of adverse feeling towards them, we will take them along in our efforts to strengthen Air India. I also assure our esteemed passengers and all employees that we will do our best to improve our service. All sections of employees will be taken care of,'' the Minister assured.
He said the Government would implement the report of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee without any delay. He said the three-member panel, headed by Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari, a retired Supreme Court judge, will give its final report before November. ``We will immediately implement it,'' he told reporters. Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi and Air India Chairman-cum-Managing Director Arvind Jadhav and Joint Secretary Prashant Sukul who led the two-member team that held talks for three days with the striking pilots were also present.
Mr. Ravi appealed to all other employees' union of the national carrier to go to Dharmadhikari Committee to address all issues relating to post-merger integration and pay parity. Replying to queries, he said that he did not want to get into ``blame game'' and added that agreed minutes of the meeting have been signed by the ICPA representatives. The striking pilots were demanding CBI inquiry into allegations of mismanagement of Air India, pay-parity and allowances based on fixed flying hours.
During the period of strike, nearly 80 to 90 per cent of domestic operations of Air India were cancelled and it was incurring a loss of nearly Rs. 20 crore daily.
Meanwhile,A Finance Ministry panel on Wednesday approved seven projects, including widening of roads in five states, estimated to cost Rs 7,553.83 crore under public-private-partnership mode. PPP model of development reduces the chances of employment and job security. It kills all constitutional safeguards along with labour laws to defend the excluded communities SC, ST, OBC and Muslim! It is TRADE UNION Movement`s failure that DISINVESTMENT has become the TREND without resistance and CONTAVCT Job remains only avenue of employment! SEZ and NMIZ projects have no space for Labour Laws! More over the government is all set to kill Labour Laws to accommodate Foreign Capital Inflow!
The Killing of OSAMA BIN Laden deep in Pakistan has shited the WAR FRONT and the floodgates for Global Weapon Industry are wide open with resurgence of Blind Brahaminical Nationalism and the unprecedented Hype for so called National Security linked with War on Terror, Maoist Menace and ISLAMOPHOBIA associated with Hate campaign against the EXCLUDED Communities and ETHNIC Cleansing all on the name of Pakistan. The Ruling Class and Brahaminical Hegemony is UNITED ROCK SOLID to KILL Democracy and Constitution in India to sustain Manusmriti Rule while EXCLUDED Communities have NO IDENTITY to UNITE for. The Legacy of Aboriginal Indigenous resistance LOST and AMBEDKARITE Movement as well as IDEOLOGY Degenrated, Distorted! Economic Reforms means Mass Destruction for the Majority Masses including Excluded Communities and the Working Class, Rural Agrarian India! LPG Mafia Raj Pushes for ECONOMIC Reforms using the Brahaminical Nationalism as ANESTHESIA. CIVIL SOCIETY, Intelligentsia and Media COMBINED plays the HAVOC and the HELL loses!
It is amusing at this juncture to note that Airlines' stocks on Friday witnessed brisk buying and rose by up to 12 per cent on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) boosted by a fall in crude oil prices.
Shares of Jet Airways settled 11.87 per cent higher at Rs 491.55 on BSE. In intra-day trade, the scrip shot up by 13.56 per cent to Rs 499 a piece.
Similarly, low-fare airline Spicejet's shares surged by 10.72 per cent to Rs 44.40, while Kingfisher Airlines jumped 10.46 per cent to Rs 44.35 a piece.
"Decline in crude oil prices and short-covering are the main reasons behind the good performance by the aviation companies in today's trade," Geojit BNP Paribas Research head Alex Matthews said.
London Brent crude lost nearly 9 per cent yesterday as well as today when it was down USD 2.6 to USD 108.22 a barrel. The price of US sweet, light crude oil this morning slid by 5.5 per cent to USD 94.63 a barrel, before recovering during the day at above USD 97.
This in contrast to last few months when global crude oil prices had risen, fuelling inflation pressures. Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark index Sensex today gained 308.23 points at 18,518.81 level.
The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC), headed by Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs R Gopalan, granted the approvals, an official statement said.
The five projects are associated with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and remaining with Ministry of Home Affairs.
OPINION » EDITORIAL
April 29, 2011
Address the crisis at its roots
Air India has managed to remain in the news for the wrong reasons. After years of being in the red and repeatedly asking the Government of India to bale the airline out of its financial mess, it has been unable to sort out its labour issues and long-standing problems with its pilots. Normally, the passengers, who are at the receiving end of such strikes, have no sympathy for the pilots because they may be the highest paid class of employees in an airline. But the present case is somewhat different — at the very least, it has to be understood from a different perspective. Although the passengers are put to hardship, and hundreds of families are losing out on their summer holidays for no fault of theirs, the striking pilots, affiliated to the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), have some legitimate demands that need to be addressed. From 2007, the process of merging the two national carriers — Indian Airlines and Air India — has been going on endlessly at the management and the government levels. Even the muddling-through has not been completed and glaring inequalities between the staff of the two merged entities remain.
The pilots who were originally with Indian Airlines have been demanding parity in pay with their counterparts in Air India. A pilot's monthly pay package depends on the number of hours he flies. For a variety of reasons, the Indian Airlines segment that takes care of the domestic sector has not been able to operate as many flights as it used to. So the take-home salaries of those pilots have dipped. Since pay parity has also not been achieved and the pilots borne on Air India cadre fly on the foreign routes, the differences seem striking. Without addressing this basic issue, arising out of an ill-planned and perhaps even unwise merger, the airline management and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry are dealing with it as an industrial relations exercise — derecognising ICPA and sacking at least eight of the striking pilots. With over 50 flights cancelled each day, the passengers have been left in the lurch. Those who need to fly have been placed at the mercy of private airlines which have silently raised the fares, given the dynamic pricing policy in place. Political interference in the running of the national carrier has also affected Air India over the years, denying it a level-playing field with the private airlines. Good sense demands that the Air India management initiate talks with the pilots to first end the strike, and then resolve the long-standing issue urgently.
Air India pilots end strike
New Delhi: Air India pilots tonight called off their 10-day-old strike after Government agreed to reinstate sacked and suspended pilots, restore recognition to their union and look into their complaints of irregularities.
Over 800 pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, as also executive pilots, will return to work tonight, Capt A S Bhinder, the association president told reporters here.
Emerging after five hours of tough negotiations with the Civil Aviation ministry officials, Bhinder along with ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapur said all the pilots sacked and suspended during the stir would be reinstated.
ICPA, which was derecognised soon after the agitation started, will be recognised again, they said.
"Government has given us assurances that they will look into all our demands including our complaints of irregularities against the airline management," Bhinder said.
One of the major sticking points was the demand of the pilots for compensation of 75 'fixed flying hours allowance', which their erstwhile Air India colleagues get.
The striking pilots have been demanding that all sackings, suspensions and transfers effected during the strike period be revoked, ICPA's recognition be restored, the contempt of court petition filed by Air India management be withdrawn, a CBI probe into the alleged corruption and mismanagement be ordered and all other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.
Asked about their demand for removal of AI CMD Arvind Jadhav, Bhinder said, "our answer to this is that Government has agreed to look into all the irregularities".
Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi expressed happiness over the pilots ending their stir. "Their is no ill feeling and there will be no feeling of vengeance," he said.
Asked about the fate of the contempt notices in the Delhi High Court, he noted that the court has fixed the next date of hearing for May 25.
Air India Pilots Call Off 10-Day Strike That Crippled Carrier's Operations
By Editors: Donna Alvarado - May 6, 2011 10:47 PM GMT+0530
Air India Ltd.'s pilots ended a 10-day walkout that crippled the state-owned airline's operations and hindered efforts to return to profitability after four years of losses.
"We have called off the strike," said Rishabh Kapur, general secretary of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association.
Members of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, representing Air India employees who once worked at Indian Airlines, started the strike on April 27 to demand pay parity with colleagues. Indian Airlines merged with Air India in 2007.
"The effort is now on to normalize operations," Air India spokesman, Kamaljeet Rattan, said in a telephone interview. "The pilots will return to work immediately."
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association would regain the recognition that Air India withdrew after the strike began, Bloomberg UTV reported, citing Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi. The pilot group members who had been fired after the strike began would also be given back their jobs, the channel reported.
Air India canceled more than 1,000 flights because of the strike, which cost it 200 million rupees ($4.46 million) a day in lost sales, Rattan said yesterday. Ticket sales at Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (KAIR), the nation's second-largest domestic carrier by market share, rose after the strike, Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Aggarwal said.
Talks With Banks
The walkout by more than 700 pilots came as Air India held talks with 20 banks on restructuring loans to pare borrowing costs. The debt-reduction plan will need to be reviewed because of strike losses, said Rakesh Sethi, an executive director at Punjab National Bank, one of the carrier's lenders.
Air India had a loss of 34.5 billion rupees in the first half of the last financial year, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi told Parliament in March. That followed a loss of 55.5 billion rupees the previous 12 months, he said.
The PPPAC cleared four-laning of Jabalpur-Katni-Rewa Section of NH 7 in Madhya Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 1,906.83 crore and six-laning of Icchapuram-Srikakulam-Anandpuram section of NH 5 in Andhra Pradesh that would cost Rs 1,764 crore.
Four-laning of Obedullaganj-Budhni Betul section of NH 69 in Madhya Pradesh, four-laning of Orissa border to Aurang section of NH 6 in Chhattisgarh and four-laning of Meerut to Bulandshahar section of NH 235 in Uttar Pradesh were approved.
The Gopalan-headed panel gave its go-ahead to development of Police Head Quarters for Delhi Police at Parliament Street, New Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs 202 crore. It also approved a Police Housing Complex for Delhi Police personnel at Dheerpur here at an estimated cost of Rs 790.58 crore.
Since its constitution in January 2006, PPPAC has granted approval to 219 projects, with an estimated project cost of Rs 213,780.58 crore.
HUL, Bharti Airtel, NTPC, Cognizant among 25 best employers in India: Hewitt
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever, telecom player Bharti Airtel and state-owned NTPC were adjudged among the best employers in India by leading global human resources management company Aon Hewitt.
Aon Hewit in its seventh 'Best Employer in India Study 2011', done in partnership with magazine Outlook Business, has listed the country's 25 companies that provide the best working environment for employees.
Hindustan Unilever is put on top of the list as the best employer, followed by Aditya Birla Group, LG Electronics India , Godrej Consumer Products , Bharti Airtel, NTPC, Becton Dickinson India, Aircel, Wipro and Marriott Hotels India.
According to the study, despite wide variance in industries and company profiles, the firms share some common winning traits such as, alignment of people practices to the overall business strategy of the firm and an environment which creates a positive employment experience.
"Best Employers in India represent organisations that have done an outstanding job of aligning people strategy with articulated business strategy. The Best have been able to offer a compelling career proposition to their employees in a high performing work environment that differentiates needs, expectations and drivers of different employee segments," Aon Hewitt India Project Director Rakesh Malik said.
These companies are achieving superior business results, through better execution of people programs, more investment in high quality staff with higher average salary and more rounded skills development.
The top employers include companies from various sectors such as banking, manufacturing, IT & ITes, telecom, hospitality, FMCG and consumer durable, with staff ranging from less than 1,000 to over 7,0000 employees.
Other companies that figure on the list include Kotak Mahindra Bank , Scope International, Dr Reddy's Laboratories , Whirlpool of India , Maruti Suzuki India , Canon India, Ford Group, Tata Teleservices, Mindtree , NIIT , Tata Steel , Jubiliant Foodworks, Cognizant Technology Solutions, FirstSource Solutions and Aegis.
The companies were judged on the various criterion including, organisation score on a combination of the overall engagement and alignment scores, scores on leadership, diversity and development.
5 MAY, 2011, 12.53AM IST, DHEERAJ TIWARI,ET BUREAU
PSUs may get to call bids, park more with Pvt banks
NEW DELHI: The government may allow central public sector enterprises to call for competitive bids from banks before they decide to park their surplus funds. It may also permit these companies to keep more of their surplus money with private banks.
The move is expected to bring higher returns for state-run firms as competitive bids will ensure they get the best possible deposit rate from banks. The central public sector units and they together have an estimated 3 lakh crore of investible surplus.
The government had barred these companies from inviting bids from banks in 2008 and directed them to park at least 60% of their surplus funds with public sector banks. The measures aimed to help state-run banks tide over the liquidity squeeze.
But the Department of Public Sector Enterprises is now proposing more freedom for public sector units in parking surplus funds.
"We will take up this issue with the finance ministry," said Bhaskar Chatterjee, secretary, Department of Public Sector Enterprises.
State-run companies have argued before the department that the restrictions on bids and limit on how much they can park with private banks causes them a loss of about 3,000 crore every year.
"The finance ministry should look at removing this cap and administrative pricing regime at a time when the central bank itself is favouring decontrolled saving accounts rate for retail customers," said a senior official with a state-run company.
Public sector banks agree that if the restrictions are lifted, they may have to offer higher rates to retain these deposits. They, however, say that the impact is exaggerated as companies shop around informally even now for the best rate.
They said deposit rates could rise between 25 and 30 basis points. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percent. The 3 lakh crore of corpus would at these rates earn about 750 crore to 900 crore extra every year.
A company like Coal India that has almost 36,000 crore in deposits could earn nearly 100 crore extra every year.
But some of the smaller private banks may be ready to pay more for the deposits, as in absence of a large retail network they depend on such bulk deposits for the growth of their business.
"If the credit growth is strong we will compete for funds and the rates could rise by 50-100 basis points," said an official with a private bank.
The current one-year rate for bulk deposits among all banks ranges between 9% and 9.5%.
Though the interest on these funds is more than that on retail deposits of comparable maturity, banks prefer bulk deposits because they tend to be more stable.
"These are stable funds that will stay with us for a year," a bank official said.
Pakistan needs to come out of its India centric mindset: US
Washington: "Pakistan's strategic view and posture vis-a-vis India is, at least in this senator's judgment, and I think for many people who so talk about it is absurd in this modern context," senator John Kerry, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, said at a congressional hearing.
"Both nuclear nations, both with much bigger interests that would take them, under good reasoning, to, you know, a very different conclusion, but there just seems to be a kind of, you know, automatic historical, cultural desire to keep focusing on India.
"And it is depleting their ability to focus on their own economy, on their own needs, to learn that they have increased their nuclear arsenal, when, by most people's judgment, they already had a bigger one than India and an absolutely adequate capacity to deter as well as to destroy within the region simply doesn't make sense," Kerry said at the first of the series of hearings on Pakistan convened by him.
Resorting to rhetoric, Pakistan Army and the government yesterday warned India against any Abbottabad-like "misadventure", saying it would be responded to "very strongly" that could lead to a "terrible catastrophe".
Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member, argued that the US should not cut off its relationship with Pakistan.
"Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous. It would weaken our intelligence gathering; limit our ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan; further complicate military operations in Afghanistan; end cooperation on finding terrorists; and eliminate engagement with Islamabad on the security of its nuclear weapons," he said.
"When I visit Pakistan, I get the sense that the Pakistani business community, the political classes, get it that they have no future if they're at constant war mentally with India. I think a lot of people get it now. But the national security establishment, which is a rather important part of Pakistan, still doesn't get it," said Michael Krepon, co-founder and senior associate South Asia, Henry Stimson Center.
The US ties with India are going to continue to get better, as they should.
"And Pakistan's national security establishment is going to feel more insecure as a result," he said.
"We can't convince Pakistan's military to befriend India. We can work with them to have a more normal relationship with India, especially in the areas of trade and regional development. The biggest challenge facing Pakistan's national security establishment is to recognise how growing links to extremist groups mortgage that country's future," he said.
6 MAY, 2011, 08.56AM IST, SAUMYA BHATTACHARYA,ET BUREAU
Skills training is the next big thing in business
NEW DELHI: Question - What's a former head of a television news broadcaster doing on the streets of Sangrur district of Punjab? Answer: Ravina Raj Kohli, who has made an unlikely career switch by founding a skill training firm called JobCorp, was doing some rural research. And she's going to be doing a lot more of it in the days ahead. Kohli's lofty ambition is to train at least 1.7 million people in different trades over the next 10 years.
Cut to the north-east where Sushil Ramola, a former CEO of SRF , was recently finalising the rollout of a centre for vocational educational training in Assam. The co-promoter, MD and CEO of BASIX Academy for Building Lifelong Employability (B-ABLE), aims to provide a livelihood to 1 million less-educated and under-skilled in the next 10 years.
Kohli and Ramola are part of a growing and unusual tribe that is flocking to grab a share of the skill training market in India, predominantly through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Activist and retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi is looking for a pan India footprint and a tie-up with NSDC. Bedi has already teamed up with Empower Pragati Vocational and Staffing, an NSDC partner. Navjyoti Community College , a project of Navjyoti India Foundation - set up by Bedi - will mobilise and provide basic training to its students in computers and spoken English to work at the BPO unit of Empower. Empower will then assess and hire the students.
Says Kiran Bedi, "The Indian economy is going to need plenty of skilled workforce in the next decade. It's time children and youth attain grade-specific competencies and basic skills. The current education system fails to capture and address these issues."
The NSDC has approved a total of 29 projects, including three sector councils, since February 2010. These projects collectively have a mandate to skill more than 40 million in different vocations over 10 years. The NSDC is a not-for-profit company is a unique public-private partnership set up by the ministry of finance. The aim: to skill or up-skill 500 million Indians by 2022.
Now that's a huge opportunity - estimated at $22 billion by NSDC - for budding, proven and serial entrepreneurs. A rash of promoters has got the NSDC's go-ahead to set up skilling ventures. The rush includes non-profit entities like Pratham Education Foundation and NGOs like International Association for Human Values; for-profit social businesses like B-ABLE, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of micro-finance institution BASIX; established business houses like Sunil Mittal's Bharti Group , which has set up Centum Learning; and entrepreneurs just keen to diversify into an emerging sector - former investment banker Surga Thilakan and an MS in Computer Science, Sreeraman Vaidyanathan, both from IIM-A class of 2005, have founded iSTAR Skill Development. Vaidyanathan ran a start up in the retail leisure entertainment sector called BrewHaHa.
Says NSDC CEO Dilip Chenoy: "I do not think it is a gold rush or the latest fad (but) there are a lot of people looking to do work in livelihood and related areas." Chenoy adds that some are doing it for profit and some as philanthropy. The common link: everybody wants scale.
So how does this work? The NSDC funds and incentivises projects; this involves providing financing, either as loans or equity, and grants, and supporting financial incentives to select private sector initiatives to improve financial viability through tax breaks. "The social sector is the new sunrise sector. Being a for-profit social enterprise, we can scale up through the NSDC," says Kohli. JobSkills, the vocational education training part of Kohli's company JobCorp, has received debt funding of Rs 18.4 crore.
This could well be the next big thing in Indian business. Ramola says the opportunity - "building a locally employable, nationally demanded and globally prepared skilled workforce" - is "on the lines of what India has achieved in IT services." iSTAR's Vaidyanathan adds that his objective is to create the equivalent of the Indian telecom revolution. That revolution will not happen overnight, but for the likes of Vaidyanathan their time starts now.
29 APR, 2011, 05.39AM IST, WRITANKAR MUKHERJEE,ET BUREAU
India Inc wants GenNext to take over the hard way
KOLKATA: Rishad Premji, Roshni Nadar, Ashni Biyani, Nandini Piramal, Pallavi Gopinath, Tanya Dubash and Nisaba Godrej, the list is a long one. As GenNext joins the family business, it's clear the youngsters will not have it easy.
While bearing the family name may ensure a position on the Board of Directors eventually, globalisation and increased competition is forcing these youngsters to work their way to the top, sometimes from the position of a trainee. In other words, India's top business houses are grooming their youngsters to take over, but putting them through the wringer first.
"There is a seachange in the way promoters are grooming their young today, compared with even a decade ago," says Kavil Ramachandran , professor of family business and wealth management at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.
"Gone are the days when a youngster would join the family business straight out of college, and be groomed by an uncle or grandfather. Grooming is a much more serious business now, and business families ensure their youngsters get the best education, usually at business schools abroad, and even make them work at corporate jobs in other organisations, before they induct them into their own."
Observers feel the change has been triggered by the challenges of globalisation, and the growing competition Indian businesses face from MNCs. An estimated 95% of all registered companies in India are familyrun businesses and succession planning has become imperative, with an influx of talent from outside the company as well. Given this situation, family-run organisations today are faced with the dilemma of whether kin should continue the legacy or a talented and capable outsider take over instead.
Indian business houses would prefer to keep it in the family, which is why they are sparing no expense to make sure their youngsters are prepped with both education and experience. So Rishad Premji, an MBA from Harvard Business School, joined his father, Azim Premji's billion-dollar IT empire Wipro in 2007, after acquiring some experience working with Bain & Co and GE.
He became chief strategy officer last year, after toiling in two other functions. Nisaba Godrej, who has a BSc degree from Wharton in Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and Tanya, a graduate of Brown University in the US, are now in leadership roles having worked in various other functions in the company. Shiv Nadar's daughter Roshni, executive director and CEO of HCL Corporation , the holding company for HCL Infosystems and HCL Technologies , is an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
But she has also done stints at Sky News in the UK, and CNN. Chairman of Hotel Leelaventure, Capt CP Krishnan Nair's sons Vivek and Dinesh, who are on their way to succeed him, have had their training at Cornell University. Ajay and Swati Piramal's daughter Nandini, who graduated from Oxford University and got her MBA degree from Stanford University, honed her skills at Allergan and McKinsey before joining the family business.
Expedite tax information exchange between countries: Pranab Mukherjee
HANOI: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said countries need to expedite the process of signing agreements that will allow them to swap information on tax defaulters.
To avoid tax in their respective countries, people park their undeclared funds in jurisdictions where regulations are lax and which provide facilities to conceal such assets.
Such countries or jurisdictions, have in the past cited banking or privacy laws to avoid sharing data on tax defaulters with other nations.
"G20 has declared that tackling non-cooperative jurisdictions will also be one of its priorities. There is an urgent need to make much more progress on exchange of tax information," Mukherjee said at a luncheon meeting on G-20 issues at the annual general meeting of the Asian Development Bank here.
