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44 labour laws to be amalgamated into four labour codes: Minister

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Kolkata: Citing the necessity to promote friendlier labour-industry relations, the central government is in the process of amalgamating 44 labour laws into four sets of labour codes, a union minister said here on Tuesday.

“In the labour law reforms, 44 laws will be combined into four distinctive labour codes – code on wages, code on industrial relations, a code on social security and a code on working conditions and safety,” union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya told media persons here on the sidelines of a CII-organised event.

He said a “more friendly” atmosphere between the industry and the labourers needs to be created and the reforms are targeted to this end.

“No rights of the workers are going to be taken away with the reforms,” he said.

As per the minister, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act of 1975 will be merged to create the wages code.

The government will also be revising the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 to increase it from Rs.160 per day.

“Now we want to enhance it (minimum wages) and it will become statutory. Every state has to implement it. We have already discussed it with state governments,” he said.

The wage increase is poised to happen in one to two months.

The government is also considering increasing the compensation to workers of locked-out plants. Presently, wages for a 15-day period are given to these workers which will be increased to 45 days wages.

“This payment will happen directly into the worker’s bank account through electronic mode and remove the need for any middlemen,” the minister said.

Besides, with the reforms, labourers will continue to enjoy the right to strike but a 14-day notice period has to be served before implementing the strike.

“Strike is a right of the workers,” he said.

Dattatreya said the prevalent laws were archaic dating back more than 50 years and hence need revision to keep up with the changes in the industrial scenario.

(IANS)

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Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago to organise Lecture on Human Slavery on August 27

Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela and is a blend of multicultural and multi-religious society

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August Lecture Series i invite

Port of Spain, August 21, 2016: The Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago presents its August Lecture in collaboration with the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, August 27. The event will take place at the National Museum and Art Gallery, Frederick Street, Port of Spain at 6pm.

Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela and is a blend of multicultural and multi-religious society. The presence of Indian Diaspora there makes it more lively and continues to induce spiritual reconstruction among the people. If one visits the place, they will find a whole new scenario, but only a few know that this transformation has travelled decades.

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Port of Spain is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago and there is no denying that Carribean colonies were built on the backbone of slavery. In 1845, on May 30, a small sailing ship weighing 415 tonnes, the Fatel Rozack, was tied up at the lighthouse jetty in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After almost a 3 months and 6-days voyage from Kolkata (then Calcutta), around the southern tip of Africa and across the southern Atlantic, it came to Trinidad.

Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

As History says, this was no ordinary ship. With it, she brought 217 Indians who were given the false idea that they were heading for a better life and will work on the sugar estates of Trinidad. While five died on the voyage, most of them were women and under 30s. To the surprise, only five of them were men. On reaching the Port of Spain, Gazette reported, “the general appearance of the people is healthy”.

This was just the beginning! Soon over, 143,939 Indian labourers were shipped to Trinidad in the next 72 years. The majority of the labourers, that is 240,000 were sent to Guyana (then British Guiana), 36,000 to Jamaica, and smaller numbers to St Vincent, Grenada, St Lucia and Martinique.

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Indian Labourers came from several areas the country, such as- Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal  (through the port of Calcutta) and Oudh. Not just that, in the early years it came through Chennai (then Chennai) as well. The labourers, most of them belonged to Hindu faith and only a few of them were Muslims.

The details mentioned here are just mere glimpses of their lives, the documentary holds in it much more. One has to watch it, to get closer to the lives of these Indian labourers, share their struggle and unsaid pain. One journey that doomed their lives forever! Their experiences were akin to slavery.

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Lisa Singh: Indian-origin Labour Senator re-elected to the Australian Senate

In 2015 preselection ballot, John Short overtook Lisa, which relegated her to the fourth position

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Lisa SIngh. Image Source:disaccords.wordpress.com
  • Lisa Singh has been re-elected as a Senator in Australia
  • She won an amazing majority of 6.1% of the votes in her own right
  • She’s passionate about social and economic equality, law enforcement and climate change action

Lisa Singh, born in Tasmania to a Fijian-Indian father, a man who arrived as an international student in Australia back in 1963, is now an elected member of the Australian Parliament on July 27.

Before her stint in the Australian parliament, Lisa Singh was sworn in on November 2008 as a Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection, Minister for Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Premier on Climate Change in the Tasmanian Parliament. During her tenure, she introduced many legal reforms but as luck would have it, she was defeated in the March 2010 state elections, mentioned theindiandiaspora.com report.

Journey of an Indian-origin Labour Senator

Lisa singh. Image Source: youtube.com
Lisa Singh. Image Source: youtube.com

This win marks her re-entry into the Australian senate. In 2010, Lisa was elected to the Australian Senate; she then started her journey to build better political ties between India and Australia. During her tenure, she took part in various Indian festivals with the Indian diaspora who were settled in Australia and also visited India soon thereafter. In 2014, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, honored Lisa by awarding her the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for helping foster better Indo-Australian ties.

During her tenure, she took part in various Indian festivals with the Indian diaspora that were settled in Australia and also visited India soon thereafter. In 2014, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, honoured Lisa by awarding her the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for helping foster better Indo-Australian ties.

According to theindiandiaspora.com article, in 2015 preselection ballot, John Short overtook Lisa, which relegated her to the fourth position. John Short, an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Secretary was a reasonable candidate and enjoyed support. This year Singh was demoted to the sixth position. It seemed as an unwinnable position on the Tasmanian Labor Party ticket.

