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WAGE CODE BILL 201715 COMING -'STATES CANNOT SET MINIMUM WAGES BELOW THE BENCHMARK SET BY THE CENTRE' - The Minimum Wages Act, 1948

New Delhi (PTI): Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said a parliamentary standing committee has finalised its report on first labour code, Wage Code Bill 2017, and the legislation would be pushed for passage in the monsoon session of Parliament after the document is submitted.

The law will enable the central government to set benchmark minimum wages for different regions across the country. The bill's provision provides that states cannot set minimum wages below the benchmark set by the Centre.

"I have spoken to the chairman of the committee (regarding finalisation of its report on Wage Code Bill). He told me that everything is completed and it will be submitted soon. We will push (the bill) for passage," Gangwar told reporters on the side-lines of the International Labour Day.

The draft code on the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2017. Thereafter, it was referred to the committee for scrutiny which is expected to submit its report in the monsoon session.

The bill also seeks to combine Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, ·1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, into one code.

A senior official said that if everything goes well, the bill can be pushed for passage in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

 Speaking at the International Labour Day celebrations here, Gangwar said the labour ministry wants 38 labour laws to be subsumed into four broad codes - wages, industrial relations, social security and occupational safety and health and working conditions.

On this occasion, Union Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari suggested that the labour ministry needs to come out with out of the box thinking to improve conditions of workers in the country and should encourage more use of technologies to improve delivery of benefits to them.

He also said that technology can help reduce pendency of cases related to workers in labour courts and tribunals.

On this occasion, Gangwar and Gadkari launched one unified registration form for Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). At present, employers are filing two different forms separately to register with the EPFO and ESIC.

Besides, the two ministers also launched one unified electronic challan-cum-return (ECR or return) to facilitate filing of EPFO and ESIC return through a unified process only.

On this occasion, the chief labour commissioner (CLC) said that in order to achieve transparency, accountability and ease of compliance in the enforcement of labour laws, there is a facility to fill online annual return under eight labour laws on SSP (Shram Suvidha Portal) and a transparent and accountable system of inspection through SSP.

Moreover, it was also announced that the CLC will issue online registration certificates under Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, Inter State Migrant Workers Act, 1979 and Contract Labour Act, 1970.

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