India has already signed tax information exchange agreements with the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.
Gayatri Projects, Jayshree Tea, Kale Consultants get FDI nod
Gayatri Projects has received government approval to raise 100 million rupees for various projects through issue of warrants overseas, a government statement said on Tuesday.
India approved 21 foreign direct investment proposals worth about 10.27 billion rupees while rejecting nine, it said.
It also approved a proposal by private lender Dhanlaxmi Bank for 55 million rupees to increase foreign investment to 74 percent from 49 percent now.
Jayshree Tea has also received approval to raise 600 million rupees, it said, adding, unlisted Lokmat Media's proposal to raise 138.2 million through share sale was approved.
It also approved Kale Consultants' proposal to raise 975.1 million rupees through issue of warrants.
A proposal by logistics firm Arshiya International to issue warrants was rejected, it added.
Flood of cross border deals takes April M&A tally to $4.4 bn
Foreign companies and their subsidiaries continued to remain bullish on Indian businesses, as inbound transactions worth USD 2.28 billion were announced in the month of April, taking the total M&A deal value to a whopping USD 4.4 billion (around Rs 19,800 crore).
According to global consultancy firm Grant Thornton, as many as 64 M&A deals worth USD 4.4 billion were announced in the month of April.
Out of the total USD 4.4 billion, the total value of outbound deals wherein Indian companies acquired businesses outside India in April was USD 1.91 billion through 21 deals and the total value of inbound deals was USD 2.28 billion (17 deals), the report added.
"We are seeing a flood of cross border deals in the market and they comprise almost 95 per cent of the total value of M&A deals for April and 88 per cent for the period January to April, 2011. Inbound deals have picked up significantly over outbound," Harish HV, Partner, India Leadership Team at Grant Thornton India said.
The fears of global recession have gone and corporates are back to looking for deals on a global platform, he added.
Domestic transactions have taken a back seat, as the total value of domestic deals in April this year was USD 0.21 billion via 26 deals as compared to USD 1.03 billion through 60 deals.
A sector-wise analysis shows that oil and gas was the most targeted sector accounting for 43 per cent of the total deal value driven by Vedanta's 11 per cent stake acquisition in Cairn India from Petronas for USD 1.5 billion.
The other major deals include Genpact's acquisition of Headstrong Corporation for USD 550 million, Essar Energy's acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell's Stanlow refinery in northwest England for USD 350 million and the Aditya Birla-Domsjo Fabriker buyout for USD 340 million.
The top five M&A deals accounted for 69 per cent of the total M&A deal values, Grant Thornton said.
In the private equity segment, the deal values in the month of April amounted to USD 0.73 billion through (38 deals) as compared to USD 0.83 billion via 35 deals in the corresponding month last year.
"Private Equity is growing in a steady manner and has touched a 3-year high of USD 2.6 billion with an increase in deal numbers. PEs are looking at spreading themselves quite well by increasing number of transactions and hence average deal sizes have come down," Harish said.
6 MAY, 2011, 06.38AM IST,BLOOMBERG
Surging global food prices add to Inflation
PARIS: World food prices rose to near a record in April as grain costs advanced, adding pressure to inflation that is accelerating from Beijing to Brasilia and spurring central banks to raise interest rates. An index of 55 commodities rose to 232.1 points from 231 points in March, the United Nations' Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report on its website on Thursday. The gauge climbed to an all-time high of 237.2 in February before dropping 2.6% in March.
The cost of living in the US rose at its fastest pace since December 2009 in the 12 months ended in March, the same month in which Chinese consumer prices rose by the most since 2008. The European Central Bank raised interest rates on April 7, joining China, India, Poland and Sweden in a bid to control inflation partly blamed on food costs. "There seems to be some easing for a lot of commodities, but whether this is demand rationing, we have to wait and see," Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO, said before the report.
"If the weather is good, if plantings expand, I think we could see some relief in food prices." Sugar prices slumped 18% in New York last month, while milk futures fell 1.8% in Chicago, US wholesale beef prices dropped 3.4% and pork declined 2.2%. Wheat prices rose 5% in Chicago after falling the previous two months and corn jumped 9.1%. Corn has almost doubled in the past 12 months on speculation that more planting in the US, the world's largest grower, won't be sufficient to rebuild global stocks.
Wheat surged 57% over the same period and soyabeans gained 39% as flooding ruined crops in Canada and Australia and drought reduced harvests in Russia and Europe. Of the grains, corn "is the most worrisome" , Abbassian said in a statement. "We would need above-average , if not record, yields in the US," however, "plantings so far have been delayed considerably due to cool and wet conditions on the ground," he said. The FAO's gauge of grain prices , which account for 27% of the overall index, jumped to its highest level since June 2008, advancing to 265.1 points in April from 251.2 the previous month.
India, Israel planning to create $50 mn agriculture fund
India and Israel are in talks to create a fund worth $50 million for mutual cooperation in the agriculture sector.
Both the governments are planning to create a fund dedicated to agricultural co-operation with each side contributing $25 million each, Israel Agriculture Minister Orit Noked said here today.
The minister was speaking at an interactive session on Indo-Israel Cooperation in Agriculture and Food Processing organised by the industry chamber CII.
India is a huge market and has a great potential in the agriculture sector, while Israel has strengths in the areas of research and development, irrigation technology, dairy and biotechnology, Noked said.
There is a scope for both the countries to collaborate in this area and learn from each others expertise, she added.
Israeli Ambassador Mark Sofer said, "The key areas for co-operation are management of water resources through efficient irrigation technology, agro technology, post-harvest know-how to minimise wastages and dairy development through breed improvement."
Last month, Haryana and Israel had formed a joint working group to promote agricultural co-operation between the two nations.
Under this, Israel would train Haryana's agricultural development officers and the state would emulate Israel's model of building reservoirs for rain water harvesting.
During 2009-10, the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $3.8 billion.
India's major exports to Israel include precious stones, metals, chemical products, textile and textile articles, while imports comprise chemical and mineral products, base metals, machinery and transport equipment.
Govt tightens Deemed Export benefit scheme, to save Rs 1800 cr
After detecting several cases of misuse of incentives, the Commerce Ministry has tightened the norms governing the Deemed Export benefit scheme , a move expected to save about Rs 1,800 crore to the exchequer annually.
The Deemed exports refer to those transactions in which goods supplied to the users do not leave the country and payment for such supplies is received either in Indian currency or in foreign exchange.
Generally supply of goods to projects financed by multi-lateral or bilateral agencies qualify for these benefits.
However, concerned over the cases of misuse, especially in the power sector, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has decided to send recovery notices to those under its scanner, sources said.
The decision to make the rules tough follows a meeting of Policy Interpretation Committee of DGFT held in March.
"By taking these measures, the government would save around Rs 1,800 crore annually," a source said.
It has been decided that the deemed exports would not be available if the bill of entry is in the name of authority executing the project.
Besides it was also clarified that supplies made to the project authority by an entity other than the main contractor of the sub-contractor shall not be eligible for the incentives.
However, the decision has not gone down well with some of the independent power producers who said the government should not throw baby with the bath tub.
"If there are issues with the scheme, they can take corrective actions but do not discard the scheme,' an industry expert said.
The Deemed export benefit include rebate on duty chargeable on imports or excisable material used in the manufacture of goods which are supplied to the projects eligible.
6 MAY, 2011, 08.40AM IST, VIKAS DHOOT & SARITA SINGH,ET BUREAU
Manufacturing policy aims to protect small-business interests, focus on value-added goods
NEW DELHI: After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called India's widening trade deficit vis-A -vis China 'untenable', the government has decided to factor the lop-sided trade basket into its manufacturing sector strategy.
In 2010, India's trade deficit with China was over $20 billion, equating its exports to China. The two nations are targeting bilateral trade of $100 billion by 2015 - up from $60 billion in 2010.
But the current situation where India imports high-value goods and capital equipment and exports raw materials like iron ore and cotton to China is unsustainable, as the PM stressed. Even the National Security Agency (NSA) recently raised the dependence on imports of capital goods, like power plants, from China as a security threat.
"There was a time when we couldn't afford imports," said a senior government official. "If the trend with China persists, we may again be unable to import," he warned.
To avoid such an eventuality, India's manufacturing policy will focus on producing what the world and the country need - more value-added goods and protecting job-creating small scale industries that can't compete with cheap Chinese goods, respectively.
The Prime Minister's high-level committee on manufacturing is expected to meet soon to reconcile three manufacturing policy blueprints on its table - a draft by the industry ministry, a strategy fleshed out by the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council and a plan being worked out by the Planning Commission .
The issue of curbing cheap Chinese power plant imports, which has been hanging fire for over a year after an expert group led by Commission member Arun Maira suggested urgent action, will now get dovetailed into the manufacturing policy review by the PM.
Heavy industries minister Praful Patel, who is responsible for domestic power equipment production, is learnt to have spoken to Maira about the issue recently. L&T Power president Ravi Uppal said the NSA's concerns on Chinese imports are valid and time is running out.
"We should have acted before. The government should have allowed local manufacturers to create capacities to meet the domestic demand for power. Letting the Chinese free is like killing the baby in the cradle," Uppal told ET.
In power equipment alone, orders worth $50 billion have been placed with the Chinese for plants to generate 80,000 MW of equipment - 80% of the power capacity creation target for the XIIth Five-Year Plan.
"It is not just power equipment that we are importing a lot from China - there are other capital goods like telecom equipment, railway rolling stocks and so on," said a senior official working on the manufacturing plan. "This is not economically sustainable and certainly undesirable in the security context," he explained.
Job creation is as important a consideration as ensuring a trade balance.
"If all our needs are met by cheap imports, small scale industries won't be able to create jobs. Our silk weavers are dying because they can't compete with Chinese silk. So we have to create jobs, create depth and be competitive," he said.
6 MAY, 2011, 03.27AM IST,OUR POLITICAL BUREAU
Major companies will be asked by Environment Ministry to have corporate environmental policy
NEW DELHI: All major companies and project developers will be asked to have a corporate environmental policy. The Environment Ministry aims to "promote environmental consciousness and secure compliance," by this measure.
The ministry is suggesting a system of self-regulation to ensure that projects and companies do not violate environmental laws and regulations.
The intent of the corporate environmental policy would be to "protect" the project stakeholders in a manner akin to the protection afforded to company stakeholders through financial systems and audit mechanisms. By integrating environmental concerns, it is hoped that the number of violations will be significantly reduced.
A senior ministry official said, "Unlike corporate social responsibility , environmental responsibility is backed by law. The government can take action under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act ."
To begin with all central public sector undertaking, coal-based thermal power plants with generation capacities of 500MW, integrated steel plant projects with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum or more, and cement plants with a capacity of 3 million tonnes or more per annum, and petroleum refining industries will be required to put in place a corporate environmental responsibility policy.
This will be a requirement for consideration of clearance of projects. For all other projects, the respective expert appraisal committees and the forest advisory committee will decide, depending on the sector, location and size of projects if such a policy is mandatory.
The ministry is of the view that by integrating environmental concerns into the mainstream of corporate policies would be beneficial for companies. The policy could well operate as an early warning system, ensuring that projects are not held up on account of violations of conditions of environmental and forest clearances.
In the recent past, several companies, which have been found to be in violation of environmental laws and regulations, have argued that the stoppage of their projects has resulted in financial loss.
The ministry is of the view that a corporate environmental policy could help ensure that these laws and regulations are not violated.
A well-laid down policy would ensure adherence to the conditions of environmental and forest clearances , as well as make sure that the company functions in conformity with it. For this, it is suggested that the specific persons are designated to ensure adherence to the policy as well as compliance with environmental laws and regulations. The ministry's April 26 order suggests that deviations and violations of the law, as found by the ministry or other public authorities, should be reported to the company's board, and be reflected on the company website and annual report.
IT majors spawning new breed of entrepreneurs
Bangalore: As entrepreneurship gains momentum across the country, supported by greater risk capital and a new class of angel investors, more employees of IT majors are leaving their comfortable jobs to launch their own ventures.
When the angel investor mentoring a raw start-up is the former chief technology officer of IT bellwether Infosys Technologies, the probability of success for the fledgling company rises exponentially.
The Bangalore-based start-up, Customer XPs, is founded by a team that was earlier part of the products division at Infosys. The new start-up company has built a software product based on artificial intelligence. The product is now live on the portals of ICICI Bank and is expected to rake in a slew of new customers across telecom, retail, insurance, healthcare and airline industries, reports the Economic Times.
Sharad Hegde is the non-founder employee of Customer XPs, who previously led the development of Finacle, Infosys' core banking solution, during his two-year stint with the Infosys. He says that his long experience with Infosys, apart from general techniques, marketing and contacts with other banks, helped him to bring value to the new company.
Nasscom vice-president Sangeeta Gupta says that they are observing an increase in number of IT employees launching their own ventures. There are some 1,600 tech start-ups in the country and about 80 percent of them are being launched by experienced IT employees, working in India and overseas.
Rivi Varghese, founder-CEO of Custome rXPs says that customer relationship management software is mainly built on transactions. Their software is based on intelligence that works based on our likes and dislikes.
Hegde says that Customer XPs is founded by a mature set of people. Coming from Infosys, they have the same kind of value system - trust, mutual respect and passion. He along with his wife Anuradha Hegde are now the primary mentors of the start-up, besides having put in angel investment of about Rs. 3 crore.
Another Bangalore-based start-up, Prakat Solutions, is building a network of qualified testers to perform independent testing over the cloud and aims to have 10,000 testers in the coming years.
Anuradha Biswas, chief executive of Prakat, quit her job in December 2009 to launch her own venture, which offers software testing services. She was the co-founder of the software testing services group at Infosys, growing it to 8,000 people and $300 million in revenues over eight years.
She says this crowd-sourcing model includes students, housewives, retired professionals and people on sabbatical, who can remotely access, process and store information on computers 'in the clouds' or data centers. For example, if the nature of work is in the area of energy, we will outsource the work to some professor who has expertise in that area, she said.
She decided to go on her own as tier-I companies concentrate only on bigger customers and she was interested to tap small and medium enterprises, which is a huge opportunity.
Source: BPO Watch India
Genpact Q1 net up 28 percent at $36 million
New Delhi: BPO major Genpact on Thursday posted a 28% jump in net income at $36.1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 and has forecast strong full-year revenue.
The BPO firm posted a 23% jump in net income from 13% announced last quarter, driven by its recent acquisition of IT firm Headstrong and an improved market for outsourcing in the US.
Revenues stood at $331 million for the quarter, which is up 14.7% from $288.2 million in the same quarter of 2010. Analyst was expecting sales of $326 million.
Pramod Bhasin, Genpact's President and CEO said that with the acquisition of Headstrong, the company now expect revenue growth of 23-25% for the year. This reflects Genpact full year revenue growth of 10-13% plus 8 months of revenues from Headstrong.
The company had announced the acquisition of consulting and IT services firm Headstrong Corporation for a cash consideration of $550 million.
He said that revenues from business process management services continue to be their growth engine. Revenue growth from GE, Genpact's largest client, almost remained flat at 0.7% from the same period last year. GE contributes about 34% to Genpact's sales.
Genpact counts BPO firms WNS and EXL Service as its competitors, which have been on the block. Genpact's sales had grown 12% last year compared to the Indian BPO industry's growth of about 15%.
About 87.2% of Genpact's revenues for the quarter came from BPO services, while IT services accounted for 12.8% of the Q1 revenue.
Revenues from clients other than GE, referred to as global client revenues (contributing about 65.9% to Genpact's revenues) grew 23.6%.
As of March 2011, Genpact had about 45,500 employees worldwide, an increase from approximately 41,300 as of March 31, 2010. The company's attrition rate for the quarter was 29%, measured from day one of employment, an increase from 23% for the same period in 2010.
The company had about $481 million in cash and cash equivalents and short term investments as of March 31, 2011.
Source: BPO Watch India
Sensex snaps 9-session losing streak, up 225 points
Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex snapped its nine-session losing streak by gaining 225 points in early trade on Friday on renewed buying on easing of macroeconomic worries in view of a sharp fall in crude oil prices.
Bargain hunting emerged after the last nine days losing streak. The market breadth was strong. PSU OMCs rose as crude oil prices slumped. Crude oil prices slumped the most in the early trade falling below $100 a barrel.
Among the 30-member Sensex pack, 21 stocks, advanced while the rest declined. ICICI Bank, Tata Motors and TCS rose by between 1.48% to 2.99%. India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp gained 1.25% on reports company will launch a follow-on public offering on July 5, 2011.
HPCL, Indian Oil Corporation and BPCL rose by between 1.6% to 2.35%. The BSE benchmark Sensex resumed higher at 18,289.78 and shot up further to 18,480.93 before quoting at 18,435.63 at 1015 hours, showing a net gain of 225.05 points, or 1.24%.
The NSE 50-share Nifty also moved up by 57.65 points, or 1.06%, to 5,517.50 from its last close.
Oil prices rebound in Asia after heavy sell-off
Singapore: Oil prices rebounded in Asia today as traders snapped up bargains a day after New York's main contract suffered its biggest fall in more than two years.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in June, rose 78 cents to $100.58 a barrel after diving more than eight% to $99.80 yesterday -- the first time it had fallen below $100 since March 16.
The WTI's fall was its heaviest since September 29, 2008, at the beginning of the global financial crisis, when prices plunged more than nine%, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for June delivery gained $1.28 to $112.08 after it slid more than $10 overnight.
Oil markets were recouping some of yesterday's losses as traders capitalised on cheap prices to buy back into the market, said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
"Prices are up but this is not unusual after a massive sell-off, we are observing some market participants considering this as a buying opportunity," he told AFP.
Prices were also pushed down by a stronger dollar, which gained against the euro after European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet suggested the lender was growing more dovish on interest rates, Shum added.
"What triggered the selloff was really the strong US dollar versus the euro when the ECB indicated the bank would not raise interest rates in the eurozone," he said.
"That caused the US dollar to make big gains against the euro." A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced crude more expensive to traders using other currencies.
However, Shum said he was confident that crude prices would remain supported "around the triple-digit territory." "After all the geopolitical issues that caused prices to rally 20% over the year has not changed," he said.
Oil had seen huge gains in recent months on the back of upbeat sentiment towards the state of the global economy -- with the United States posting positive data on manufacturing and jobs -- as well as uprisings in the crude-rich Middle East.
But sentiment has been hit this week after the US released a series of jobs figures that seemed to dash earlier confidence. Phillip Futures investment analyst Ong Yi Ling told AFP: "Now that US economic growth is slowing, such high crude oil prices are not sustainable."
Ong added that traders were keenly watching the US jobs report to be released later as a barometer for the state of the economy of the world's largest oil consumer.
"If there is a surprise on the downside, prices will turn bearish," she said.
Kasab was curious to know about Laden's killing
Mumbai: Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who is currently lodged in high security Arthur Road jail here, appeared very curious and asked a volley of questions on hearing the killing of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden, a jail official said today.
"Kasab had overheard about the Laden's killing on Wednesday while the security men guarding him were talking about it. He then curiously started inquiring to know how Laden was killed," the official said.
The gunman, who has been awarded death in the 26/11 case, said 'jihad me uski jaan gayi' (Laden lost his life in holy war)', the official informed.
Kasab, who often strikes a conversation with the security men, wanted to know as to who had killed Laden and where he died and all, the official said.
"But he was not told anything in detail. We simply told him that Laden was killed by US security forces in Pakistan," he said.
Almost 10 years after the 9/11 terror strike, 54-year-old Laden was killed by the US forces on Monday after being hounded in special operation in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
The Bombay High Court, on February 21 this year, confirmed the death penalty awarded to Kasab by the trial court, while dismissing the government's appeal against acquittal of two Indians -- Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
Kasab is currently in a solitary confinement in a bomb-proof egg-shaped cell at Arthur Road jail. He has also sent a proposal to the Supreme Court through the jailer, saying he wished to appeal against the High Court judgement.
The apex court is yet to accept the appeal.
Kanimozhi bail decision deferred to Saturday
New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Friday deferred till Saturday its decision on the bail plea by DMK parliamentarian Kanimozhi, named a co-conspirator in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said the case will be taken up Saturday.
Besides Kanimozhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and a stakeholder in Kalaignar TV, the court will also take decision Saturday on the bail pleas of the other accused, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal of Kusegaon Realty.
In her plea, Kanimozhi contended that she had no "wrong intentions".
Her lawyer Ram Jethmalani argued that she had not signed any document nor attended any board meetings of Kalaignar TV.
He asserted that the DMK leader was just a shareholder and had nothing to do with the transfer of money in the company.
"My misfortune is that I am the daughter of Karunanidhi and an MP. I have 20 percent share in Kalaignar TV. Show me one overt act of mine which relates to the offence," Jethmalani said, arguing on behalf of the Rajya Sabha member.
"The overt act committed by the company can't be attributed to a person who is a mere shareholder and did not take part in any decision which indicates about her complicity in the case."
"I have not absconded nor interfered with the evidence. I was just summoned and I obeyed court orders. I have no wrong intention and bail is my right. It should be granted," Jethmalani said.
While Jethmalani made the arguments in the packed courtroom, Kanimozhi remained composed and calm.
All the 14 named in the first and supplementary charge sheets of the CBI in the 2G scam were to appear before the court Friday, but Karim Morani of Cineyug Films got an exemption as he is admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital.
His bail application will be heard May 10.
Among those who were present in the court were former communications minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa.
Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech, and three officials of Reliance ADAG -- Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara -- are also accused in the case.
Raja, Chandolia, Behura, Shahid Balwa, Asif Balwa, Agarwal, Goenka, Chandra, Doshi, Nair and Pipara are at present in judicial custody.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in the allocation of airwaves to telecom operators that caused huge losses to the national exchequer.
ED 'chargesheets' Hasan Ali, Tapuriah for money laundering
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate today chargesheeted Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan and his associate Kashinath Tapuriah in a case of alleged money laundering.
Khan (53), is alleged to have stashed huge amount of black money abroad including over USD 8 billion in the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) in Zurich.
Khan was arrested in Mumbai on March 7 after several hours of grilling in the wake of the Supreme Court's criticism of the government over its inaction against the black money hoarders, particularly him.
