Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar Friday took charge of the ministry and made it clear that Team Modi 2.0 will focus on labour reforms and work for welfare of informal sector workers. "In today's Cabinet meeting the first agenda is related to labour. That much I can tell you," Gangwar told reporters when asked about the agenda of the government on issues related to labour and employment.
"At present around six crore formal sector workers are covered by this ministry under various social security schemes. But the pervious NDA government brought schemes for welfare of around 50 crore informal sector workers," he added.
On labour reforms, he said, "All labour codes would be pushed for passage in the Lok Sabha. We would try to complete the labour reform agenda. But we want to take along all section and stakeholder in the process including trade unions, employers and civil societies".
Out of the four proposed labour reforms, Wages Bill 2017 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2017 and was subsequently referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee. The panel gave its report in December 2018. Since the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved earlier this month, the Code on Wages Bill will have to be reintroduced.
The ministry is also formulating three other labour codes on industrial relations; social security and welfare; and occupational safety, health and working conditions. These proposals are at pre-legislative stage.
Earlier, the NDA regime had launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan Dhan (PMSYMD) in the general budget for 2019-20 on February 1, 2019. The scheme provides for minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 for informal workers like rickshaw puller, farm labour, domestic help and others.
Known for his simplicity and honesty, Gangwar has been elected as Lok Sabha member from Rohilkhand region for the eighth time. He had sworn in as a Cabinet minister on Thursday. Gangwar was Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge) in the previous NDA government.
Taking plunge into politics during the days of Emergency, Gangwar was jailed for guiding a people's movement against then government. He made an entry into the national arena in 1989 when he was elected from Bareilly in the ninth Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket.
He went on to represent Bareilly as BJP MP until 2009 when he had to face defeat by a narrow margin. He, however, returned in 2014 as an MP to become a minister in the Narendra Modi government.