The great-granddaughter of a laborer from Fiji who arrived from Calcutta, Lisa Singh is re-elected to Australian senate, following footsteps of her grandfather Ram Jati Singh who was a MP in the Fiji Parliament coming up against all odds of gender and race Lisa Singh won an amazing majority of 6.1% of the votes in her own right. At a point, it was unlikely for the Labor Party to win more than three Senate seats in Tasmania (a minimum required for Singh to remain in power). However, with 0.80 quota in her name, five seats for Labor Party is practically guaranteed.

Lisa Singh. Image source: indiandiaspora
Lisa Singh. Image source: theindiandiaspora.com

The story of a mother of two sons coming back up from the bottom or sixth position in this context is awe-inspiring. Lisa Singh recently tweeted honouring the decision.

She’s passionate about social and economic equality, law enforcement and climate change action. She hopes to keep fighting for these issues while she mentors people of varied backgrounds to buck up the courage to run for the parliament.

– prepared by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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Detained, Arrested and Deported: The case of 22 Hindus in 1913

The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer

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Image Source: saada.org
  • The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer
  • The concomitant bureaucratic reasoning, the medical discourse, framing of legal processes, etc., were all harnessed to stop the Asian migration
  • After four years since the incident, the Department of Justice admitted that it had been wrong in detaining and deporting subjects of the British Empire

Twelve Sikhs and one Muslim from the Punjab province in British India landed at the Angel Island Immigration Station on July 29, 1913, in San Francisco Bay and were seeking entry into the United States. The group mostly of the farming profession had sailed on S.S. Persia from Manila, Philippines, then an insular territory of America. While some wished to get into the business, others dreamt of climbing the “agricultural ladder” in time.

The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer. The official reason, however, was “that they are of the laboring class, that there is no demand for such labor and there exists a strong prejudice against them in this locality. The arrival and arrest of the ‘Hindus’ made news in local dailies, because, traveling aboard the Pacific Mail Steamship Company-owned S.S. Persia, they had been part of a benchmark voyage. While the Persia was a veteran of transpacific journeys, this particular trip had seen it ferry the largest ever number of ‘steerage passengers’ from Asia.

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The 13 Hindus were individually interrogated by the Immigration Inspector R.E. Peabody and were then formally arraigned, and taken into custody. But one of them, Naram Singh, was released for he either chose to self-deport or was allowed entry—which, is not known. The concomitant bureaucratic reasoning, the medical discourse, framing of legal processes, etc., were all harnessed to stop the Asian migration.

Photos of Indians who were detained. Image Source: saada.org

The same sequence of events played themselves out once again, on August 2, in 1913, said the report. When S.S. Korea landed at the docks, all ten ‘Hindus’ were arrested and detained at Angel Island. Out of the twenty-two, the situation was critical for seven among them—five from the first group, and two from the second, mentioned sada.org Website. They had been diagnosed with uncinariasis, or to be carrying hookworms—deemed a “dangerous, contagious disease” and a threat to public health in America. The only legitimate way to evade this was to admit oneself for treatment under quarantine and bear the expenses accrued which the concerned seven did.

Around the second week of August, the bail bonds, that were required to proceed to the mainland and remain free until their case was decided, began coming in. By the end of the month, all, except the seven afflicted with uncinariasis, had been released from detention on Angel Island under conditions put forth in their bail.

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The show of support for the detainees had Commissioner Backus concerned. The telegram to the Commissioner General of Immigrations in Washington D.C., Anthony Caminetti goes like this “Voluminous evidence [have been] presented by attorneys[,]” he informed, “supported by affidavits of prospective employers showing that ‘Hindu’ labor is needed and desirable and that Hindus are not objectionable to the State [of California]. My views are opposed to this…” But the processing of deportation warrants for the twenty-two Hindus was already in motion.

Motion for Appeal :The Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Image Source: saada.org

On October 10, the Department of Labor ultimately issued warrants authorizing the deportation of the Hindus but the writ of habeas corpus at the U.S. District Court for the First Division of the Northern District of California stopped the motion. The hearing began and with it commenced a lengthy tussle that dragged on for nearly two years.

After the Immigration Bureau framed separate charges for each individual detainee, the court closed with the following statement: “We conclude, therefore, that the testimony adduced in the present case was sufficient in character and effect upon which to predicate the findings of the immigration officers, and such findings must be held to be final and conclusive.” The Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit then upheld the District Court’s ruling.

In 1915, a new case involving thirty-five Hindus surfaced. But they managed to secure a hearing at the Supreme Court. On February 21, 1917, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Congress passed the Asian Barred Zone Immigration Act, the following communiqué appeared in newspapers under the headline ‘US Admits Error in Excluding Manila Hindus’: “The department of justice today notified Timothy Healy…that it would file on March 6 with the Supreme Court a ‘confession of error’ in the stand taken four years ago when 22 Hindus on arrival here were ordered deported. They arrived from Manila and the U.S. officials held they had no right to enter. This latest move will end the case.” And finally after four years since the incident, the Department of Justice admitted before the apex court that it had been wrong in detaining and deporting subjects of the British Empire who entered mainland U.S. through its insular territories, and withdrew all relevant cases.

-by Ajay Krishna, a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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