The arrest of Tapuriah, a Kolkata businessman, followed soon. Both are lodged in judicial custody in Mumbai.
Khan is also under the scanner for terror links as he is suspected to have laundered money of international arms trader Adnan Khashoggi, who is alleged to be associated with terrorist outfits.
There have been allegations against Khan of money laundering, engaging in hawala operations, transferring cash and valuable assets outside the country by unlawful means with the help of foreign nationals and forgery.
He has been accused of obtaining passports from Mumbai and Patna using forged documents.
Puducherry governor Iqbal Singh has also been questioned by the ED for helping Khan in securing the travel document from Regional Passport Office in Patna through a Bihar Congress politician Amlendu Kumar Pandey, who is also under investigation. The statements of Singh and Khan are said to be part of the charge sheet.
Khan, according to ED, has reportedly confessed to stealing antiques belonging to the family of Nizams, the erstwhile rulers of Hyderabad state, from the famous Salar Jung Museum and selling them to off-shore customers for Rs 50 lakh.
Commandos on call for Mumbai's rich
Mukesh Ambani is one of many VIPs who are hiring retired SPG personnel as bodyguards
Mumbai: They are among India's most important people, are regular fixtures on international rich lists and live lives most people would be envious of. Now, they are also looking for the kind of security PM Manmohan Singh and other VIPs in India get.
But in this case, they will pay for it.
Mumbai's rich and famous are increasingly hiring retired SPG commandos as well as defence and paramilitary officers who have been part of the elite special protection group (SPG) to beef up their security.
A source close to Mukesh Ambani admitted that the billionaire is hiring military personnel above the rank of Colonel and some retired IPS officers who have been part of the PM's security detail.
"It's routine practice to hire top security officers for his protection. We have a personal escort van to ensure safety and prevent any untoward incident. We do have a separate security department like other corporate houses. There is nothing special that we are doing," the source told DNA, trying to downplay the trend.
The retired officers are certainly not complaining as they can get up to Rs 50,000 for an eight-hour shift.
The trend is catching on, say private security players. "There is an increasing demand by industrialists and politicians for trained commandos or retired officers of paramilitary forces to look after their personal security," said Vikash Verma, chairperson of the G7 Securitas Group. "Having handled security for the US president, the World Cup and other major events, we understand the advantages of hiring these commandos."
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer said the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai brought into focus the high level of preparedness of the National Security Guards (NSG) and other commandos. "Specially trained forces came into the limelight. As a result, since then, industrialists and politicians are scurrying to recruit security personnel who have undergone that training. It is the latest status symbol," the officer said.
A retired IPS officer, who has also served in the SPG, said the special force is divided in two segments; the first is a commando force that provides security to VIPs. The second includes senior officers involved in the planning process. "Commandos are specially trained to guard the body and close-to-body combat," he said.
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Supreme Court issues contempt notice to Subroto Roy
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Sahara India Managing Director Subroto Roy and two others on a petition alleging interference in the ongoing Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into the 2G spectrum scam.
The bench of Justices G.H. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly said the threat to publish a series of stories by Sahara Samay about Rajeshwar Singh, assistant director ED, came after the agency sent summons to Roy.
The court said it was prima facie satisfied that an attempt had been made to interfere with the investigation into 2G telephone spectrum scam being carried out by investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh. The court restrained Sahara Samay and its channel from carrying out any story relating to Rajeshwar Singh in respect of the 25 questions it had sent to him.
"The nexus is more than apparent between the issuance of summons and threat to run series of stories," the court said.
ED says Roy did not turn up before it for questioning despite its repeated notices. It also says Roy's newspaper published an item about Rajeshwar Singh, pointing fingers at him.
According to the ED, Roy's Sahara Group transferred Rs.150 crore to Swan Telecom allegedly in connection with the 2G scam, which relates to alleged irregularities in the allocation of spectrum to telecom companies.
Why India needs to do a Israel
Israel and India have always been in the shadow of terror. While the Jewish heartland has improvised its counter-terrorism techniques, India is still grappling with the basics.
LOCATION: MUNICH, GERMANY
During the early hours of September 5, 1972, a group of terrorists took 11 Israeli athletes hostage. As dawn broke, all the hostages were killed and so were five terrorists. Three were captured alive but were let off in exchange for a German Lufthansa passenger jet that was hijacked in October that year.
LOCATION: MUMBAI, INDIA
On November 26, 2008, Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai and attacked in a series of co-ordinated shooting and bombings across the city. The fight between the terrorists and security forces went on for three days, resulting in the death of 164 people and wounding more than 300. The lone surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, has been sentenced to death, but has been allowed to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
Israel was no stranger to terror, and same was the case with Mumbai. But, how the countries responded to terror was what has been seared in the consciousness of the world.
Before I get into that, it is essential that we take a short trip down the history lane. This is because you can discern from history itself how the two countries responded to terror.
1972 Munich Massacre
On the dawn of September 5, 1972, the 'Happy Olympics' turned into a bloody site. Members of Black September (a terrorist organisation) entered the games village tracksuit-clad and were carrying duffel bags containing AKM assault rifles, Tokarev pistols and grenades. They climbed a two-metre chain link fence with the help of unsuspecting athletes. Once they were inside, they used a stolen key to gain access to the room where Israeli coaches were put up.
The terrorists shot and killed at least three Israelis. Some of the athletes and coaches managed to flee when they heard the cries of the ones who were caught. In all, the terrorists had managed to take nine Israelis hostage. Black September, part of a fidayeen group from Palestine, claimed that Yasar Arafat's Fatah had secretly endorsed the operation, something that has been denied till now.
The terrorists demanded the release and safe passage to Egypt of 234 Palestinians and non-Arabs jailed in Israel, along with two German radicals. Israel's reaction was immediate and absolute: No negotiation. However, the Germans had other plans. They ordered the German police, with no formal or specialized training in hostage crisis situations, to rescue the Israelis. They were even willing to offer unlimited money to the Palestinians.
The Israelis wanted to send in their own special forces unit, which was rejected by the Germans. Even as the hostage crisis played out, the games went on!! Incredible as it may seem, it was nearly 12 hours after the murder of the first Israeli that the IOC suspended the Games. The terrorists could see each and every move of the police team, thanks to the umpteen camera crews that were broadcasting their moves on live TV.
The rescue attempt was botched from the word go. Initially, the plan was to lure the terrorists to Fürstenfeldbruck, a NATO airbase. A Boeing 727 was positioned on the tarmac, where 5-6 German police officers were inside dressed as a cabin crew.
Snipers were stationed around the airport to spring a surprise assault on the terrorists. But, for some strange reason, the officers in Boeing abandoned their plan and failed to communicate it to the snipers. The results were for all the world to see. In the ensuing gunfire, all the Israeli hostages were shot dead. Some of the terrorists too died, while some were captured alive.
When Munich took place, Israel was outraged. Not to be the one sitting around twiddling their thumbs, they vowed to get every man who was involved in the bloody massacre. Prime Minister Golda Meir and the Israeli Defence Committee authorised Mossad, the country's premier secret service agency, to hunt down every one of the terrorists.
Even though the then Mossad chief Zvi Zamir was present during the hostage crisis, his expertise was not used at all. Three days after the massacre, an angry Israel retaliated. Israeli planes bombed ten PLO bases in Syria and Lebanon, killing 200 PLO fighters. That was just the beginning of Israel's wrath. Thus, began Operation Wrath of God, also called Operation Bayonet.
They created a target list of suspected Black September operatives and a wave of assassinations began across Europe. It is rumoured that Operation Bayonet went on for 20 long years! During the covert operation, they killed dozens of Palestinians and Arabs throughout Europe, launched a military assault inside Lebanon targeting high-profile Palestinian leaders.
In what was called Operation Spring of Youth, three top ranking PLO officials were killed in a surprise attack. More than a 100 were reported to have died during the operation.
Details have been sketchy about the covert operation. Black September retaliated, targeting Israeli government offices around the world. Israel was criticised widely, for its tactics, targets and overall effectiveness. But, it didn't stop them for going ahead the killing the perpetrators of the Munich massacre.
Coming back to Mumbai. Since the memory of 26/11 is too fresh in our minds, I'll skip the main details. What we do know as of now is that Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist caught during the Mumbai attack, has been in Arthur Road Jail and probably has more security than our prime minister.
The new modern India is keen to prove a point to the world, which is looking upon her to be the next superpower. However, our response during the 26/11 attack
leaves much to be desired.
Even though Mumbai was no stranger to terror, the Indian trait of being complacent and ill-prepared at all times came to the fore. When the news broke out, the government did do the right thing by sending in the fearsome Black Cat commandos. Unfortunately, the Black Cats reached Mumbai only nine hours after the breakout of fighting among the terrorists and the Mumbai police!!
As the NSG camp was located at Manesar, they travelled to Delhi by road and then boarded a flight to Mumbai. All this because the base/city did not have an airstrip! Imagine, the country's premier commandos (probably our equivalent of the Navy SEALs) did not have a helicopter or a plane to get to the scene of action.
Not only that, on 26/11, they had to wait for a crucial one hour at the Palam air force station as no plane was available and an aircraft had to be requisitioned from Chandigarh. The NSG at present does not have a dedicated aircraft! Contrast this with what happened at Abbotabad and you get the picture.
Then, not only were they not briefed about the number of guests and terrorists in the hotel, they had no idea about how to organise a counter-offensive operation against the terrorists as they did not have the hotel blueprints. This led to a loss of time for the NSG as they had to check each floor and each room.
As was reported, the terrorists had hit mutiple targets at the same time: The Taj Hotel, The Oberoi and the Trident, Chabad House, CST station and Metro Cinema. The terrorists managed to take advantage of the chaos and held out for three days. It was only after the 60-hour battle that the government realised how the NSG was operating wtih woefully outdated technology. This elite commando force is now in the process of procuring night-sight equipment for its SIG (SWAT) assault rifles, laser listening devices and light support weapons. To put in perspective, these weapons are already being used by the SWAT team in the US.
Counter-terrorism is not just having hi-tech weapons or conducting covert operations, something we definitely are not good at. It is also about the political will to hunt down the terrorists, irrespective of which party comes to power at the Centre. It is also about the will to never negotiate with terrorists. We cannot afford to have another Kandahar.
The Kandahar episode was not only the result of India's diplomatic failure, but also an intelligence failure. The Indian Airlines Plane with 174 passengers and a 11-member crew on a flight from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked on December 24, 1999 while it was flying over Lucknow. The crisis ended on December 31 when the Indian government decided to free dreaded terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar, Sheikh Omar and Mushtaq Zargar in exchange for 158 people.
The aircraft had touched down at Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai before proceeding to Kandahar. The Indian government could have ordered a counter-offensive when the flight was at any of these airports. And to think that Dubai was a US base, which India could have used to its advantage. The plane had stopped at Amritsar for refuelling. Punjab police were planning to immobilise the aircraft and probably storm the aircraft, but the crucial go-ahead from Delhi never came through.
Contrast this with what happened in Entebbe in 1976. On June 27, 1976, four militants seized an Air France plane flying from Israel to Paris with 250 people onboard. The hijackers diverted the plane to Entebbe, Uganda, where is landed on June 28. They demanded the release of 53 militants held in jails in Israel and elsewhere. In fact, Uganda's President Idi Amin supported the hijackers and supplied them with extra troops and weapons. On July 1, they did release some of the hostages, but about 100 of them still remained on the plane. Three days later, Israeli commandos sprung a surprise attack. About 200 elite troops stormed the airport building and after a 35-minute battle freed the hostages, killed all the seven hijackers and 20 Ugandan soldiers.
We need to take more than a leaf out of Israel's history. We can't fight terror with weapons alone. We also need to back that up by taking some really hard decisions when the D-Day comes.
Source: India Syndicate
Joseph Lelyveld: Misunderstood by India?
NYT review does not give one mention of the "insulting references"; are we over-reacting as usual since we ourselves pay only lip-service?
A Pulitzer prize winner and an editor in one of the world's most renowned publication, The New York Times, has created much distress in India with his latest book "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India" by allegedly insuiating that Mahatma Gandhi was a bisexual and a racist.
Mahatma Gandhi, the most famous advocate of truth and non-violence, supposedly had an affair with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, for whom he supposedly left his wife Kasturba in 1908.
The book has practically got the whole of India baying for his blood.
So, the question is why would a respected editor like him write any such stuff like that? Well, according to him, he did not write anything like that. "In a country (India) that calls itself a democracy, it is shameful to ban a book that no one has read, including the people who are doing the banning," Lelyveld said.
"They should at least make an effort to see the pages that they think offend them before they take such an extreme step. I find it very discouraging to think that India would so limit discussion," he told a news channel.
Defending his work, Lelyveld said: "It is a responsible book, it is a sensitive book, it is a book that is admiring of Gandhi and his struggle for social justice in India and it's been turned into as if it is some kind of sensationalist pot boiler. It is not."
He dismissed reports that his work include offensive language against Mahatma, saying the book does not talk about the sexual preferences of the Indian leader.
"It does not say Gandhi was bisexual. It does not say that he was homosexual," Lelyveld.
"It does not say that he was a racist. The word bisexual never appears in the book and the word racist only appears once in a very limited context; relating to a single phrase and not to Gandhi's whole set attitudes or history in South Africa," he clarified, adding "I didn't say these things, So I can hardly defend them."
A brief background
A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, Lelyveld is a former correspondent and editor of The New York Times. Born on April 5, 1937, he is the son of Reform Judaism leader, Arthur Lelyveld.
He was the executive editor of the New York Times from 1994 to 2001, and interim executive editor in 2003. While he was a reporter for the New York Times, he received several awards including the 1971 George Polk Award for Education Reporting and the 1983 award for Foreign Reporting.
Among Lelyveld's books is Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White, based on his reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1960s and 1980s. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1986 for Move Your Shadow.
He was also foreign editor of the Times, and its managing editor. He was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) by the CUNY Graduate Center at the 2007 commencement, where he gave the keynote speech.
What the book has led to now
No doubt, that the powers at be at the Centre have not read the book. We can be assured of that. But, anyways that has not stopped the Centre from mulling a ban on the book. The Centre is also contemplating a law that would make any disrespect shown to the Father of the Nation an offence punishable with a jail term.
All I would say is, better late than never. You don't need a "controversial" book for the country to realise that nobody has the right to defame the Mahatma.
The Law Ministry is now looking to amend the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, so as to make any action or gesture that shows disrespect to Gandhi an offence at par with an offence against the National Flag or the Constitution.
Gujarat, though, did not wait for the Centre to act first. On Wednesday itself, as soon as news broke out regarding the "controversial" book, the state banned the book. Chief Minister Narendra Modi said its contents were perverse.
"This publication defames the Mahatma and there is rising anger not only in Gujarat but in the entire country. The perversion shown in the writings not only deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms but cannot be tolerated. I know that the members of this august house share my feelings," he added.
The chief minister said, "I would like to inform the house that the Gujarat government has decided to ban the publication, printing or distribution of the book in the state with immediate effect."
What the NYT says about the book
The book, according to NYT, concentrates on Gandhi's "evolving sense of his constituency and social vision," and his subsequent struggle to impose that vision on an India at once "worshipful and obdurate."
The publication claims that Lelyveld is qualified to write about Gandhi. Not only did he cover South Africa for The New York Times (and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book "Move Your Shadow", which was about apartheid), he also spent several years in India reporting during the 1960s.
"He brings to his subject a reporter's healthy skepticism and an old India hand's stubborn fascination with the subcontinent and its people," the NYT said.
"This is not a full-scale biography. Nor is it for beginners. Lelyveld assumes his readers are familiar with the basic outlines of Gandhi's life, and while the book includes a bare-bones chronology and is helpfully divided into South African and Indian sections, it moves backward and forward so often, it's sometimes harder than it should be to follow the shifting course of Gandhi's thought," the NYT added.
The NYT called Lelyveld's book as "noteworthy" and "nonetheless, vivid, nuanced and cleareyed." The two decades Gandhi spent in South Africa are too often seen merely as prelude.
The only time the esteemed publication makes reference to sex in its book review is in this sentence "His notions about sex and spinning and simple living have long since been abandoned. Hindu-Muslim tension still smolders just beneath the uneasy surface."
Osama''s killing proof that 26/11 terrorists in Pak:Chidambaram
New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) India today said the killing of global terrorist Osama bin Laden was a matter of grave concern as it proved that terrorists belonging to different groups find sanctuary in Pakistan.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in a statement that perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan.
He said that earlier today the US government informed New Delhi that Osama bin Laden had been killed by security forces somewhere "deep inside Pakistan."
"After the September 11, 2001 terror attack, the US had a reason to seek Osama bin Laden and bring him and his accomplices to justice," the statement said.
"We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which President (Barack) Obama said that the fire fight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbotabad ''deep inside Pakistan''.
"This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan," he said.
The Home Minister said in the wake of this incident "we believe that perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan.
"We once again call upon the Government of Pakistan to arrest the persons whose names have been handed over to the Interior Minister of Pakistan as well as provide voice samples of certain persons who are suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the terrorists." PTI SKL
Behind the Indian Boom – Ambedkar's Challenge Remains
At the beginning of this series, Thomas Pogge highlighted the close relationship between equality and justice and the connection between these factors and the principles of a democratic society. Within any system, the ability for wealth and power to become concentrated within certain groups has a fundamental impact on a state's capacity to ensure a level of 'fairness' is secured. The case of India brings a number of unique factors to the table for consideration. To what extent can a nation of 1.2 billion people ever hope to prevent huge polarisation of wealth? Commitments to cultural pluralism, secularism, even socialism, are enshrined in the state's founding documents, yet as the economy booms new divides are emerging that challenge the social consensus on which India's democracy, and legitimacy, depends.
Any discussion of inequality and justice within modern India has to include reference to the work of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. The architect of the Indian constitution was a tireless campaigner for the equal rights of Dalits (also known as untouchables) and fiercely opposed the social institutionalisation of inequality represented by the Hindu caste system. His antipathy towards the latter led to criticism of Gandhi and a conversion to Buddhism. Dr. Ambedkar's speech on the eve of the signing into law of the Indian constitution, delivered on 25 November 1949, laid out his argument that an Indian social democracy is essential for the survival of the state. Though well documented, it certainly bears quoting again (and indeedreading in full):
On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.
Despite the turnaround of India's economic story since the 1980s, there appears to be an enduring relationship in India between economic wellbeing and caste, religion or gender. Set against the background of strong and consistent economic growth, the debate over some central principles of India's social equality regime is becoming more prominent. For example, Dr. Ambedkar was central to enshrining the principle of positive discrimination, or reservations, in public sector employment and higher education for Scheduled Castes (SC) (Dalits), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Castes (OBC). Affirmative action is always a topic of debate, wherever it is deployed, but the argument in India has been ratcheted up as the economy has liberalised and pressure to open up the labour market has increased. Added to this trend are the various political affiliations of specific castes, for example core support for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tends to be drawn more from Brahmanical castes than OBC or SC groups. In 2006 when a decision regarding the reservation of places in institutes of higher education for OBC's was passed, there were nationwide protests spanning several days.
In a similar vein, the post-Independence Indian model of secularism has sought to respect cultural pluralism by attempting to create an equal space for each religious community. As Sunil Khilnani has explained, "Indians who belonged to smaller religious communities had to be protected against the totalitarian potentials of mass democracy."[i] The secular nature of the Indian state faced its most pronounced challenge in the early 1990s with the rise of the Hindutva movement, led by the BJP. When fanatical Hindu crowds rushed the site of the mosque or Babri Masjid in Ayodhya (an ancient town in the north-east Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) in December 1992, a series of riots were triggered nationwide, resulting in hundreds of deaths. This event marked the beginning of a period of national expansion for the BJP, which subsequently took power in elections in 1998. Following the elections of 2004 and 2009 when Congress Party-led coalitions took power back and then won re-election, the sustainability of a mass party based on Hindu nationalism has been challenged. The recent ruling in the Ayodhya case, on 30th September 2010, stated that the holy site be split between the competing religions that lay claim to it. The verdict was long awaited and, despite some apprehension, the announcement met with widespread acceptance and no outburst of contention from either Hindu or Muslim leaders. It can broadly be said that the decision reinforces the principle of secular coexistence that the riots challenged. The as-yet-unclear reaction to the ruling in the Godhra case of 2002 (relating to the killing, at the hands of a Muslim crowd, of a number of Hindus returning from 10 year anniversary celebrations of the Ayodhya events), however, demonstrates that problems remain.
Moving from the social to the economic sphere, wealth polarisation is an issue at the heart of debates about contemporary India. The emergence of India as a prominent rising power in the global system is fundamentally linked to the economic transformation that has been ongoing since the 1980s, accelerating with neo-liberal reforms that followed the balance of payments crisis of 1991. India has achieved remarkable GDP growth rates in the past decade, over 9% three years running between 2005 and 2007[ii](with recent projections of 8.75% for 2010-11). 'Inclusive growth' remains the crucial challenge for the government and plays directly to the conflict between market-oriented economic success stories and grinding rural and urban poverty.
As a rising power, India is defined just as much by its poverty as its growth rates. On the one hand, the transformation is clear when examining economic policy and success since the Cold War. On the other, the new confidence and increased self-belief, feeding the idea that India may be a great power of the future, is compromised by the reality of its uneven growth and its democratic values-based reality. Crucial here is the issue of legitimacy and whether a vision of India as a great power based upon its current economic model and social reality will be accepted by those who may not benefit to the highest extent.
On a recent trip to Mumbai I made a trip down to the southern tip of the city. Following an initial drive that skirted along the edges of the vast Dharavi slum (home to approximately 1,000,000 people and referred to as the 'largest slum in Asia'), my attention was directed towards the newly built, 27 floor, billion-dollar homeof Mukesh Ambani, Indian business magnate and one of the richest individuals in the world. Admiration for what is an undeniable success story is tempered by an instinctive discomfort with the 'Ozymandian' challenge the building seems to be snarling to Mumbai's millions. There is surely no clearer representation of the chasm of wealth disparity that reflects the conflicting impacts and enduring challenges at the heart of India's economic boom.
Dr. Ambedkar as Member of the Governor-General's Executive Council
" That this Assembly do proceed to elect, in such manner as the Honourable the President may direct, three non-official Members to serve on the Standing Committee to advise on subjects with which the Labour Department is concerned."
" That this Assembly do proceed to elect, in such manner as the Honourable the President may direct, three non-official Members to serve on the Standing Committee to advise on subjects with which the labour Department is concerned."
Dr. P. N. Banerjea (Calcutta Suburbs : Non-Muhammadan Urban) : Sir, there are several Standing Committees attached to the different Departments, but there is no Standing Committee of this House which numbers only three. Now, what can be the reason for the small number of Members elected by this House ? Either the Labour Department is not an important Department, or it may be due to the fact that the Standing Committee is never called, or called very rarely, do discuss any matter. I should like to have information on either of these two subjects. Is theLabour Department an important Department ? I find that it is in charge of a very eminent person like Dr. Ambedkar. Even if it was an unimportant Department before, it should cease to be an unimportant Department at the present day at least so long as he is in control of the subject. But if it is to be an important Department, the Standing Committee should consist of a much larger number of persons. Look at the Standing Finance Committee, look at the Standing Finance Committee for Railways, and look at the Public Accounts Committee. The number of Members of any of these Committees is much larger than three. I am told that this Committee does. not meet very often I do not know whether it is a fact and that even when it meets, not much business is placed before this Committee. If that be so, I am afraid the utility of the Committee will be greatly diminished. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to increase the number of Members to eight. I understand that two Members are selected from the other place. I suggest that eight Members should be elected by this House. If you like, you may increase the number of Members given to the other House.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I am very glad to notice that this motion of mine has excited so much interest from the House. Thenumber three, as I understand, is based neither on the importance nor on any other consideration, but I am told that it is a standard number andthat if there are any enlargements or deviations from the standard number, they constitute only an exception and not the rule.
Now, Sir, with regard to the point raised by my Honourable friend Dr. Banerjea that the reason why the number was fixed at three is becausethe Department pays scant courtesy to this Committee, I submit, is not borne out by facts. The House will notice from what I am saying now that in 1940 there were two meetings of this Committee held and some very important business was placed before the Committee. For instance, at thetwo meetings that were held in 1940 the subject matter that was placed before the Committee included the conclusions of the Labour Conference, report of the Technical Training Inquiry Committee, scheme for the training of skilled artizans and accommodation in Delhi. In 1941 one meeting was held and there the business placed before the Committee included conclusions of the second Conference of Labour Ministers and progress made with the technical training under the Bevin training scheme. In 1942 one meeting was held and there was also an adjourned meeting held subsequently. The proceedings of the third Conference of Labour Ministers, the summary of the views of the employers and workers' representatives on certain subjects, building programme in Delhi and Simla, proposals relating to the recognition of Trade Unions, progress made with the technical training under the Bevin training scheme and amendments of the National Service (Technical Personnel) Ordinance, 1940, were the subjects that were placed before the meeting of the Committee. I am sure nobody can say that the Department has not been placing before the Committee matters which are of importance and interest to Labour.
Then, the other thing I would like to submit to the House is this that this is not the only Committee to advise the Labour Department. Besides this, we have now instituted a Plenary Conference which consists of representatives of the Central, Provincial Governments, and also the Indian States, the representatives of employers and of labour are also represented on the Plenary Conference on a very extensive scale. There is no case for so large an increase asked for by the Honourable Dr. Banarjea. In addition to that we have also got the Standing Labour Advisory Committee. Having regard to the circumstances I hold the view that if there was any case for the enlargement of the personnel of the Committee, that case has considerably suffered by reason of the constitution of the Plenary Conference as well as by the Standing Labour Committee. However, if my Honourable friend is anxious that the personnel of this Committee should be increased, I am prepared to increase the number to eight-assigning five to this House and three to the upper Chamber: and I hope this will satisfy my Honourable friends in this House.
Maulvi Muhammad Abdul Ghani (Tirhut Division: Muhammadan) : Sir, in view of the war conditions this Labour Committee has become very very important. It deals with the labour questions. Besides, as has just been pointed out by the Honourable the Member in charge, thisCommittee deals with many other important questions such as building matters......
" That this Assembly do proceed to elect, in such manner as the honourable the President may direct, five non-official Members to sci-ve on the Standing Committee to advise on subjects, with which the Labour Department, is concerned."
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Labour Member) : Sir, in view of the observations which fell from my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi it is only proper that I should rise to state the position of Government on the points that he has made. In a certain sense, the remarks of Mr. Joshi might appear to be irrelevant. We are discussing the Tea Control Act and obviously any provisions dealing with conditions of labour would beentirely out of place therein. But looking at it from a larger point of view, it must be admitted that when the State is asked to suspend the laws of supply and demand with regard to any industry, it is fair that those who are interested in labour should ask that their interests should beprotected. And it is from this point of view that I say that a reply from Government is necessary.
Sir, the first point which Mr. Joshi made was that it is now more than 12 years since the Royal Commission on Labour reported and that the Government of India has practically done nothing with regard to the recommendations of that Commission. Sir, I agree that 12 years is a long period for any Government to take in order to deal with the recommendations made by a Royal Commission which was appointed to investigateinto this matter. But I think on the facts to which I propose to refer in the brief remarks that I am making, Mr. Joshi will realise and the House will also realise that much serious blame would not be laid at the door of the Government of India. As the Honourable Member will remember, theRoyal Commission on Labour made five recommendations with regard to the tea plantation. First was that the Assam Labour Emigrant Act should be repealed and another Act permitting very much greater fluidity to the labour should be enacted. The second recommendation was toestablish a wage board for fixing the wages of labourers there. Third recommendation dealt with the appointment of a Board of Health for the welfare of labour in convenient areas with power to make regulations relating to the drinking water, sanitation, drainage, medical facilities and housing. The fourth recommendation was that provisions relating to the regular and prompt payment of wages and deductions to be made for advances made to labour should be applied to plantation labour. The last recommendation was that provision should be made in order that access to public should be provided to gardens.
Now, when the recommendations were made it is important to bear in mind that the Government of India without loss of time examined theserecommendations in order to find out which was the proper authority to deal with them, and they came to the conclusion that except the first recommendation which dealt with the repeal of the Emigration Act and substitution of another, all these would legitimately be regarded as fundamentally of local concern. I do not think anybody could contend that the attitude taken by the Government of India in the matter of dividing responsibility with regard to these recommendations was incorrect. I submit that it was, in pursuance of the decision that the Government of India took on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Labour they immediately addressed a despatch to the Assam Government informing them that liberty was given to the Local Government to deal with other recommendations, and the Government of India without loss of time, as the Honourable Members know, proceeded to pass the Act which is now on the Statute Book and which covers the first recommendation of theRoyal Commission on Labour. Sir, unfortunately, for reasons of which I know very little, the Local Government of Assam did not move in thematter : and if I may say so my Honourable friend Mr. Joshi also, although he has been in the House right from the date when the recommendations were made, did not or does not appear to me to have taken up the question at all. But, Sir, if I may claim credit for the Government of India, the Government of India did move in the matter. I would like to inform the House that in 1938 when the Tea Control Act came up for extension in the Legislature, the Government of India did take initiative and approached the planting industry with a proposal for making enquiry into the conditions of labour in plantation. As my Honourable friends, Mr. Griffiths and Sir Frederick James will recall, even a Conference was held between representatives of the Labour Department and the representatives of Planters.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: The question may have been answered better by the Honourable Member in charge of the Department at that time. I came only yesterday and I know very little about it. The Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, referred to the question, I am not prepared to say, we're being carried as to whether time had not arrived for making enquiries into the terms of the recommendations. Sir, I findthat almost at a time when matters were heading for a decision the new Assam Government, which was the Congress Government, thought it fit to step into the matter and by a Resolution appointed a Committee on the 23rd May, 1939. It is quite natural that as a result of the step taken bythe Assam Government the Government of India was bound to withdraw from the field which by the terms of original despatch they had assigned to the Local Government for being dealth with. As my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, referred to the question, I am not prepared to say what exactly was the reason, but somehow there was a clash between the members who were on the Committee and the clash developed almost to a conflict with the result that the work of the Committee was suspended. Ultimately the Government of Assam took no action. All that they did was to issue a notification as to what happened and why the Committee was suspended. That brought matters to the end of July, 1939. Obviously every oneknows, a few months after that war was declared, and it is impossible for anybody, cither the Local Government or the Central Government, to have initiated an enquiry into the matter. I am sure these circumstances will convince Mr. Joshi that the Government of India is really not liable to be taken to task for any kind of inactivity on its part.
With regard to the main question as to whether Government does or does not consider the necessity of protecting the interests of labour, I would straightaway begin by saying that Government does regard this question as of paramount importance. I do not wish to go into the question as to the conditions of labour on the plantation. We hear in newspapers various figures given ; figures relating to wages in Ceylon, figures given relating to wages on the Assam plantation. I am not prepared to give the imprimatur of Government to either sets of figures as to wages, etc. We have no exact data for the simple reason that so far no investigation has been made in the matter. But I do say one thing that the conditions on tea plantations are unregulated, that they vary enormously from one place to another. There is no common, uniform standard in the conditions of work and the Government of India does think that that is a state of affairs which it can tolerate. It is also clear that we cannot enter upon any legislation unless we have sufficient material brought before us by an impartial enquiry. This is not a condition which the Government of India can be said to have strutted out in order to block any move that may be made in the interests of protecting labour on the plantation. My honourablefriend, Mr. Joshi, himself will recollect that this was one of the riders that was put by the Royal Commission on Labour themselves. The Royal Commission, while making the recommendation added a proviso that before these recommendations will be put into operation, specific enquiry ought to be made on the conditions in plantations. Now, Sir, the Government of India has no doubt that this enquiry must be made. Speaking for Government I am prepared to say that Government thinks that proper standards of welfare must be imposed on the plantations. There is no escape. What my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, said, I entirely support. It is not open for the Government of India to impose fair conditions of wages on Ceylon as a condition precedent and not applying the same standards of labour in India. The Government of India by the various Ordinances has laid down that wherever any restriction has been imposed upon labour, the Government of India will see that fair conditions of labour are granted to labour. These are the things which the Government of India considers it is bound to apply in the case of plantation labour. Nor can it be denied that whatever may have been the condition of the plantations in the long past, at present the condition of plantations is such that they can bear the weight of such wage standards as a Board may impose upon them.
Now, therefore, the only question that arises is this : can we institute an enquiry at the present moment ? There is no difference between my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, and myself as representing the Government of India on the two issues, namely that proper standards must beimposed. As my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, and other Honourable Members of the House know very well, a large part of the tea estates are situated in the Eastern corner of India, Assam and Bengal. It is quite obvious that those areas are greatly exposed to enemy action. It is quitelikely that any enquiry that may be started in that comer may have a very disturbing effect. Therefore, the only question that remains is whether wecan begin that enquiry on the plantations which are situated in Southern India. I should like to tell the House how the plantations are divided between Northern and Southern India. The figures which I have and which relate to 1941 show that, so far as acreage of the tea plantations is concerned, in Northern India the acreage is 607,000, in southern India the acreage is only 163,132. So far as labour employed on plantations is concerned, in Northern India the labour employed is 773,969 while in Southern India the labour employed is only 144,385.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Yes, we are only talking about tea. It is obvious from the figures which I have given that the plantations in Southern India form a very small portion of the Tea Planting Industry in India.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I am taking the North and South. I am not taking Assam separately. Assam is included in Northern India. It is obvious from these Figures that the plantations in Southern India form a very small portion of the total population working in tea gardens in this country. It seems to the Government of India that no kind of gain can arise either to the country or to the labourers by undertaking such a partial and limited inquiry. It is not possible to begin an enquiry which by the situation in which this war finds itself must necessarily belimited to so microscopic an area of the total plantations......
" That the Bill to impose on employers a liability to pay compensation to workmen sustaining war injuries and to provide for the insurance ofemployers against such liability be referred to a Select Committee consisting of Sir Vithal N. Chandavarkar, Mr. N. M. Joshi, Mr. Jamnadas M.Mehta, Mr. D. S. Joshi, Mr. Hooscinbhoy A. Lalljee, Khan Bahadur Mian Ghulam Kadir Muhammad Shabhan, Mr. C. C. Miller, Mr. E. L. C. Gwilt,Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Mr. Yusuf Abdoola Haroon, Hajee Chowdhury Muhammad Ismail Khan, Mr. H. A. Sathar H. Easak Sail, Mr. AmarendraNath Chattopadhyaya, Mr. R. R. Gupta and the Mover, that the number of Members whose presence shall be necessary to constitute a meetingof the Committee shall be five and that the Committee be authorised to meet at Simla. "
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I do not think it would be necessary for me to lake much time of the House in order to commandthis measure to the Honourable members. The main provisions of the Bill are three. The Bill seeks to give compensation to workmen who may become victims of war induries ; secondly, the Bill seeks to make employers liable for such compensation; and thirdly, the Bill seeks to compelemployers to insure against liabilities imposed upon them.
Now, taking the question of compensation, the point to which I wish to draw the attention of the House is that this Bill is a linked measure. It is linked to Workmen's Compensation Act. Now, Sir, the relationship of this Bill to the War Injuries of this Bill to the War Injuries Ordinance to which I have made a reference is plain. As Honourable Members will recall, the War Injuries Ordinance, 1941, defines what is called the qualifying injuries. Those injuries are classified in that Ordinance. What the present Bill does is to adopt in the main the scope and limits of the qualifying injuries as has been defined in the War Injuries Ordinance. As to the question of relationship of the present Bill to the Workmen's Compensation Act that will be clear to the Honourable Members from the fact that the amount of compensation which has been fixed in this Bill for the victim of war injuries more or less follows the scale that has been fixed in the Workmen's Compensation Act.
Now, Sir, the reason for bringing this measure is this : After the War Injuries Ordinance was passed in 1941 a question was raised, a question which is of substance and if I may say so, of some importance and that question is whether the payment made to a workman who unfortunately happened to sustain what is called the qualifying injuries should be a sort of relief or should be compensation. The difference between relief and compensation is quite obvious. Relief is merely to help a person to get over the difficulties to which he might be reduced by reason of the incapacity which he suffers by a war injury and which prevents him from earning him normal wages. Compensation, on the other hand according to the terms of the Workmen's Compensation Act, seeks to make payment which compensates him fully for the loss which he incurs. When this question was raised a reference was made to the conditions that were prevailing in England and it was found that the British Parliament passed an enactment which is known as the War Injuries Miscellaneous Act of 1936. On examination of the provisions of this English Law it was foundthat the payments which were allowed under that Act amounted to compensation and not merely relief. Obviously the question arose whether it was not desirable for the Government of India to follow the principle which was laid down in this English statues. Secondly, some of theemployers, on their own accord after the passing of the War Injuries Ordinance of 1941, addressed a letter to the Government of India staling thatfrom their point of view the provisions made in the War Injuries Ordinance were not sufficient for the maintenance of the morale of labour and that compensation should be paid in order that the labourers working in disturbed areas may remain steady at that work. From both these points of view the Government of India accepted the principle of giving compensation to workmen in place of what was originally thought to be only relief.
On examining the provisions of the War Injuries Ordinance, it was found that at a level of about Rs. 24, the payments made under the War Injuries Ordinance constituted not only relief but also compensation. What is therefore necessary to do is to give the workman drawing a salary above Rs. 24 additional rebate which will make payments made to him amount to compensation; that is to say to supplement what he gets under the ordinance so that what he will get will also amount to compensation. This measure therefore is a measure which is a supplementary measure, which supplements the provisions of War Injuries Ordinance of 1941.
Having explained to the house the main provision, namely of compensation and how the Bill was linked up to the War Injuries Ordinance as well as to the Workmen's Compensation Act and having explained to the house the reason which led the Government of India to bring in this supplementary legislation, I will proceed to explain the second main provision of the Bill, namely to make the employer liable for such compensation. It might be said that while under the provisions of the War Injuries Ordinance, it was government which was undertaking theliability to pay relief, the Government also should undertake similar liability for making compensation to those to whom this present Bill applies. It is quite obvious that it is not possible for Government to undertake the liability which under the circumstances of the case may almost amount to anything because if India remains as it is, there may be no liability arising out of this. Or, if the situation worsens, the liability may be quiteindefinite and having regard to the capacity of the Government of India, it is quite obvious that the Government cannot be asked to undertakesuch indefinite liability. Secondly, I do not think that much can be made of the fact that Government is not undertaking liability in this matter for it will be realised that whatever amount of compensation the employer may be called upon to pay under the liability which we are imposing upon him, it would no doubt be regarded as an admissible revenue expenditure under E. P. T., and consequently in the main the burden would ultimately fall upon the Treasury.
I might also mention that while the Government of India is seeking to impose this liability upon the employers, the Government of india is not forgetting its own obligations to its own employees. Honourable members will find a clause there stating that this Bill does not apply to servants of the Crown or to employees of the Federal Railway. But that does not mean that these employees are not going to get the benefit similar to those which we are providing in this Bill. I should like to inform the House that the Federal Railways as well as the Government of India haveinformed their employees that they would be prepared to extend the provisions of extra pensions which are contained in the Civil ServiceRegulations and in the Statutory Rules governing the employment of railwaymen.
Now, Sir, the third provision which seeks to compel the employer to ensure the liability imposed upon him is, I claim to be, a very necessary and a very salutary provision. The object of making this provision is to ensure that the workmen at all time will get the compensation for which this Bill seeks to make provision. It may be, as the House may well realise, that if a factory is bombed or demolished, the assets of an employer are destroyed and if any provision of the sort that is sought to be made in this Bill is in existence, notwithstanding the benefit which the Act extends to the workmen, it may in the final analysis leave the workmen where they are without any opportunity of getting compensation which is provided for. Insurance therefore is guaranteed to the workman that in all circumstances the benefits which the Bill seeks to give him will be there for him, if heis so unfortunately situated as to receive the war injury. The working of the system will be somewhat as follows. The payment will be made by theemployer to the employee in the first instance in regard to the terms of the Bill. The employer will be reimbursed out of an insurance fund which may be managed by the Government. The employer will contribute to this insurance fund the premium which will be settled at the end of the war when the total liability will be known. In the meanwhile. Government will be recovering advances from employers against the final premium which will be settled after the war. The quantum of advance will vary from quarter to quarter. In the first quarter the advance will not exceed eight annas per 100 of the Wage bill. For subsequent quarters it will change depending upon the liability that may be outstanding. It may be that there havebeen no casualities in the preceding quarter. If that is so, it is obvious that no advances will be recovered from the employer. As I said, theadvantage of the insurance scheme is that it ensures the workmen a payment, secondly the risk is distributed-safer areas which are not exposed to any attack will also be contributing towards the payment of compensation to workmen living and working in areas which have been attacked. Thirdly, the burden is proportionate because it is based upon the Wage bill of each employer.
It will therefore be seen. Sir, that the Bill is a very simple measure. I would also say that it is a non-controversial measure. The House would like to know that the idea of the Bill came from the Millowners Association in Bombay in the beginning of 1942. After the suggestion was sent to theGovernment of India, there was an informal conference held in April 1942 between the Secretary of the Labour Department, Sir Henry Richardson, Sir Frederic James, Mr. Haddow, Mr. Gwilt and Mr. Hooseinbhoy Lalljee. On their suggestion, the employers were consulted, twoemployers organisations were approached and two All-India organisations of Industrial employers have completely supported the measure. With regard to employers Federation, that organisation unfortunately was divided. One section is in favour, and the other is not. So far as labour representations are concerned, the Standing Labour Committee unanimously recommended this measure. I do not think that anything more is necessary to enable the house to understand fully the provisions of this Bill. Sir, with these remarks, I move.
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[f.4] The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I am glad to find such a general support accorded to the measure which I had the pleasure of moving this morning. The words of criticism which have emerged are indeed surprisingly few and most of them came from my Honourable friends, Mr. Miller and Mr. Joshi. My Honourable friend, Mr. Miller, said that it was necessary that the Government should give more information with regard to the measure. I shall always be glad to give him whatever information he wants if he would kindly let me know the points which are troubling his mind. With regard to the other question which he raised, namely, that in his mind there appeared a certain discrimination between the rates we were paying under the War Injuries Ordinance and the rates we proposed to pay under the present measure, I fear he is labouring under a misapprehension because, as I tried to make out, the object of this measure is really to equalise the position of those who are covered by the War Injuries Ordinance and of those who are going to be covered by the present measure. As I pointed out, on examination of the rates we offered to the war injuries victims, we found that those who drew Rs. 24 and above only got relief and those who drew Rs. 24 and below got compensation. And what we propose to do now by this measure is to give compensation to those who stand above Rs. 24. Therefore, my Honourable friend will see that far from creating a position which will be called discriminatory, we are really equalising the position of all workmen to which both these measures are going to apply. I quite appreciate the point that my Honourable friend, Mr. Miller, made, namely, that this measure is restricted to a certain type of workmen or certain classes of workmen who are defined in clause 5. That is quite obvious from theprovisions of the Bill itself. But, as I pointed out, having regard to two circumstances, firstly, that it is not possible for Government to undertake theliability of paying compensation to all workmen and, secondly, having regard to the fact that any scheme of insurance which Government can put forth must be administratively workable, it follows that Government cannot spread itself out to cover all sorts of workmen because, as I said, it would be loo much of liability for Government to take and the scheme will become administratively unworkable. In order that we may run theinsurance scheme, it is quite obvious that we must be able to locate an employer on whom we can definitely place the liability and from whom wecan recover the premium. In the case of general population it is not possible to locate someone on whom this liability could be imposed and from whom the premium could be demanded. That is certainly the reason why we have been required to limit the scheme to certain classes of workmen who have been defined in clause 5. My Honourable friend, Mr. Miller, said that we have given no justification for confining our schemeto the classes of workmen who have been defined in clause 5. Some of the answers which I could have given to him have already been given by my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, and I do not propose to repeat them. The answer really is to be found in the Statement of Objects and Reasons itself. The Statement of Objects and Reasons (paragraph 2) makes it clear that they are exposed to danger in factories and other industrial concerns. That, I submit, is as good a reason as any could be given for confining this measure to the classes of workmen who are definedtherein. It cannot be denied that factories and industries are easy targets for enemy attack and the people working there are, therefore, moreexposed to danger than the general population.
With regard to the question raised by the Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, that this Bill does not apply to all workmen and he pointed out two particular cases in which he desired that the provisions of this Bill should be extended, namely, to the labourers working in Assam on tea plantations and seamen, are, no doubt, cases which require some particular answer. Now, Sir, my general answer to the criticism of Mr. Joshi, with regard to these two particular points is this, that Government is quite aware of what he has said and that is the reason why Government has introduced sub-clause (c) in clause 5, whereby Government has reserved to itself the power of extending the provisions of the Bill to other workmen employed in any employment. Government does not regard that the categories of workers defined are the final and that no occasion may arise to include others.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : It is not exhaustive and, therefore, if a situation arises when it becomes clear to Government that theprovisions of this Bill should be extended to workmen employed in other employments, Government will undoubtedly consider the matter.
With regard to the question of Assam, the only point I would like to make is this that, as I said, we are confining the measure to workmen who are living in what might be called exposed centres. To my mind and according to the information we have at present, it cannot be said that thetea plantations are exposed centres. If at any time the plantations do become exposed centres and subject to risk, there is no doubt about it that either Mr. Joshi may move in the matter or Government will lake notice and see that the provisions of this Bill are extended to the labourers in Assam.
With regard to the seamen, I think the matter was brought forward by the Commerce Department and I understand that there is a measure already in existence whereby a provision, if not of the same force, at any rate, analogous to the scheme that we are having, is already inexistence. If my Honourable friend, Mr. Joshi, thinks that it is desirable that the Select Committee should examine and make some provision, if that provision is not incongruous with the main features of the Bill, I certainly will raise no objection for his considering the matter in the Select Committee.
My Honourable friend, Mr. Miller, referred to one or two clauses in the Bill. The first was sub-clause 5(3). To that I have given my reply that Government has deliberately introduced that sub-clause by way of caution because Government thinks that the expedience may arise whereby the provisions of this Bill may have to be extended.
The other section to which he referred was section 10 of sub-clause (3). His point of criticism was that by this provision Government proposes that if any balance is left out of the fund the excess will be paid into the general revenues. I understood Mr. Miller to say that this policy of theGovernment of India was not justified by the circumstances of the case. But if Mr. Miller will bear in mind the fact to which I have already referred, namely, that a good part of the money which will be paid as premia by the employers to this fund will come out of the E.P.T., then it is only properthat Government should be the residuary legatee of such balance. Sir, I have nothing more to say.
Mr. E. L. C. Gwilt : Did not they also make a suggestion that any money left in the fund after the compensation is completely paid should bedevoted to industrial research and if so, will my Honourable friend give consideration to that suggestion ?
"That the Bill to impose on employers a liability to pay compensation to workmen sustaining war injuries and to provide for the insurance ofemployers against such liability be referred to a Select Committee consisting of Sir Vithal N. Chandavarkar, Mr. N. M. Joshi, Mr. Jamnadas M.Mehta, Mr. D. S. Joshi, Mr. Hooscinbhoy A. Lalljee, Khan Bahadur MianGhulam Kadir Muhammad Shahban, Mr. C. C. Miller, Mr. E.I.C. Gwilt,Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Mr. Yusuf Abdoola Haroon, Hajcc Chowdhury Muhammad Ismail Khan, Mr. H. A. Sathar H. Essak Sait, Mr. AmarendraNath Chattopadhyaya, Mr. R. R. Gupta and the Mover, that the number of Members whose presence shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the Committee shall be live and that the Committee be authorised to meet at Simla." The motion was adopted.
[f.5] Employment Exchanges for Skilled and Semi-Skilled Personnel
Standing Labour Committee Discussions
Questions relating to labour welfare, war production, the employment of skilled and semi-skilled personnel, industrial disputes and the collection of statistical information on labour problems were discussed at the third meeting of the Standing Labour Committee, in Bombay on May 7 and 8. The Hon'ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, presided.
Opinion, in general, favoured the scheme for establishing employment exchanges for skilled and semi-skilled personnel, the scheme being conducted on a voluntary basis. The suggestion that there should be representatives of Provincial Governments on the advisory committees attached to Employment Exchanges was also adopted.
The plan for labour legislation and labour welfare during wartime covered aspects like social security, wages and welfare ; and the question whether Wage Boards were desirable in India also came within the scope of discussion. The delegates were assured that the Government of India were anxious to use the machinery of the Tripartite Conference as an advisory body to help them in achieving further progress in respect of labour welfare measures.
It was generally agreed that it was advisable that Labour Officers should be appointed in industrial undertakings, to maintain close touch with labour, hear its grievances and secure redress as expeditiously as possible. Reference as made to the Bombay Millowners Association's scheme for training of Labour Officers.
Government of India: Mr. H. C. Prior, C.I.E., I.C.S., Secretary, Labour Department; Dr. D. T. Jack (Adviser); Mr. R. S. Nimbkar (Adviser); Sir Theodore Gregory (Adviser); and Mr. D. S. Joshi, (Secretary to the Meeting).
Bihar, Assam & Orissa: Mr. S. N. Mazumdar, I.C.S., Labour Commissioner, Bihar; Mr. A. S. Ramachandran Pillai, Labour Commissioner, Assam (Adviser) ; Mr. S. Solomon, I.C.S., Director of Industries and Chief Inspector of Factories, Orissa (Adviser).
Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, Baroda, Gwalior and Holkar States : Mr. Mahdi Ali Mirza, Labour Commissioner, Hyderabad ; Col. Sirdar M.N. Shitole, Minister of Industries, Commerce and Communication, Gwalior; Mr. B. G. A. Mudaliar, Labour Commissioner, Mysore (Adviser) ; Mr. E. I. Chacko, Director of Industries and Labour Commissioner, Travancore (Adviser), Mr. K. R. Dotiwala, Director of Industries and Labour Baroda (Adviser); Captain H. C. Dhanda, Commerce Minister, Holkar State (Adviser).
This measure is a very simple measure. It is a non-controversial measure and it does not involve any matter of principle. Having regard to these considerations, I do not propose to deal at any very great length in explaining the provisions of the Bill. It will be sufficient if I tell the housethe circumstances which have led Government to bring in this amending Bill. Briefly, the circumstances are these.
On the 23rd February 1942 there occurred in a mill in Bombay a boiler accident which resulted in a very serious loss of life. When this accident occurred, an enquiry was made by the Government of Bombay in order to ascertain the cause of this accident. It was found as a result of theenquiry that the explosion was due to something that was wrong in the apparatus which is called an " economiser ". To put it specifically, it was pointed out that the tubes of the economiser, which I understand are technically called " feed pipes ", had been weakened as a result of long internal corrosion. This result of the enquiry came as a matter of surprise to Government because under the Indian Boilers Act, 1923 there is a provision made for the Boiler Inspector to regularly inspect boilers and issue certificates that the boilers were in working order. The question arises as to how the boiler Inspector permitted himself to issue a certificate, knowing that the feed pipes of the economiser had become unfit for work. It was then found out that having regard to the regulations issued under section 28 of the Indian Boilers Act, it was not the duly of the boiler Inspector to examine the feed pipes or any other auxiliary apparatus that was connected with the boiler, and it is because of this fact that the feed pipes were not examined in the case of this particular boiler which exploded. It is to remove this lacuna that the present amending Bill has been brought in.
The present Bill makes two amendments. The first amendment is to introduce a new clause (cc) to section 2, which is an interpretation clause. It adds a new term called " feed pipe " and defines what is a feed pipe. The second amendment is to enlarge the scope of what is called a "steam-pipe ". According to the law as it stands to-day, the steam-pipe means the main pipe only and under the amendment the steam-pipe will now include not only the main pipe but also the feedpipe. After this amendment has been carried, it would be possible for Government to amendthe regulations framed under section 28 in order to make it obligatory upon the Boiler Inspector not only to examine the steam-pipes but also thefeed-pipes. It is because of this that the present Bill has been brought in. Sir, I move that the Bill be taken into consideration.
Mr. C. C. Miller (Bengal : European) : There is one small point on which I would seek enlightenment from the Honourable Member. It relates tothe system of feed-pipes known as the economiser. This is an adjunct to but not an essential pail of a boiler and I take it that the Inspector would not be legaly entitled to refuse a certificate for a boiler being in good condition because of there being some defect in the feedpipes provided the owner undertook to disconnect the feed-pipes ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : My friend will understand that it is not possible for me to give a categorical answer, but as I am advised, he is quite correct in making the assumption that he has made.
The motion was adopted.
Clauses 2 and 3 were added to the Bill.
Clauses 1 was added to the Bill.
Th etitle and the Preamble were added to the Bill.
The motion was adopted.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I am afraid I have not got the information but I think the general fact is quite well known. The Ordinance which requisitions the services of motor drivers is one of those. After the Ordinance was passed, it was discovered that there was one provision which was present in other Ordinance, but was absent in the Motor Drivers Ordinance. That provision was that there was not anything in the Ordinance requiring the owner to re-employ a motor driver after his services were dispensed with by the authority which had requisitioned his services. It is to fill this gap that the present Bill has been brought in. The purposes of the amendment are three-fold. The amendment declares the employer's liability to re-employ a driver where his services have been dispensed with by Government. Secondly, it lays down a method for the settlement of disputes as to the liability of the employer. The Bill provides reference to authority nominated by the Provincial Government on their behalf; and thirdly, there is a penalty for non-compliance with the orders passed by the authority. Other provisions in the Bill relate to the limitations on the right of employment which has been given to a motor driver and they are two- fold. In the first place, a motor driver must have been in continuous service for a period of six months before he can claim the right to re-employment. Secondly, he must have applied for re-employment within two months from the date of discharge from the national service. These conditions being satisfied, this present Bill puts him on the same level with other persons whose services have been requisitioned. I have nothing more to say with regard to this Bill. With these remarks. Sir, I move.
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[f.8] Sir Cawasjee Jahangir (Bombay City: Muhammadan Urban) : Sir, this is the main clause of the Bill, clause 2, so far as I can make out. I see that the reason for the Bill is to find Employment for such motor drivers as may have been requisitioned by Government for war purposes and the attempt is to make the previous employer employ that motor driver under two conditions, provided he has been in the employment of the original employer for six months and he applies for employment within two months......... . If the Honourable Member will take these points into consideration, he may take time over it. I think the Honourable Member will be doing well by the public and this Honourable House.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: With regard to the observations which have fallen from my Honourable friend. Sir Cowasjee Jehangir,I am bound to say that he has really given a very big and a dark colour to what is likely to happen when an employer is called upon to reinstate his former driver. He seems to think that this matter, once it becomes a subject matter of dispute, would assume a form which lawyers call a long civil suit. But I am sure it will be shorter than a shortcoat. We have made provision that the Provincial Government will appoint an authority and I have no doubt that that authority will be an authority which would be satisfactory to both sides.
Sir Cowasjee Jehangir : Does not the Honourable Member know that when such an authority is appointed, the rules and regulations are very elaborate and that it always causes considerable inconvenience, however simple the issue may be.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : It cannot be so inconvenient as to make it difficult for people to settle the matter expeditiously and Itherefore think that there is really no very great substance so as to compel me to withhold this measure. I think the points that may arise will bepoints of very small dimensions which could be settled without much difficulty or worry to either side.
It might be desirable if I explain to the House why this amendment has become necessary. Under the Mines Maternity Benefit Act, a woman working in the mine is entitled to maternity benefit for a period of 8 weeks, at the rate of 8 annas per day. This period of 8 weeks is divided into two parts of four weeks each, one part preceding delivery and another part succeeding delivery. The four weeks before delivery is a period of optional rest during which a woman may work and get full wages or absent herself and get the maternity benefit. With regard to the four weeks succeeding delivery, it is a period of compulsory rest during which the woman must not work. In fact it is unlawful and criminal for her to work, and be content only with the maternity benefit. Section 5 of the Maternity Benefit Act provides for the payment of maternity benefit and if Honourable members will refer to the works as they stand in line 9 of that section, they will find that the words as they stand are ' absent from work '. Now, it has been suggested that these words, particularly ' absent from work ' or rather ' from work ' are words which are ambiguous and I will brieflyexplain to the House why it is suggested that these words ' from work ' introduce a certain amount of ambiguity.
It is said, suppose the mine was closed by the owner on a particular day, would the woman be entitled to maternity benefit ? It is suggested that she would not be, because the implications of the words ' absent from work ' mean that there is work, but when a mine is closed there is no work. Therefore, the existence of the words ' from work ' has introduced this ambiguity. I have compared section 5 with the five different MaternityBenefit Acts which have been passed in the different provinces and I find that these words ' from work ' do not exist. Consequently, it has become necessary to remove this ambiguity by removing these words. The amendment is sought to be carried out by two different amendments. One is to delete the words which have caused this ambiguity from section 5 and make the section read to the effect that ' for every day during thefour weeks preceding delivery the woman would be entitled to maternity benefit. With regard to the days on which she choose to to amend—and as I told the House, the four weeks preceding delivery are periods of optional rest when she may choose to go and cam her full wages or stay at home and be content with maternity benefit—we have added a proviso that she shall not be entitled to any maternity benefit at all. With these words, I move.
" That the Bill to amend the Mines Maternity Benefit Act, 1941, be taken into consideration. " The motion was adopted. Clause 2 was added to the Bill. Clause 1 was added to the Bill. The Title and the Preamble were added to the Bill.
" That the Bill to impose on employers a liability to pay compensation to workmen sustaining war injuries and to provide for the insurance of employers against such liability, as reported by the Select Committee, be taken into consideration."
The principles which underlie this Bill have already been explained by me at the last time when the Bill was before the House and it is unnecessary for me therefore to traverse the same ground over again. I would briefly like to point out to the House the changes of principle whichthe Select Committee have made in the original Bill. The House must have noticed that although there are very many changes which the Select Committee has made, there are really four which are matters of principle. In the First place there has been an enlargement of the category of workmen to which this Bill is made applicable ; we have now included workmen employed in plantations. The second change made relates to therate of the first contribution which is to be made to the insurance fund. The Bill as it originally stood permitted Government to levy a rate of annaseight per Rs. 100 of the wage bill of an employer; the Select Committee has reduced the rate from eight annas to four annas. The third changemade relates to the use of the unspent balances in the insurance fund. The original proposal in the Bill was that the balance left in the fund should be merged in the general revenue and should be used for the general purposes of Governmental expenditure. The Select Committee has madea change and provided that the blance should be returned to the employer who have made the contribution in proportion to the contributions made by them. The fourth change relates to contract labour. It is now provided that in cases where the employer engages a contractor who in his turn engages workmen to carry out the work he has taken on contract, the employer who employs the contractor will nonetheless remain responsible for the payment of the compensation.
These are the principles which have been touched by the Select Committee in the changes which have been made. As the house will see, there are several amendments on the agenda to the Bill. Some of the amendments are matters of procedure and they have been put forth by Government largely for the purpose of meeting such criticism as was levelled against the Bill after it emerged from the Select Committee, and I hope there will not be much contention on these amendments.
" That the Bill to impose on employers a liability to pay compensation to workmen sustaining war injuries and to provide for the insurance ofemployers against such liability, as reported by the Select Committee, be taken into consideration."
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[f.11] The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I do not think anything has emerged from the speeches which have been delivered by Honourable Members who have taken part in this debate which calls, for any detailed reply. As I scrutinise the points made, I find that there were certain points which could have been relevant only at the time when the Bill was read for the first time. I remember that they were raised and I also remember that I attempted to give what reply I could at that stage. I do not wish, therefore, to spend any more time in discussing the thing over again.
With regard to the point that has been made with regard to certain specific clauses in the Bill as well as the amendments that are on the agenda paper, I think it would be best in the interests of economy of time that I should not devote any part of my speech to them at this stage. It would be germane, proper and relevant if the matter was taken up at the time when the amendments were moved.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I am afraid I have to oppose this amendment. I think my Honourable friend Mr. Joshi will realisethat my opposition is not based upon any want of sympathy for workmen.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I think my Honourable friend Mr. Joshi will realise that if his amendment is adopted, practically therewould be a serious limitation imposed upon the number of workmen who would be entitled to the benefit of this Bill. First of all. Sir, as Mr. Joshi said, we must go rather cautiously in this matter because his Act presupposes that there is a body of organised employers on which this liability can be imposed. It is a question of collecting premia, and you cannot collect premia from people who are merely walking in the streets. You must have some organisation on which you can fasten this liability and one has therefore to go very cautiously in including the number of workmen that could be included in this Bill. The second difficulty that I feel is this, that really speaking the acceptance of the amendment of Mr. Joshi would not enlarge the category of workmen which are included at present in this Bill. Sir, I have very carefully examined the Workmen's Compensation Act and I find that there are altogether nine different categories of workmen to which that Act applies. Comparing the categories of workmen to which we propose to apply this Act with the categories of workmen to which the Workmen's Compensation Act applies, I find that there is only onedifference. The Workmen's Compensation Act applies to buildings and public works. That is the only category of workmen to which the present Bill does not apply. On others, both the Bills—the Workmen's Compensation Act as well as this Bill—are on a parity. Then the other difference is this. If we apply the Workmen's Compensation Act, as it stands, obviously that will bring in with it the definition of workmen which is given in theWorkmen's Compensation Act. My Honourable friend Mr. Joshi will remember that the definition of workmen in the Workmen's Compensation Act is a very circumscribed and limited definition. It excludes from the category of workmen, workmen who are casual employees, and one does not know what would be the number of casual employees that may be employed in any particular industry to which this Bill applies. My Honourable friend Mr. Joshi will also recollect that the Workmen's Compensation Act excludes the category of people who are employed in clerical capacity. Our Bill does not exclude either the casual employee or the people employed in clerical capacity. I think Mr. Joshi will agree that although on an examination he will find that some minor category of workmen has been omitted, the definition of workmen is much larger than what it is under the Workmen's Compensation Act. I hope that my Honourable friend will, on this assurance, withdraw his amendment.
Mr. President (The Honourable Sir Abdur Rahim) : Is this in substitution of the other amendment ? Do I understand that if this amendment is carried, then in that case, amendment No. 3 to clause 3 will be unnecessary ?
Not much explanation is necessary in support of this amendment. As the House will recall, the clause as it stands makes the Bill exclude Government employees and railway servants from the application of this Bill. When I moved the first reading of the Bill I told the House that although this Bill did not apply to this category of workmen. Government had made ample provision to pay compensation to their own servants. Unfortunately my speech evidently did not carry conviction to some Members of the House, and they still persisted that instead of taking responsibility in an administrative manner, responsibility should be imposed by statute. Sir, I have thought it fit to accept the suggestion madeand therefore I shall be at a later stage moving the amendment which stands in my name to clause 3. Sir, I move.
' Provided further that the rate of any periodic payment after the first shall not be higher than the rate estimated to raise the amount in the Fund after repayment of the advances, if any, paid into the Fund by the Central Government under sub-section (2) of section 11, to a sum of rupees fifteen lakhs ' ."
This Proviso is again intended to meet the fears of some of the Members representing the class of employers. It was feared by them that wemight use the provisions of this clause as it stood originally to raise any amount of fund and to build it up when it was practically not necessary for the purpose for which that was intended. I had originally given an assurance on the floor of the House that it was not the intention of Government to use powers which they have got under this Bill to raise unnecessary fund to build it up and thereby inflict a sort of injury upon the employers. There again. Sir, my statement did not satisfy them, and I have thought it best to give them the satisfaction by introducing this clause. As will be seen, a limit has been placed of rupees Fifteen lakhs upon the balance on the fund, and I think this amendment will be accepted by them in thespirit in which it is intended, namely, to appease those who feel jealous about the Government's power of taxation. Sir, I move.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I appreciate the force of the necessity of giving some notice, but I would like to inform the Honourable Member that there is a provision for notice, although that provision does not appear in the Bill itself. He will realisethat the important words in the body of clause 9 are ' in accordance with the scheme '. If my Honourable friend were to turn to clause 9—I am sorry that is the reason why he has moved this amendment—and see the terms of the scheme itself, I assure him that he will find there is a clause— which at present is clause I (viii)(a) of the draft scheme—which provides for 15 days notice. I think my Honourable friend on this information will withdraw his amendment.
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The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I rise to oppose the amendment. I do not see any necessity for conceding the point which my Honourable friend is trying to make. As I pointed out to the House, we have already made a provision for notice, which is a period of 15 days, and I do not understand why my learned friend should contend for an additional privilege which will extend a further period for a recal citrantemployer. If we had not provided for notice in our scheme, I could have well understood the justice of a claim for a period of grace. But if my learned friend will allow me to say so I really see no distinction or it is rather a distinction, without difference, between period of notice and period of grace.
Mr. Hooseinbhoy A. Lalljee: Sir, I think the request which my Honourable friend, Mr. Abdur Rasheed Choudhury, made was a very fair one. ......... After all is said and done, in business life one has got to make arrangements and when we are bringing in so many people, I do feel that it will not matter very much if 15 days notice and 15 days grace period is allowed. I like the word ' grace ' rather than the word ' notice ' in all 30 days for the simple reason that grace 15 days is a thing which is absolutely a thing which the Government can give in their grace. Therefore Ithink in all fairness he will not be led by friends who believe that we in India are more dishonest than others in the world at large.
"That to sub-clause (1) of clause II of the Bill the following proviso be added : ' Provided that no payment from the Fund shall be made in discharge of any liability of the Crown to pay compensation to workmen employed by it '. "
The motion was adopted.
' (3) If when all payments which have to be made out of the Fund have been defrayed, any balance remains in the Fund, the balance shall beconstituted into a Fund to be utilised and administered by the Central Government for the benefit of workmen '." As I pointed out, the original position when the Bill was introduced was that the balance was to be utilised for general purposes of Government and was to merge in thc general revenues of the Government. The Select Committee altered that clause and provided that the balance, if any, should go to theemployers who have contributed to this fund, in proportion to their contribution. The amendment which I am moving is an amendment which is, if I may say so, a midway house between the two positions. It suggests that the fund shall not be utilised by the Government for its general purposes, nor shall it be relumed to the employer, but it shall be treated as a sort of trust fund to be utilised and administered by the Central Government for the benefit of workmen. I thought that this was a very reasonable compromise and that the whole House would accept it without demur. But I find that there are still some in the House who are not satisfied with the position outlined in this amendment. The grounds on which I justify theamendment standing in my name are, in the first instance, these. I think it will not be denied that whatever contributions the employers may maketo the insurance fund, it will be treated by the Finance Department as revenue which will be revenue for which credit will be given by the FinanceDepartment. It is really revenue which would in the ordinary circumstances go to the Government of India in the form of income-tax and excess profits tax. Therefore I have no hesitation in submitting that a very large bulk of this fund is really intended that they would get and utilise what istheirs, I do not think there was anything very serious to challenge that position. But as I stated, I have receded from that position, and I am prepared to allow this fund to be treated, not as general revenues, but as a credit fund to be utilised for the benefit of workmen. The argument which I have heard in the lobby and which seems to have prevailed upon some Honourable Members who are not satisfied with the position-taken here, appears to me to be this. They seem to think that this is the thin end of the wedge, that the Government is really establishing a precedent for making a levy on the industry for the benefit of labour. I do want to disabuse the minds of Members who entertain that sort of fear. I have assured them before this, that Government has no intention of milking unfair use of this clause by taxing an industry with the object of raising a fund for purposes for which it is not mainly required ; and I would also like to assure Honourable Members who entertain that kind of fear that it is unnecessary for Government to seek or to make any clandestine attempt to establish a precedent. Government has ample power and there are precedents which have been laid down already by laws, both here and in England, whereby it is possible for the State to impose a special cess for the benefit of labour. We have got in this country the coal cess and the coke cess, which is a levy on industry and which is utilised for the purposes of the industry or those who are being served by that industry. In England we have a case in the Coal Mines Act whereby a specific levy is made on the industry ; the fund collected by the levy is kept aside for the purposes of labour welfare. Therefore I do want to assure Honourable Members that there is no intention to attempt in a clandestine manner to establish a precedent. Our intention is to support labour and I do not understand why many employers who have always exhibited such kind interest in supporting schemes for the welfare of workmen serving them should in any way hesitate to accept the amendment which I am moving. Sir, I move.
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[f.18] The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, the point made by my Honourable friend, Mr. Chapman-Mortimer seems to be this. He says that we are changing our purpose. Originally the fund was intended to be used for the purpose of paying compensation. We now propose to usethe balance of it for welfare. No doubt this is a change of purpose but I still maintain that there is nothing improper in that. If I understood him correctly, the position of Mr. Mortimer seems to be this. He seems to be following what I must concede is a well established principle in thebudgetary arrangement, namely, that when money has been sanctioned by the legislature for a particular purpose it ought not to be spent for another service not included within that purpose. I entirely agree but that is a matter which relates to executive action. I do not propose to use the fund by executive action but it is because I do not wish to be guilty of any impropriety that I have come to the house for asking it to be guilty of any impropriety that I have come to the House for asking its sanction for allowing the balance to be used for some other purpose which the House entirely agrees to be a beneficial purpose. I, therefore, submit that there is no impropriety in changing the purpose inasmuch as we are asking for the legislative sanction of this House for the change of purpose.
Then, the point has been raised that the word ' welfare ' is an omnibus word, I agree that it is an omnibus word and I do not know if I am in a position to specify items which will be included in the term " welfare " on which there can be expected to be unanimity in this House. I shall, therefore, not venture to particularise what would come under the term " welfare ". But I would say this to those Honourable Members who do not know what is meant by " welfare " as well as to those Honourable Members who think that Government ought not to be entrusted with a responsibility for administering this Fund that they will realise that the matter, with all this, is still left in the hands of the House. The House will have many more opportunities on various occasions to raise this question as to how this money is to be utilised and I am sure many HonourableMembers who know what is " welfare " or who have ideas on it will use that opportunity to inform Government as to how that money would beutilised. Sir, I think the house will be well advised in accepting my amendment.
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" That to sub-clause (1) of clause 3 of the Bill, the following proviso be added : ' Provided that where an employer has taken out a policy of insurance as required by subsection (7) of section 9 and has made all payments by way of premium thereon which are subsequently due from him in accordance with the provisions of the Scheme, or whereby the provisions of the sub-section (2) of section 12 the employer is not required to insure, the Central Government shall assume and discharge on bahalf of the employer the employer's liability to pay compensation under this sub-section '."
The motion was adopted.
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The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I may not have sufficient amount of culture, but I claim average amount of intelligence. Sir, applying such amount of intelligence as I possess to this clause, I think my Honourable friend has entirely misunderstood the purpose of it and the necessity for it. The purpose of the clause is really not to levy distress or to take a warrant, but the purpose of the clause is to obtain information and seareh for information. Now, Sir, my Honourable friend has not understood why accurate information in this case is absolutely important. I would like to tell him that information is important not only from the point of view of the Government, but information is important from the point of view of employers themselves. Sir, it is perfectly possible for a fraudulent employer, for instance, to submit faulty information, wrong information, information understating his wages bill, information understating the number of employees who are working under him. The premia shall have to be based upon information that has been submitted. It would be perfectly possible for good employers being penalised and they have to pay more for the fault of fraudulent employers who by passing false information might try to escape liability of the law imposed upon them. Therefore, this clause is absolutely necessary, necessary in the interests of the employers themselves. I cannot understand how there can be any objection merely because the law provides that when there has been a case where it is suspected or where Government have information that accurate information has not been supplied that Government should have the power to get accurate information which, as I submit, is the very rock on which this sytem is founded. Sir, I oppose the amendment.
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Dr. Ambedkar on Social Security
I welcome you to the first session of the Plenary Labour Conference. Thirteen months ago, on August 7 last year, the representatives of the Provincial Governments, Indian States, Employers and Employees were invited by the Government of India to meet in Delhi in a Tripartite Labour Conference.
The motive for calling such a Conference was twofold. For a long time the conviction had gained ground that the industrial problems and problems of Labour Welfare could not be solved unless the three parties—Government, Employers and Employees—developed a sense of responsibility towards one another, showed more respect for the views of one another and agreed to work in a spirit of give and take and that there was not much chance of such a sense of mutual respect and responsibility growing up so long as one was engaged in talking at the other. A plan to bring them together and to let them talk to each other across the table was felt to be necessary for the realisation of this purpose.
Although the idea of such Tripartite Organisation was there, it is doubtful if it would have taken concrete shape so quickly if the war had not made the maintenance of Labour Morale an urgent and immediate necessity. The war has hastened the implementation of the Tripartite Organisation in another way.
Under the stress of the war, the Government of India was called upon in increasing degree to deal with industrial problems and problems of Labour Welfare and I am glad to be able to say that it did not hesitate to take a very bold line of action.
It also took upon ilself as its duty and responsibility to compel employers and employees to submit their disputes to arbitration. This is not all. The Government of India undertook the responsibility for ensuring the welfare of Labour, not merely by directing what should be done for the well-being of the workers but also by appointing an agency of its own to sec if the directions issued by it are carried out or not.
This bold policy was taken on its own initiative and judgement. It was, however, felt that it would be better for the Labour policy of the Government of India if a machinery was created to enable it to obtain advice from Provincial and State Governments, from Employers and Employees to enable it to act confidently in the discharge of the new duties which had fallen upon it.
Two Bodies Constituted
It was for this double purpose that the Tripartite Labour Conference was called. It was put to the Conference whether the time had not arrived for establishing a permanent and a representative body to discuss industrial problems of Labour Welfare both in their legislative and administrative aspects and also to advise the Government of India as to the most satisfactory line of action in dealing with those problems. The representatives who were then present unanimously accepted the proposal and resolved to constitute two bodies, one bigger to be called thePlenary Labour Conference and the other smaller to be called the Standing Labour Committee.
The Tripartite Labour Conference has its genesis in the exigencies of war. But I am happy to say that it is to last beyond the war. It is going to be an institution which will have a permanent place in the economic structure of the country.
Nobody, I am sure, will have any doubt as to the wisdom of the decision taken in favour of having such a representative forum for the discussion of industrial and labour problems. Asurvey of the work done during the last 13 months will be sufficient to remove it.
Since August 7, 1942, when these two bodies came into being there have been three meetings of the Standing labour Committee. The Agenda of the first meeting of the Standing Labour Committee comprised subjects such as Wartime Labour Legislation, Problems of production such as settlement of disputes, absenteeism. Hours of work, Industrial Fatigue, Health Research Boards, Earnings of Labour, DearnessAllowances, Profit Bonuses, Savings, Questions of Welfare, Cost-price grain shops, Joint Committee for A.R.P. and Welfare work ; and Rounding-off Wage Payments in view of the shortage of small coins.
The third meeting was devoted to the consideration of a fair wage clause in Government Contracts, Joint Production Committees, Appointment of Labour Officers in Industrial undertakings. Working of the Defence of India Rule 81-A, Establishment of Employment Exchanges, and Collection of Statistics under the Industrial Statistics Act.
This will give an idea of the very wide range of the subjects which have been discussed by the Standing Labour Committee. It has not been possible to come to unanimous decisions on matters which have been discussed.
But the discussions have been extremely useful and the Government of India having been greatly benefitted by them. Owing to want of unanimity the Government of India could not take positive action on most of the matters that were discussed. But where there has been unanimity the Government of India has not been slow to accept those decisions and give effect to them. In support of this I would refer here to certain items such as the War Injuries (Compensation Insurance) Act and the National Service (Technical Personnel Amendment) Ordinance. Other instances would be the Industrial Statistics Act and the Employment Exchanges Scheme. Action in consonance with the decisions of the Conference under both these will be taken very soon.
Fundamental Change In Outlook
There may be many to whom this progress may appear to be very meagre. To them I would say that theirs is the wrong perspective. There are no short cuts to progress and one cannot be sure that short cuts will be right cuts. Progress by peaceful means is always a slow process and to impatient idealists like myself it is sometimes painfully slow. In an old country like India, with no tradition of collective action and no trace of social conscience progress is bound to be slower. No one need be disheartened by this. For to my mind what matters is not so much the rate of progress as the nature of the outlook.
Looking at the Tripartite Conference from this point of view I have no hesitation in saying that the great achievement of the Tripartite Conference is the fundamental change it has brought about in the outlook of Government and of Employers and of Employees on labour problems. No one who has participated in these Conferences could have failed to sense it. Assured of a healthy and wholesome change in the outlook we can confidently hope for acceleration in the rate of our progress.
ITEMS ON AGENDA
(v) Adoption of the Rules of Procedure for the Plenary Conference.
(vi) Setting up of Tripartite Organisations in Provinces.
Of these items, there are two the importance of which I am sure will not escape you. I refer to Social Security and the Representation of Labour. They are inseparable. What is significant is that they are inescapable. They are matters of serious consideration all over the world and theBeveridge Report is only one instance of the general interest which the problem has aroused all over the world. We in India cannot shut our eyes to them. It is not for me to tell you how you should deal with them or what would be the correct attitude to take in regard to them. But you will permit me to make two observations which are germane to the issues which they cover. The first is this.
Those who are living under the capitalistic form of industrial organisation and under the form of political organisation called Parliamentary Democracy must recognise the contradictions of their systems. The first contradiction is between fabulous wealth and abject poverty not in its simple form but in its aggravated form in which we sec it, wealth to those who do not work and poverty for those who do.
The second contradiction lies between the political and the economic systems. In politics, equality ; in economics, inequality. One man one vote, one vote one value is our political maxim. Our maxim in econimics is a negation of our political maxim. There might be differences of opinion in the matter of resolving these contrasts. But there can be no difference of opinion on the point that these contradictions do exist.
It is true these contradictions, though glaring, passed unnoticed by the mass of the people. But today the situation has changed and the contrasts which even the keenest was not aware of are now brought home even to the dullest;
The second observation I wish to make is this Ever since the basis of social life was changed from status to contract insecurity of life has become a social problem and its solution has occupied the thoughts of all those who believe in the betterment of human life. There has been an enormous energy spent in enunciating the rights of man and the different sorts of freedom which must be regarded as his inalienable birthright. All this, of course, is very good, very cheering. What I wish to say is that there will be very little security unless and until, to use the words of the Report of the Economic Group of the Pacific Relations Conference, these rights are translated into terms which the common man can understand, namely, peace, a house, adequate clothing, education, good health, and, above all, the right to walk with dignity on the world's great boulevards without the fear of a fall.
For Dignified Existence
We, in India, cannot fail to recognise these problems or bypass them. We must be prepared for the revaluation of values. It will not be enough to make industrial development of India as our goal. We shall have to agree that any such industrial development shall be maintained at a socially desirable level. It will not be enough to bend our energies for the production of more wealth in India. We shall have to agree not merely to recognise the basic right of all Indians to share in that wealth as a means for a decent and dignified existence but to devise ways and means to insure him against insecurity.
I have no intention to be over-critical in this matter, but I would ask delegates to be as brief as possible and to keep to the point at issue. I do not wish to restrict the opportunities of any delegate to participate in the discussion and to make his contribution but I would ask you to remember that what we want to get at is the view of the delegate. He is welcome to explain his views. But the statement of his views need not always be accompanied by an elaborate chain of reasoning, at any rate where the reasoning is of the obvious kind. I am sure every one of you is as anxious as I am to make our proceedings thoroughly businesslike and thereby avoid laying ourselves open to the charge which Carlylelevelled against the House of Commons.
[Speech delivered at the concluding session of the All India Trade Union Workers' Study Camp held in Delhi from 8th to 17th September 1943 under the auspices of the Indian Federation of Labour.]
I appreciate very much the kind invitation of your Secretary to come and address you this evening. I was hesitating to accept this invitation and for two reasons. In the first place I can say very little which can bind the Government. Secondly I can say very little about Trade Unionism in which you are primarily interested. I accepted the invitation because your Secretary would not take a ' No ' from me. I also felt that this was probably the best opportunity I can have to speak out my thoughts on Labour organisation in India which have been uppermost in my mind and which I thought may even interest those who are primarily interested in Trade Unionism.
The Government of human society has undergone some very significant changes. There was a time when the government of human society had taken the form of autocracy by Despotic Sovereigns. This was replaced after a long and bloody struggle by a system of government known as Parliamentary Democracy. It was felt that this was the last word in the frame work of government. It was believed to bring about the millennium in which every human being will have the right to liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. And there were good grounds for such high hopes. In Parliamentary Democracy there is the Legislature to express the voice of the people; there is the Executive which is subordinate to the Legislature and bound to obey the Legislature. Over and above the Legislature and the Executive there is the Judiciary to control both and keep them both within prescribed bounds. Parliamentary Democracy has all the marks of a popular Government, a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is therefore a matter of some surprise that there has been a revolt against Parliamentary Democracy although not even a century has elapsed since its universal acceptance and inauguration. There is revolt against it in Italy, In Germany, in Russia, and in Spain, and there are very few countries in which there has not been discontent against Parliamentary Democracy. Why should there be this discontent and dissatisfaction against Parliamentary Democracy ? It is a question worth considering. There is no country in which the urgency of considering this question is greater than it is in India. India is negotiating to have Parliamentary Democracy. There is a great need of some one with sufficient courage to tell Indians " Beware of Parliamentary Democracy, it is not the best product, as it appeared to be. "
Why has Parliamentary Democracy failed ? In the country of the dictators it has failed because it is a machine whose movements are very slow. It delays swift action. In a Parliamentary Democracy the Executive may be held up by the Legislature which may refuse to pass the laws which the Executive wants, and if it is not held up by the Legislature it may be held up by the Judiciary which may declare the laws as illegal. Parliamentary Democracy gives no free hand to Dictatorship, and that is why it is a discredited institution in countries like Italy, Spain and Germany which are ruled by Dictators. If Dictators alone were against Parliamentary Democracy it would not have mattered at all. Their testimony against Parliamentary Democracy would be no testimony at all. Indeed Parliamentary Democracy would be welcomed for the reason that it can be an effective check upon Dictatorship. But unfortunately there is a great deal of discontent against Parliamentary Democracy even in countries where people are opposed to Dictatorship. That is the most regrettable fact about Parliamentary Democracy. This is all more regrettable because Parliamentary Democracy has not been at a standstill. It has progressed in three directions. It has progressed by expanding the notion of Equality of Political rights. There are very few countries having Parliamentary Democracy which have not adult suffrage. It has recognised the principle of Equality of Social and Economic opportunity.
And thirdly it has recognised that the state cannot be held at bay by corporations which are anti-social in their purpose. With all this, there is immense discontent against Parliamentary Democracy even in countries pledged to Democracy. The reasons for discontent in such countries must obviously be different from those assigned by the dictator countries. There is no time to go into details. But it can be said in general terms that the discontent against Parliamentary Democracy is due to the realisation that it has failed to assure to the masses the right to liberty, property or the pursuit of happiness. If this is true, it is important to know the causes which have brought about this failure. The causes for this failure may be found either in wrong ideology or wrong organisation, or in both. I think the causes are to be found in both. As an illustration of wrong ideology which has vitiated Parliamentary Democracy I can only deal with only two. I have no doubt that what has ruined Parliamentary Democracy is the idea of freedom of contract. The idea became sanctified and was upheld in the name of liberty. Parliamentary Democracy took no notice of economic inequalities and did not care to examine the result of freedom of contract on the parlies to the contract, should they happen to be unequal. It did not mind if the freedom of contract gave the strong the opportunity to defraud the weak.. The result is that Parliamentary Democracy in standing out as protagonist of Liberty has continuously added to the economic wrongs of the poor, the downtrodden and the dis-inherited class. The second wrong ideology which has vitiated Parliamentary Democracy is the failure to realisethat political democracy cannot succeed where thcre is no social and economic democracy. Some may question this proposition. To those who are disposed to question it, I will ask a counter question. Why Parliamentary Democracy collapsed so easily in Italy, Germany and Russia ? Why did it not collapse so easily in England and the U. S. A. ? To my mind there is only one answer—namely, there was a greater degree of economic and social democracy in the latter countries than it existed in the former. Social and economic democracy are the tissues and the fiber of a Political Democracy. The tougher the tissue and the fiber, the greater the strength of the body. Democracy is another name for equality. Parliamentary Democracy developed a passion for liberty. It never made even a nodding acquaintance with equality. It failed to realisethe significance of equality, and did not even endeavour to strike a balance between Liberty and Equality, with the result that liberty swallowedequality and has left a progeny of inequities.
I have referred to the wrong ideologies which in my judgement have been responsible for the failure of Parliamentary Democracy. But I am equally certain that more than bad ideology it has bad organisation which has been responsible for the failure of Democracy. All political societies get divided into two classes—the Rulers and the Ruled. This is an evil. If the evil stopped here it would not matter much. But the unfortunate part of it is that the division becomes stereotyped and stratified so much so that the Rulers are always drawn from the Ruling Class and the class of the Ruled never becomes the Ruling class. People do not govern themselves, they establish a government and leave it to govern them, forgetting that is not their government. That being the situation. Parliamentary Democarey has never been a government of the people or by the people, and that is why it has never been a government for the people. Parliamentary Democracy, notwithstand-ing the paraphernalia of a popular government, is in reality a government of a hereditary subject class by a hereditary ruling class. -It is this vicious organisation of political life which has made Parliamentary Democracy such a dismal failure . It is because of this that Parliamentary Democracy has not fulfilled the hope it held out the common man of ensuring to him liberty, property and pursuit of happiness.
The question is who is responsible for this ? There is no doubt that if Parliamentary Democracy has failed to benefit the poor, the labouring and the down trodden classes, it is these classes who are primarily resonsible for it. In the first place, they have shown a most appalling indifference to the effect of the economic factor in the making of men's life. Someone very recently wrote a book called the ' End of the Economic Man '. We cannot really talk of the End of the Economic Man for the simple reason that the Economic Man was never born.
The common retort to Marx that man does not live by bread alone is unfortunately a fact. I agree with Carlyle that the aim of civilisation can not be merely to fatten men as we do pigs. But we are far off from that stage. The labouring class far from being fat like pigs are starving, and one wishes that they thought of bread first and everything else afterwards.
Marx propounded the doctrine of the Economic interpretation of History. A great controversy has raged over its validity. To my mind Marx propounded it not so much as doctrine as a direction to Labour that if Labour cares to make its economic interests paramount, as the owning classes do, history will be a reflection of the economic facts of life more than it has been. If the doctrine of Economic interpretation of History is not wholly true it is because the labouring class as a whole has failed to give economic facts the imperative force they have in determining the terms of associated life. The Labouring classes have failed to acquaint itself with literature dealing with the government of mankind. Everyone from the Labouring Classes should be acquainted with Rousseau's Social contract, Marx's Communist Manifesto, Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical on the conditions of Labour and John Stauart Mill on Liberty , to mention only four of the basic programmatic documents on social and governmentalorganisation of modem times. But the labouring classes will not give them the attention they deserve. Instead labour has taken delight reading false and fabulous stories of ancient kings and queens and has become addicted to it.
There is another and a bigger crime which they have committed against themselves. They have developed no ambition to capture government, and are not even convinced of the necessity of controlling government as a necessary means of safeguarding their interests. Indeed, they are not even interested in government. Of all the tragedies which have beset mankind, this is the biggest and the most lamentable one. Whatever organisation there is, it has taken the form of Trade Unionism. I am not against Trade Unions. They serve a very useful purpose. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that Trade Unions are a panacea for all the ills of labour.Trade Unions, even if they are powerful, are not strong enough to compel capitalists to run capitalism better. Trade Unions would be much more effective if they had behind them a Labour Government to rely on. Control of Government must be the target for Labour to aim at. Unless Trade Unionism aims at controlling government, trade unions will do very little good to the workers and will be a source of perpetual squables among Trade Union Leaders. The third besetting sin of the labouring classes is the easy way which they are lead away by an appeal to Nationalism. The working classes who are beggared in every way and who have very little to spare, often sacrifice their all to the so-called cause of Nationalism. They have never cared to enquire whether the nationalism for which they are to make their offerings will, when established, give them social and economic equality. More often than not, the free independent national state which emerges from successful nationalism and which reared on their sacrifices, turns to be the enemy of the working class under the hegemony of their masters. This is the worst kind of exploitation that Labour has allowed itself to be subjected to.
If the working classes have to live under a system of Parliamentary Democracy then it must devise the best possible means to turn it to their benefit. As far as I can see, two things are necessary if this object is to be achieved. First thing to do is to discard mere establishment of Trade Unions as the final aim and object of Labour in India. It must declare that its aim is to put labour in charge of Government. For this it must organise a Labour Parly as a political party. Such a party will no doubt cover Trade Unions in its organisation. But it must be free from the narrow and cramping vision of Trade Unionism, with its stress on the immediate gain at the cost of ultimate benefit and with the vested right of TradeUnion officials to represent Labour. It must equally dissociate itself from communal or capitalistic political parties such as the Hindu Mahasabhaor the Congress. There is no necessity for Labour to submerge itself in the Congress or the Hindu Mahasabha or be the camp followers of either, simply because these bodies claim to be fighting for the freedom of India. Labour by a separate political organisation of its ranks can serve both the purposes. It can fight the battle of India's freedom better by freeing itself from the clutches of the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha. It can prevent itself from being defrauded in the name of nationalism. What is most important is that it will act as a powerful check on the irrationalism of Indian politics. Congress politics is claimed to be revolutionary. That is why it has secured a large number of followers. But it is also a fact that Congress politics has brought nothing but frustration. The reason is Congress politics is so irrational and it is irrational largely because Congress has no rival. A Labour Party in India would be most welcome corrective to this irrationalism which has dominated Indian politics for the last two decades. The second thing for Labour in India to realiseis that without knowledge there is no power When a Labour Party is formed in India and when such a party puts forth its claim to be installed on the Gadi before the electorate, the question, whether Labour is fit to govern, is sure to be asked. It would be no answser to say that Labour could not govern worse or display greater bankruptcy in home or foreign affairs than the other classes. Labour will have to prove positively that it can govern better. Let it not also be forgotten that the pattern of Labour Government is a very difficult one than that of the other classes. Labour government cannot be a government of laissez faire. It will be a government which must essentially be based on a system of control. A system of control needs a far greater degree of Knowledge and training than a laissez fairegovernment does. Unfortunately, Labour in India has not realized the importance of study. All that Labour leaders in India have done, is to learn how best to abuse Industrialists. Abuse and more abuse has become the be all and end all of his role as a labour leader.
I am therefore very glad to find that the Indian Federation of Labour has recognised this defect and has come forward to open these study circles for the Labouring Classes. They are going to be the most effective means of making Labour fit to govern. I hope the Federation will not forget the other necessity namely to inaugurate a Labour Party. When this is done, the Federation will deserve the thanks of the Labouring Classes to have raised them to the status of a governing class.
The motion is merely for circulation for the purpose of eliciting public opinion on this measure. That being so, it seems to me unnecessary to take the time of the House to deal in any detailed manner with the provisions which are embodied in this Bill. It is enough, I think, to tell the House what are the main features of the Bill and what has led Government to undertake this particular piece of legislation.
The Bill has three important features. In the first place, the Bill seeks to compel an employer to recognise a trade union. In the second place, the Bill imposes certain conditions on a trade union in order to make the trade union, if I may sayso, worthy of recognition by an employer.
The third feature of the Bill is to make non-recognition by an employer of a trade union, which has observed all the conditions prescribed in this measure and which has therefore qualified itself for recognition, an offence which is made punishable by law.
As I said, it is unnecessary to discuss the merits of this measure. The motion is for circulation which obviously means that the provisions embodied in the Bill by the Government at the present stage are only tentative. There is no finality about it, and Government do not propose to make these provisions final unless they have received the opinions of leaders of labour, employers. Provincial Governments and other partics who are concerned in this measure. The Bill may therefore be quite different from what it is now, when Government has applied its mind to the various suggestions that it hopes to receive as a result of circulation.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I hope so from everybody's point of view. All that therefore I propose to say is to tell the House what has led the Government of India to take this responsibility upon its shoulders.
The House will recall that this matter was considered and great deal of attention was devoted to the question of the recognition of trade unions by employer, and all those Honourable Members who have read the Report of the Royal Commission on Labour will realise what great emphasis the Royal Commission laid on the recognition of trade unions as a measure for the healthy growth of trade unions and for amicable relations between employers and workers. The House will also remember that the Royal Commission at that stage stated that they would very much desire if the recognition was achieved voluntarily by the consent of the employers without any legal obligation upon them. The House will also remember that the Royal Commission reported in 1929,—practically 12 years have elapsed—and there has been no willingness on the part of employers to recognise trade unions voluntarily. Indeed the objections which the employers made before the Royal Commission for opposing the recognition of trade unions are still the objections which the employers are pressing for nonrecognition. Consequently the situation has certainly not improved.
As Honourable Members will remember, this question was taken up after 1937 when provincial autonomy came into being, by most of the Provincial Governments which came and took office under the new Act. There were both private measures and measures introduced by theMinistries in order to bring about recognition of trade unions by employers. For instance, in Madras there was a private Bill brought in, there was also a Government measure brought in by the Ministry of the day. In Bombay, Government brought in a measure called the Bombay Trade Disputes Act. In C.P. an Act was contemplated and a draft was prepared and the same was done in the province of the U.P. Unfortunately, except in the case of Bombay, the Ministries in other provinces resigned before their projects could assume a statutory character. However, theGovernment of India, after provincial autonomy had come into existence, had inaugurated a system of collaboration between the centre and theprovinces and one of the means adopted for collaboration was to inaugurate what were called Labour Ministers' Conferences. The First Labour Ministers' Conference was held in 1940 when this subject was discussed between the Provincial Governments and the Central Government. It was then decided that there was not enough material before the Conference to come to any definite conclusion on the matter and the Conference gave instructions to the Central Government that the matter should be referred to the Provincial Governments in order to elicit opinion from the Provnicial Governments as well as leaders of labour and employers and that the material should be placed at the second session of the Labour Ministers' Conference which was proposed to be held in the year 1941. Accordingly the Government of India addressed a letter to the Provincial Governments asking them to collect the opinions of the different partics relating to this measure, and a very large body of opinion was collected by the different Provincial Governments and forwarded to the Central Government with the opinions of the different provinces on them. The whole of this was placed before the Labour Ministers' Conference held in 1941 and the conclusion reached then was that the Central Government should undertake legislation, that that legislation should not be purely provincial and that draft should be prepared on the basis of the replies that were received from the Provincial Governments and from the various parlies which were concerned with this matter. As a result of this the Government of India undertook the task and the present Bill is really the result of the sifting of the information which the Central Government received and the opinions which were expressed by the various parties concerned. This is the origin of the measure. This will explain why, although labour legislation is a provincial subject, the Central Government has come in with this measure.
I do not think that it is necessary for me to say anything further on this measure. As I have said, the proposals are tentative, there is no finality, and there cannot be any finality unless and until we receive opinions on the draft Bill as it stands. All that I say is that it is one of the most important measures which this Legislature has been invited to undertake. It is also a unique measure. Except in the case of the United States and Sweden, recognition of trade unions in other countries has been left to voluntary effort. I hope this will not be a controversial measure. In any case I do not wish to say more than what I have said in view of the fact that I prefer to submit the Bill to public scrutiny before I undertake to make myself responsible for any of the provisions contained in the Bill. Sir, I move :
Mr. President (The Honourable Sir Abdur Rahim) : Motion moved :
" That the Bill further to amend the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926, be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. "
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[f.24] Mr. P. J. Griffiths (Assam : European) : Mr. President, the motion at present before the House is that this Bill be circulated for eliciting opinion thereon ............ Let me remind my Honourable Friend too that trade unions have many enemies.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: employers are one of them.
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[f.25] The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, the Bill, which I have the honour to move for circulation has given rise to controversy. This is, of course, not unexpected. As I said in my opening observations, the Bill is undoubtedly a controversial measure but I also stated in the course of my opening observations that I do not propose to enter into the controversy today and to reply to the various points that have been made. I do not do so in any spirit or discourtesy to Honourable Members who have taken part in this debate and presented their point of view. I assure them that I will bear their points in mind and consider their validity on the occasion when such occasion will arise.
If I rise at this stage, as I said, it is not to reply to the various points that have been made but I do feel that I am bound to meet certain points of criticism which were made by my Honourable friend, Mr. Griffiths. There is one point which he made which, if he will permit me to say so, I think was very unfair. He said that I have brought in a measure which was vague in some way and which contained, if I may use the phrase, empty clauses. His criticism was that I was not justified and that it was unfair on my part to ask the House to consider a Bill which contained such vague and empty clauses. I do not accept that criticism and I do say that it was entirely misconceived and unfounded. I do not admit in the first instance that there are any clauses in this Bill which are vague or that there are any clauses in this Bill which are empty, so empty as not to enable anybody to understand what the Bill aims at. But assuming for a moment that there are certain clauses which are vague and other clauses which require content to be put in I do not think that the criticism was valid. If I asked the House to proceed to enact the measure in the form in which it was presented, I could have understood the point of the criticism but that is not what I am doing. I am asking merely the permission of the House that this Bill, such as it is, may be circulated for the purpose of eliciting further opinion, so that Government may have guidance from such partics as can give guidance and Government in the end may be able to fill in the gaps and make definite what is vague. I therefore submit that there was no point in that criticism which Mr. Griffiths made.
Mr. Griffiths then said that the Bill in his opinion was unsound in principle. Well, that is a matter of opinion. We have heard people on the other side saying that there is a perfectly sound principle in the Bill and that it ought to be embodied in an Act. Therefore I shall not dwell on that point of his criticism.
The second point that he made was that I have somehow not stated what a representative trade union was. Without meaning any offence, if I may say so, he has cither not read the clauses of the Bill, or if he has read them he has not understood them. It is perfectly clear from the provisions that are set out in this Bill that there are two principal conditions laid down. One is this—that a trade union before it can be recognised must fulfil certain conditions. The second condition which has been laid down is this—that mere fulfilment of the conditions laid down is not a qualification enough for recognition but that the trade union, in addition to fulfilling these qualifications, will have to undergo the test of a certification by a Board. In fact, if I may say so, the principle of the Bill—the fundamental part of it—is that the representative character of the Union will depend primarily subject to other conditions on the certificate that a tripartite board, representing Labour, Government and the Employers, will be able to give. My friend then made great play of sub-clause (g) of clause 28D which says : any further conditions that may be prescribed. I cannot understand how Mr. Griffiths could have so completely misunderstood the purport of that clause. The position of the Government is.........
P. J. Griffiths : On a point of personal explanation. I did not refer to sub-clause (g) at all.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am very sorry if I misunderstood the Honourable Member. That is what I took down. What I would like to say is this. The position of the Government is perfectly plain and may be stated briefly. On the basis of the views that were communicated .to us in 1941 and on the basis of the views that were communicated to us from the various organisations representing labour and capital, Government came to the conclusion that the positive conditions which they have laid down ought to be sufficient. But Government does not wish to dogmatise about it and Government does feel that there might be certain conditions which either the Provincial Government or the employers of labour or capital may find to be necessary to be introduced in this Bill before recognition is granted. It is to make provision for a contingency of that kind we have introduced these clauses wherever it is stated that further conditions may be prescribed. It is a loophole, it is an opportunity which we have left and designed to take to ourselves the benefit of any advice that we might receive. There is certainly no vagueness and no uncertainty with regard to the provisions of the Bill as to what a representative character means.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths : On a point of information. Would you explain to the House the meaning of the new clause 28D, sub-clause (e) " that it is a representative Trade Union " ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : It means a Union which has been certified by the Board as a representative Trade union.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths : Of their own free will ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : The Board will make an investigation and that was the point of comment of my friend, Mr. Joshi, who said that the Board is authorised to ask for all sorts of information including the views of the private members.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths : Is it the intention that the Board shall have some guidance as to what is meant by " representative " ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : We propose to. On that point we would like to have a suggestion from various parties as to what sort of instructions they would like us to give to the Board.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths: So, you have a blank mind on the subject.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : It is not a blank mind; it is an open mind. That is the way I would like to define my position correctly.
Mr. Griffiths as well as other Members who spoke on the Bill said that the Government was not justified or rather, to use their own words, Government was illogical in applying clause 27J by exempting Government undertakings from the operation of this Bill.
Now, Sir, the first point that I would like to make in reply to the contention is that Logic is certainly not always life. There are many occasions when illogicality would reduce ourselves to extremism and I do not think any man would prefer extremism to illogically. Personally myself, I think, if anything could be said with regard to clause 28J, it could be said that Government is not timid. Government is not illogical; Government is wise and Government is cautious. I think that this clause has been somewhat misunderstood. There is no intention to exempt Government from the provisions of this Bill. All that is said is this that a date will be fixed when the provisions of this Bill will be applied to Government undertakings. Therefore, if there is any discrimination made in favour of the Government, it is not with regard to the application of the Bill but with regard to the date on which it will become applicable to Government.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths : Why is that made ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : There may be necessity for it.
Mr. P. J. Griffiths : What is it ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : As I said, I do not want to enter into controversy at this stage and as the Secretary of the Posts and Telegraphs Department said. Government feels that, at any rate for the present, the Government Departments who are employers of labour have made sufficient provision for the recognition of their trade unions. And in view of the fact that Government has certainly been far more ready to recognise Trade Unions than private employers, I do not think that the interests of labour will suffer if the date for the application of this Bill is postponed. Sir, I have nothing more to say.
Mr. President (The Honourable Sir Abdur Rahim): The question is:
" That the Bill further to amend the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926, be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. ". The Motion was adopted.
Problems relating to the post-war development of electric power in India were discussed by the Reconstruction Policy Committee which met in New Delhi on October 25, the Hon'ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Member for Labour, Government of India, presiding. A number of delegates from the Provincial Governments, leading power States and engineering interests attended the meeting on the invitation of the Central Government.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, addressing the Committee, said:
Gentlemen, I welcome you to this meeting of the Policy Committee of the Reconstruction Committee No. 3C. A Chairman has both the obligation and the privilege of making an opening speech. The obligation I accept. But I do not wish to abuse the privilege by inflicting upon you a long speech. All I propose to do is to put certain relevant facts into focus so that our attention may be riveted upon them.
For the information of those of you who do not know the machinery set up by the Government of India to study the various problems of reconstruction but whose participation is necessary I would like, if I may briefly, to refer to the plan of work which has been adopted for the better and most expeditious way of carrying out the work taken up by the Reconstruction Committee of Council.
It is, I am sure, within your knowledge that the ex-Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow in March last decided to have a Reconstruction Committee of Council under the airmanship of my gallant friend and colleague the Hon'ble Sir J. P. Srivastava. The Reconstruction Committee of Council has set up five different Reconstruction Committees. Committee No. I deals with Re-Settlement and Re-Employment, Committee No. II with Disposals, Contracts and Government Purchases. The work of Committee No. III is partitioned among three Committees— Committee No. 3A deals with Transport, No. 3B with Posts, Telegraphs and Air Communications, and No. 3C with Public Works and Electric Power. Committee No. IV is concerned with Trade and Industry, and Committee No. V with Agriculture.
Each of these Committees has a Policy Committee which works under the presidentship of a Member of Council which is composed of the representatives of the Central Government, Provincial Governments, State Governments, and such representatives of trade, industry and commerce as are considered necessary. Each has also an official committee which works under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the Department and is composed of the Secretaries of other Departments concerned.
In addition to these two sets of Committees, some of the Reconstruction Committees have a third committee called Subject Committee to deal with technical subjects arising within its field. In addition to these there is an official committee on Social Services and a Consultative Committee of Economists. Such is the plan of work devised by the Central Government to deal with the problems of Reconstruction. Ours is a meeting of the Policy Committee of the Reconstruction Committee No. 3C. The task of this Committee is to study the problems connected with electric power and to make a recommendation as to the best way of solving them.
Before I enter upon an analysis of the problems, there is one question relating to generation of electric power to which I wish to make a reference at an early stage as I wish to get it out of the way. It relates to the question of procurement of machinery, tools and plants that would be necessary for the generation of electrical power. That machinery will have to be obtained from outside, mostly from Great Britain. The prospect of obtaining such machinery is not free from difficulty. Great Britain would require a great deal of her productive capacity to be reserved for her own needs.
There are other European and Asiatic countries which would be in the British and American markets to acquire the necessary stock of tools and plants. In this competition India may find it difficult to obtain the quota she will need. To safeguard India's position it would be desirable if India could register her orders for tools and plants as early as possible and secure as great a priority as can be done. The difficulties regarding priority may not be very great. I feel quite certain that we can depend upon His Majesty's Government to secure for India high priority in view of the aid she has rendered in this War. But there are other difficulties mainly arising from making up the indents and placing them with the manufacturers as firm orders.
In the first place, electricity is a purely provincial subject. The estimates as to tools and machinery must, therefore, come from the Provinces. The Centre can only sum them up.
In the second place, the type of machinery will depend upon the decision as to the prime mover that is to be used for the generation of electricity, whether water, steam, oil, etc.
The third difficulty arises out of the uncertainty of the attitude of the governments which will come into existence after the war. Will the future Government accept the plans and programmes set out by the present Government ? Will the future Governments maintain the level of taxation which the plans and the programmes made by the present Government will require ? On these questions one cannot be sure. All the same it seems that this Government would be failing in its duty if it did not make secure the prospect of India getting the tools and plants necessary for electrification at the end of the war.
Functions Of Policy Committee I mention this matter as being urgent and important. But I am sure you will understand that this is not the matter with which this Committee is primarily concerned. This is a Policy Committee and our primary concern is to deal with the problems arising out of the administration, production and distribution of electricity and to recommend what we regard as the principles which should guide the future Government of India. We have taken advantage today of our meeting of our Policy Committee to ask Provincial Governments and State Governments to send representatives to this meeting to give us the benefit of their views.
The treatment of electricity as a matter of public concern has passed through many vicissitudes. The Government of India seems to have become aware of it for the first time in 1905 when, I find, a circular letter was issued by it to the Provincial Governments. Thereafter both the Provincial Governments and the Central Government seem to have gone to bed. They woke up when the urgency of active interest in electricity was emphasised by the Report of the Indian Industrial Commission published in 1918 and the Report of the Indian Munitions Board which came out a year later.
The Industrial Commission recommended the necessity for a Hydrographic Survey of India to be undertaken by Government rather than by private enterprise. The Government of India accepted this recommendation and appointed the laic Mr. G. T. Barlow, C.I.E., then Chief Engineer, Irrigation Branch, the United Provinces, to take charge of the Hydrographic Survey as Chief Engineer, associating with him in the enquiry Mr. J. M. Meares, M.I.C.E., Electrical Adviser to the Government of India. Soon after Mr. Barlow died, and his work was carried on by Mr. Meares who produced three most excellent reports between 1919 and 1922 containing information Province by Province regarding the possibilities of Power Supply under five heads—(1) water power already developed, (2) plants under construction, (3) areas investigated but not developed, (4) known sites of which detailed examination is desirable, and (5) areas and sites not investigated.
Electricity—A Provincial Subject
Unfortunately under the changes made in the Government of India in consequence of the Act of 1919, Electricity became a Provincial subject. That Act unfortunately did not contain a provision as the present Act does of permitting the Central Government to spend its revenues on matters which it felt fit and proper although they were outside its field of administration. The result was that it became impossible for the Government of India to finance the Hydrographic Survey. A good, great and necessary piece of work for providing India with supply of electrical power came to an end.
There is no officer at the Centre in charge of the development of electricity in India with the result that we at the Centre had till recently no data as to the production, distribution and administration of electricity in India.
I am, therefore, glad that the subject of electricity in India has come up again for serious consideration. So far as I am able to visualize, the questions which this Committee must concern itself with are :—
(1) Whether electricity should be privately owned or whether it should be State-owned ?
(2) If it is to be privately owned, are there any conditions which it is necessary to impose so as to safeguard the interests of the public ?
(3) Whether the development responsibility for electricity should belong to the Central Government or to the Provincial Government ?
(4) If the responsibility is to be of the Central Government, what is the most efficacious method of administering it so as to provide cheap and abundant supply of electricity and avoid waste of resources ?
(5) If the responsibility is to be of the Provinces, whether the administration by the Provinces should be subordinate to an Inter-Provincial Board with powers to advise and co-ordinate ?
Every one of these questions has two sides. Each side has its protagonists. I do not wish to express my opinion at this stage. I have an openmind. But it is not an empty mind. All I wish to say is that in coming to our conclusions as to which is the better way of developing electricity we shall have to bear in mind three considerations :—
(1) Which of the two will give us power not at a cheaper but at the cheapest price,
(2) Which of the two will give us power which will not merely be sufficient but which will be abundant,
(3) Which of the two will enable India to be equipped with electricity by treating it on the same basis as a strategic Railway, that is to say, as an undertaking which must be started without consideration of immediate profit.
I emphasise these considerations because what India wants is an assured supply of power, cheap power and abundant power.
These are primary questions. There may be some hesitation lurking in the minds of some of you to deal with them on the ground that most of them raise the question of changes in the Constitution. Speaking for myself I feel no such hesitation. There is a difference between deciding a constitutional issue and expressing an opinion on it. We shall not be deciding upon constitutional questions. We shall be only expressing our opinion as regards them. We are not debarred from considering them for the reason that they are of a constitutional nature. I feel quite certain that we cannot avoid them if we want to do justice to the subject which is placed in our charge.
Power Supply Department
Besides these primary questions there are others which are by no means secondary. If electrification is to be a success we cannot leave them out of our consideration. They are :—
(1) Whether it is necessary to establish a Power Supply Department at the Centre whose duty would be to make a systematic survey of the available sources of power, namely, coal, petrol, alchohol and running water, etc., and to suggest ways and means of increasing generating capacity.
(2) Whether it is necessary to establish a Power Research Bureau at the Centre to study problems connected with the relation between the sources of power and the machinery in order to promote the most efficient use of available power.
(3) Whether it is necessary to adopt some means to train Indians in electrical technology so that India will have a staff to plan and to carry out schemes of construction, maintenance and improvement in electrical plant and machinery.
Before I conclude may I make a few observations pointing out the significance of and the ultimate objective that lies behind the need for electrical development in India ? It is necessary that those who are placed in charge of the subject should have the fullest realisation of its significance and its objective. If you agree with me in this I will request you to ask yourselves the question, ' Why do we want cheap and abundant electricity in India ? ' The answer is that without cheap an abundant electricity no effort for the industrialisation of India can succeed. This answer brings out only a part of the significance of the work this Committee has to undertake.
Ask another question, ' Why is industrialisation necessary ? ' and you will have the full significance made clear to you at once ; for the answer to the question is, we want industrialisation in India as the surest means to rescue the people from the eternal cycle of poverty in -which they are caught. Industrialisation of India must, therefore, be grappled with immediately. Industrialisation Of India
Industrialisation of India has been in the air for many years. But one fails to notice any serious drive to bring about industrialisation. There are still some who pay only lip service to it. Others look upon it as a fad, if not a craze. There are very many who are never tired of preaching that India is an agricultural country and therefore the best thing to do is to devote all energy to improve agriculture and not to run after industrialisation. Nobody needs to be told that India is primarily an agricultural country. Everybody knows it. What is surprising is that very few people seem to realisewhat a great misfortune it is. I know this will not be readily admitted. What more evidence is wanted to prove that this is a misfortune thanthe famine which is stalking Bengal and oilier parts of India and where so many from the agricultural population are dying daily from want of food or from want of purchasing power ?
To my mind there can be no greater proof necessary to show that India's agriculture has failed and failed miserably when it is as plain as anything could be that India which is engaged in producing nothing but food does not even produce sufficient food to feed its people. What is this due to ? The poverty of India, to my mind, is due entirely to its being made dependent upon agriculture.
Population in India grows decade by decade in geometrical progression. As against this unlimited growth of population what is available for cultivation is not merely a limited amount of land but a limited amount of land whose fertility is diminishing year by .year. India is caught between two sides of a pincer, the one side of which is a progressive increase in population and the other is a progressive increase in the deterioration of the soil.
" A Rot Has Set In "
The result is that at the end of a decade we are left with a negative balance between population and production and a constant sqeezing of the standard of living. At every decade this negative balance between population and production is increasing in an alarming degree, leaving India with the inheritance of poverty, more poverty and chronic poverty. A rot has set in. This rot, I feel sure, is not going to be stopped by organizing agricultural exhibitions or animal shows or by propaganda in favour of better manuring. It can stop only when agriculture is made profitable. Nothing can open possibilities of making agriculture in India profitable except a serious drive in favour of industrialisation. For it is industrialisation alone which can drain away the excess or population which is exerting such enormous pressure on land into gainful occupations other than agriculture. To sum up, our Reconstruction Committees are no doubt modelled, so far as intention and purpose is concerned, on the Reconstruction Committees which have come into existence in most European countries whose industrial organisation has been destroyed by the Germans. The problems of reconstruction differ, and must differ from country to country. In some countries the problem of reconstruction is a problem of reconditioning of rundown plant and machinery.
Nature Of Problem In India
In some countries the problem of reconstruction is a problem of replacement of tools and plants which have been destroyed in the war. The problem of reconstruction in India must include consideration of all the questions with which other countries engaged in war are concerned.
At the same time we must not forget that the problem of reconstruction in India is essentially different from the problem of reconstruction in other countries. In other countries the problem of reconstruction is a problem of rehabilitation of Industry which has been in existence.
The problem of reconstruction in India, as I see it, is a problem mainly of the industrialisation of India as distinguished from the rehabilitation of industry and industrialisation hut in the ultimate sense the removal of chronic poverty.
I, therefore, hope that we shall tackle the problems connected with electricity in an earnest and in a statesmanlike manner thinking it terms of human life and not in terms of the competing claims of the Centre versus the Provincial Government.
I do not like to end on a note of pessimism though the memory of the past efforts of reconstruction is nothing but sad. War seems to give birth to an urge for Reconstruction for the same reasons that necessity gives rise to invention or adversity to belief in God. The pity of it is that this urge which is born out of the war seems to die with peace. That did happen in India with the reconstruction scheme put forth by the Indian Industrial Commission and the Indian Board of Munitions after the last war. I have faith that this time the reconstruction plan will not be allowed to languish and fade away. We have in this war the compelling force of what William James called " the pungent sense of effective reality " of what poverty in India is, which the statesmen of the last War did not have.
* * *
[f.27] Help for Scheduled Castes Students and Indian Evacuees Proposals Approved by Standing Finance Committee
Grant of scholarships to scheduled castes students pursuing education in scientific and technological subjects and expenditure on Indian evacuees from war zones and dependants of persons detained there, were the two important proposals approved by the Standing Finance Committee at its meeting held in New Delhi on November 20, 1943, with the Hon'ble Sir Jeremy Raisman, Finance Member to the Government of India, in the chair.
The former proposal will involve an annual grant of Rs. 3 lakhs for 5 years and the latter is expected to entail an expenditure of Rs. 225 lakhs in 1944-45.
It was stated that in order to assist members of the scheduled castes, who had reached the high school stage, to obtain higher education, it was proposed to grant scholarships to the extent of 3 lakhs a year for five years. The scholarships would be awarded for scientific and technological studies both in India and abroad.
The Committee approved the proposal.
The Hon'ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, the Hon'ble Mr. H. C. Prior, Secretary, Labour Department, and Mr. R. S. Nimbkar, Labour Welfare Adviser to the Government of India, visited Dhanbad recently to study working conditions in the coalfields.
During their stay at Dhanbad, they discussed with employers and employees, proposals to increase the production of coal and to deal with the situation arising out of the labour shortage in the fields.
With the reintroduction of the employment of women underground, the question of giving concessions to colliery labour and to improve welfare conditions in the fields has assumed additional importance. It is learnt that the Central Government are taking immediate steps to secure food and other concessions for the workers. Difficulties arising out of insufficiency of food supplies in Bengal and insufficient concessions to workers, both in Bengal and Bihar, have been under the consideration of Labour Department for some time.
The question was discussed at the recent Coal Conference held in New Delhi, and it is understood that further consultations took place with the industry during the Labour Member's stay at Dhanbad.
Inspects Working Conditions and Miners' Home
The Hon'ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Member for Labour, Government of India, arrived at Dhanbad on Thursday, December 9 to study working conditions in the coalfields. Among those present to receive him were a number of local officials, including Mr. S. N. Mazurndar, Labour Commissioner, Bihar, and Mr. W. Kirby, Chief Inspector of Mines, and representatives of various Mining Associations and colliery owners. Mr. H. C. Prior, Secretary, Labour Department, and Mr. R. S. Nimbkar, Labour Welfare Adviser to the Government of India arrived earlier in the day.
Immediately after arrival the Labour Member, accompanied by the Chief Inspector of Mines, colliery owners, Mr. Prior and Mr. Nimbkar, drove to Bhulanbararee Colliery. The representatives of workers, Mr. Karnik, representing the Indian Federation of Labour, and Miss Shanta BhalP Rao, representing 'the All-India Trade Union Congress, also accompanied the party to study working conditions in the coalfields. The programme included inspection of both surface and underground conditions of work.
400 Feet Underground
Wearing " Safety hats " very much resembling well-known Army tin hats in shape, the Labour Member and party went 400 feet underground in two batches where they saw workers cutting coal. There were some women workers who had been recently employed in the colliery as a result of the removal of prohibition on employment of women in mines. The Labour Member, Mr. Nimbkar and others in the party asked the workers a number of questions concerning their wages and earnings.
At another stage during the inspection of Bhulanbararee Colliery, the party saw stowing operations in progress. During the course of the surface inspection, Dr. Ambedkar had friendly chats with workers regarding their wages and earnings.
The Labour Member then proceeded to the workers' quarters in the vicinity of the colliery. Ham ander a sakte hain—with these polite words in Hindustani the Labour Member took permission of the occupant to enter his house, which was readily given. He inspected the furniture and other contents of the house and looked round to see the ventilation arrangements.
The party were then taken to a well-equipped and cleanly-kept hospital, maintained by owners of this colliery, where the Labour Member chatted with a few indoor patients. He was also taken round a special ward for women workers.
At Workers' Colony
The party then drove to the Digwadih Colliery where they saw modern plant and equipment used for the production of coal. Here the Labour Member spent about an hour in the workers' colony and saw various types of houses built by the proprietors for their workers. He took great interest in the methods and channels of recruitment for colliery labour.
The programme for the day included inspection of the Tisra Colliery. The inspection began with the examination of rates of wages paid by employers of the colliery to workers. It was late in the evening when the party came out to make surface inspection of the colliery. The workers were leisurely returning to their homes, carrying spades, pickaxes and kerosene safety lamps. The Labour Member thus had an opportunity of seeing workers and their womenfolk preparing their evening meals in their homes. He was very keen on acquainting himself with the quantity and nature of food available to and consumed by workers. At the Tisra Colliery he also saw a few quarries where men and women were doing surface work.
Visit To Raniganj Coalfields
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and party devoted Friday to studying working conditions and methods of coal production in some Raniganj coalfields.
The inspection began with an examination of the arrangements being made by proprietors of the Sivapur Colliery for the welfare and medical care of their miners. The party were taken round a quadrangular single-storied white hospital building containing modem X-ray equipment and other surgical apparatus. It was learnt that the hospital would start working shortly.
Later in the day, the Labour Member was taken to a Leper Welfare Centre where leprosy in its earlier stages can effectively be treated. Dr. Ambedkar also visited a small compact building accommodating a baby welfare centre where he saw frailbodied children of miners, who were being looked after by ayahs. The Labour Member expressed appreciation of these welfare efforts but asked why the children were frail and rickety. He was told that it was due to a deficiency of nutritive food.
School For Miners' Children
Winding their way along the road to Sitapur Colliery, the party visited a primary school where workers' children garlanded Dr. Ambedkar. The Labour Member chatted with a seven year-old boy—a miner's son—who answered questions regarding the earnings of his family in halting but understandable English.
Earlier in the day the party inspected the Sodhpur Stowing Plant— a huge mechanical structure drawing 200 tons of sand per hour from the Damodar basin in the vicinity and conveyed to the mines by automatic ropeways.
The party also inspected underground conditions of work in Sitapur colliery. They descended about 1,000 feet and saw coal being raised by up-to-date coal-cutting machinery.
On the way back to Dhanbad the Labour Member visited the " dhowras " (one-room tenements) in the Workers' colony at the Begunia collieries. The rooms were dark and, in one case, a calf, lazily chewing dry grass, was seen in the small verandah-sharing with the inmates theirscanty accommodation. Dr. Ambedkar chatted with the inmates. It was learnt that workers get coal free of charge in sufficient quantities for domestic use. He made further enquiries regarding food, clothing and health of the workers.
Labour Problems Discussed At Dhanbad
The reason for the present shortage of coal and the measures to overcome it were discussed on Saturday at Dhanbad at a conference attended by representatives of the Central Government, the Governments of Bengal and Bihar, the three Mining Associations and spokesmen of Labour. The Hon'ble Dr. Ambedkar Labour Member, presided.
In a short opening speech the Chairman compared the conference with the Tripartite Labour Conferences at which questions relating to industrial labour are discussed. He emphasised the importance of producing more coal both for India's industries and war effort and hoped that the representatives of employers and employees would be able to give their best advice on the matter.
The reasons for the fall in labour were given as the exceptionally good harvest, which required more labour than usual owing to the " Grow More Food Campaign " and the competition of military work. Measures to meet the situation were considered, and employers' representatives asked for more petrol and lyres to help in bringing labour from neighbouring villages to the collieries.
A rationing scheme, proposed by the Central Government some time ago, and aiming at providing miners (both men and women) with an adequate ration, was the next item on the agenda. During the discussion, the possibility of the introduction by the Bihar Government of a rationing scheme in the area was mentioned and it was decided that the scheme introduced for the mines would have to be reconsidered if this occurred.
The scheme for miners' supplies includes provision for food for mine-workers' dependants. While fixing five days as the minimum number of days that must be worked to ensure the full week's ration, the scheme also provides for adequate supplies for those who work fewer days. It was agreed that rice should be sold initially to workers at six seers per rupee, and that necessary quantitities of dal should also be sold at the same price.
The Conference also considered a scheme proposed by the Central Government for the supply of other commodities like salt, mustard oil, standard cloth and other consumer goods to workers—the intention is that bulk supplies should be placed at the disposal of Mining Associations for distribution to collieries. Among other measures put forward by Government for consideration as measures to promote the welfare of colliery labour, was a scheme for a Welfare Cess to be imposed forthwith to create a fund from which expenditure on welfare would be incurred and a proposal to appoint Labour Officers in all collieries with a production of over 100,000 tons.
Increase In Wages
The Conference agenda also included a number of items relating to wages of colliery workers, and Mining Associations seemed ready to make a further increase in the wages prevailing in 1939, bringing the temporary war increase to a total of 50 per cent above pre-war wages. They were, however, apprehensive that this increase would be wasted unless adequate stocks of consumer goods were available in the coalfields and the necessity of ensuring this was recognised.
Other items discussed included the possibility of applying the Payment of Wages Act to coalmines and certain difficulties of its application to the coal industry were noted. Requests from the industry in regard to assistance in matters of Excess Profits Tax and provision of machinery were also considered.
Question relating to clearness allowance for industrial workers, absenteeism, maintenance of service records and canteens were among the subjects discusssed at the fourth meeting of the Standing Labour Committee which was held on January 25 and 26 in Lucknow.
The meeting was held at the Council House, the Hon'ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member, Government of India, presiding. Five delegates each of employers' and workers' organisations, five delegates of Provincial Governments and three delegates representing the Indian States attended.
Dr. Ambedkar's Speech
In his opening remarks, the Chairman, referring to the steps which are being taken by the Central Government to implement the decisions taken at an earlier session of the Standing Labour Committee, indicated that the Government had decided to introduce the Fair Wages Clause in contracts entered into by the Central Public Works Department. The question of introducing a similar clause in contracts entered into by other Departments of the Central Government, he said, was under consideration.
The Chairman also announced that in pursuance of the resolution passed at the last Plenary session of the Labour Conference, the Government of India had appointed a Labour Investigation Committee for the investigation of wages, earnings and other conditions of labour. The question of extending the enquiry in a suitable manner to agricultural wage earners, he said, was also being considered in consultation with the Provincial Governments.
The Committee then discussed the method of Statutory Wage Control in India if and when such statutory control was found necessary.
It appeared that the delegates generally considered that Wage Boards, when a decision was taken to set them up, should be on a Provincial basis and deal with individual industries.
After a brief discussion on the Employment Exchanges Scheme and statements by Provincial Government representatives on the progress of the Scheme in the provinces, the Committee considered Model Provident Fund Rules circulated by the Central Government for eliciting the opinion of the delegates as well as some details regarding the management of the Fund, the contribution of Employees and Workers and Advances from the Fund.
The Committee also considered the report on Dearness Allowance, submitted by the Gregory Committee which was constituted by the Chairman of the Tripartite Labour Conference in pursuance of a resolution passed at the last session of the Conference. Among other points arising out of the report questions relating to general principles for fixing deamess allowance, the nature of these principles, the desirability of having different rates for different industries or different regions, and the relation of deamess allowance to rising or falling Cost of Living Indices, were discussed.
The Committee, it is understood, agreed that general principles should, to the maximum extent possible, be laid down by the Government for dealing with the question of dearness allowance paid or to be paid by industrial concerns. Agreeing that the report of the Subcommittee would serve as a useful guide to Government in laying down principles for deamess allowance, the Committee decided to forward the report to the Government of India for consideration in the light of opinions expressed by the delegates.
A draft scheme for a sample survey into absenteeism in industrial undertakings especially undertakings engaged on war production was one of the items on the agenda. The Scheme aims at a factual survey of the problem including investigation of causes like sickness, accident, leave, social or religious reasons, transport difficulties, lateness which result in absenteeism. It is learnt that the scheme was generally agreed to with some amendments.
Earlier during the Session, the Committee reviewed the progress achieved in respect of opening cooked food and refreshment canteens for workers in industrial concerns. It was revealed that in spite of difficulties such canteens were functioning in considerable numbers and were proving popular among the workers.
[f.31] Coal Mines Labour Welfare Ordinance, 1944
An ordinance entitled " The Coal Mines Labour Welfare Ordinance, 1944," has been promulgated today, constituting a fund for financing activities to promote the welfare of labour employed in the coal mining industry. The Ordinance extends to the whole of British India and comes into force at once, said a Press Note issued by the Labour Department, Government of India, on January 31. It continued :
To create the fund, the Central Government will levy a cess on all coal and soft coke despatched by rail from collieries in British India, at a rate to be fixed from time to time by notification in the Gazette of India after consultation with an Advisory Committee. This duty will not be less than one anna and not more than four annas per ton. The duty will be collected, on behalf of the Central Government, by the Railway Administration by which coal or soft coke is carried.
While the Ordinance generally provides that the proceeds thus realised will be credited to a Labour Welfare Fund to meet expenditure on measures " necessary or expedient to promote the welfare of labour employed in the coal-mining industry ", it specifics a number of items for which the fund may in particular be utilised. The labour welfare programme to be financed from the Fund aims at providing housing, water supplies, facilities for washing, improvement of educational facilities and standards of living among the workers, including nutrition, amelioration of social conditions and the provision of recreation and transport facilities.
The improvement of public health and sanitation, the prevention of disease, the provision of medical facilities and the improvement of existing facilities are so included. Provision has also been made for giving grants out of the fund to a Provincial Government, a local authority, or the owner, agent or manager of a coal mine in aid of any scheme for the welfare of labour which is approved by the Central Government. This provision will ensure that the fullest use is made of existing organisations with such strengthening as may be necessary, and of existing approved welfare schemes to which support can be given from the fund.
The Ordinance further empowers the Central Government to set up an Advisory Committee whose members will include, among others, an equal number of members representating colliery owners and workmen employed in the coal mining industry. One member of the Advisory Committee must be a woman. The Committee will advise the Central Government on matters on which the Central Government is required by the Ordinance to consult it and on any other matters arising out of the administration of the Ordinance.
[f.1] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. II, 20th March 1943, pp. 1278-80.
[f.2] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. II, 23rd March 1943, pp. 1370-73
[f.3]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. II, 31st March 1943, pp. 1649-51.
[f.4] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. II, 31st March 1943, pp. 1659-61.
[f.5] Indian Information, June 1, 1943, p. 431
[f.6] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 29th July 1943.
[f.7]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 29th July 1943, p. 178.
[f.8] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 29th July 1943, pp. 179-80.
[f.9] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central). Vol. III. 29th July 1943, p. 180.
[f.10] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 701.
[f.11] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 708.
[f.12] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 710.
[f.13]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III. 13th August 1943, p. 711.
[f.14] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 712.
[f.15]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 713.
[f.16]Ibid. p. 713.
[f.17] Legislative Assembly Debales (Cenlral), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, pp. 714-15.
[f.18] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 718.
[f.19]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. III, 13th August 1943, p. 719.
[f.20] Ibid., p. 721.
[f.21] Indian Information, September 15, 1943, pp. 143-44.
[f.22] Speech published by the Indian Federation of Labour, 30 Faiz Bazar, Delhi. Copy spared by Shri R. T. Shinde of Bombay.
[f.23]Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. IV (1943), 13th November 1943, pp. 252-54.
[f.24] Legislative Assembly Debates (Central), Vol. IV (1943), 13th November 1943, p. 256.
Trade unions in India
In India the Trade Union movement is generally divided on political lines. According to provisional statistics from the Ministry of Labour, trade unions had a combined membership of 24,601,589 in 2002. As of 2008, there are 11 Central Trade Union Organisations (CTUO) recognised by the Ministry of Labour.
Political affiliation in brackets.
- All India Central Council of Trade Unions (Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation)
- All India Trade Union Congress (Communist Party of India)
- All India United Trade Union Centre (Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist))
- Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)
- Indian National Trade Union Congress (Indian National Congress)
- Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress (All India Trinamool Congress)
- Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Communist Party of India (Marxist))
- Hind Mazdoor Sabha (socialists)
- Labour Progressive Federation (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)
- Trade Union Coordination Committee (All India Forward Bloc)
- United Trade Union Congress (Revolutionary Socialist Party)
Other trade union centres (incomplete list)
- Akhil Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (Akhil Bharatiya Sena)
- All India Centre of Trade Unions (Marxist Communist Party of India (United))
- All India Federation of Trade Unions (marxist-leninists)
- Andhra Pradesh Federation of Trade Unions (Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist))
- Anna Thozhil Sanga Peravai (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)
- Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (Shiv Sena)
- Bharatiya Mazdoor Sabha (Provisional Central Committee, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist))
- Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat (Janata Dal (United))
- Indian Confederation of Labour
- Indian Federation of Trade Unions (Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy)
- Kerala Trade Union Congress (Kerala Congress, KTUC(B) belongs to KC(B), KTUC(M) belongs to KC(M), etc.)
- Maharashtra General Kamgar Union (Kamgar Aghadi)
- New Trade Union Initiative
- Pattali Trade Union (Pattali Makkal Katchi)
- Socialist Trade Union Centre (SNDP)
- Swatantra Thozhilali Union (Indian Union Muslim League)
- Telugu Nadu Trade Union Council (Telugu Desam Party)
- Trade Union Centre of India (Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist))
- United Trade Union Congress (Bolshevik) (Revolutionary Socialist Party (Bolshevik))
- Confederation of Free Trade Unions of India (CFTUI) ( Non-political affiliated Unions of India )
- United Trade Union Congress (Marxist) (Revolutionary Socialist Party (Marxist))
Defunct trade union centres
- All India Centre for Trade Unions (Communist Marxist Party)
- Indian Federation of Labour (Royist)
- Confederation of Free Trade Unions of India (CFTUI)( Non -Political affiliated Unions in India.)