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How Labor laws are affecting implementation of Make in India

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Image source: digitalindiainsight.com

By Abhik Ghosh

What’s the one assurance investors want before setting up a manufacturing base in India? The ease of making workforce adjustments in line with changing market conditions. In this area, Indian labor laws are among the most restrictive.

The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 has two provisions in the way of workforce adjustments. Chapter VB of the Act requires prior approval of the appropriate government before resorting to any layoff, retrenchment, or closure in establishments employing 100 or more workers.

The draft Labor Code on Industrial Relations currently in circulation seeks to raise the threshold to establishments employing 300 or more workers, but it is still work in progress.

Another major contentious provision is Section 9A of the Act, which mandates 21 days’ notice before affecting any change in established conditions of service of any employee, including any change necessitated by “rationalization, standardization, or improvement of plant or technique”. This is anathema for investors, particularly in this age of fast changing technologies and manufacturing processes.

Contract labor is yet another major area of concern. Investors would surely want to know if engaging workers on temporary contracts would run afoul of the law. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, as the name suggests, is enforced to regulate the practice and abolish it in certain cases.

In other words, the practice is not prohibited. Engaging contract workers for temporary, intermittent or seasonal work is allowed, but using them for work of perennial nature violates the letter and spirit of the law.

Why would investors want to engage workers on temporary contracts in the first place? To meet surges in demand for goods and services requiring urgent workforce adjustments. The Immediate deployment of regular workers is not always feasible and pruning them alongside falling demand often meets legal obstacles. Moreover, regular workers are increasingly becoming less productive and more expensive.

The central government has yet to initiate any action in this area. Rajasthan has taken the early lead, raising the threshold for applicability of the law to cover industries or contractors engaging 40 or more contract workers, up from the original 20. Other state governments are expected to follow suit. The move has been welcomed by employers and criticized as anti-worker by trade unions.

But changing the applicability clause is like nibbling at the edges. Plunging into the core, the status of temporary workers must be redefined and extended beyond the present limit of 240 days in a year. That should take care of the persistent demands by the traditional trade union movement for regularization of all contract workers.

On this aspect, the experiment by India’s largest carmaker is innovative and instructive. In 2012, Maruti introduced a new category of directly recruited temporary workers, substantially reducing the role of intermediaries. It has appreciably narrowed the gap in emoluments and allowances between regular and contract workers, which is the main bone of contention.

Temporary workers get on-the-job training as apprentices and become eligible for regular appointment in due course. Maruti pays such workers a stipend for the period they must wait out for regular appointment. This also promotes a sense of belonging and solidarity with the company. It is the habit of institutions to give birth to loyalties. The policy has worked well and has brought industrial peace to what was a volatile workplace.

The big question is: How soon can the central government bring about meaningful changes in the existing laws to facilitate quick workforce adjustments?

For investors, this is the major sticking point. Can the government drive the labor reforms agenda through the legislative route and achieve desirable outcomes?

Given the present party alignments in the Rajya Sabha, this is like building castles in the air. Alternatively, can executive orders be employed to achieve the desired results? Some quick thinking is needed in this direction, followed by swift action.

As the reforms package unfolds, pragmatic solutions will have to be discovered to assure investors that their business interests would not suffer by mindless application of the law, while taking care to ensure that workers’ interests are not compromised.

Labor reforms are critical to the “Make in India” campaign. Investors have been waiting with anticipation. Brand India cannot afford to disappoint.

Abhik Ghosh, IAS (retd), was with the International Labor Organization (ILO) as a senior specialist in industrial relations and labor administration. (IANS)

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Reimagining Business Models for a Post-Pandemic World

The idea is suggested by a book named "It's Logical: Innovating Profitable Business Models"

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The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will cause a drastic reimagining of business models in going forward. Pixabay

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will entail a drastic reimagining of business models in going forward says a new book on the subject that proposes frameworks with Design Thinking as the backbone for creating win-win situations.

“Today, more than ever, there is a strong need for re-imagining the way business needs to be conducted through deep empathy and exploring win-win situations for all stakeholders involved,” writes Kaustubh Dhargalkar, an entrepreneur-turned-academician, innovation evangelist and start-up mentor, in “It’s Logical: Innovating Profitable Business Models” published by Sage and which is available as an ebook on Amazon.

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The book is available as an ebook on Amazon. Wikimedia Commons

To this end, the book proposes “frameworks (with Design Thinking as the backbone) for creating win-win situations to visualize sustainable business models in times to come, which should prove useful in the prevailing, unprecedented circumstances”.

Laced with multiple real life studies, the book advocates that innovation is not about flash in the pan ideas; it is driven by pure logic. It further explains how to map the ecosystem to understand synergies for creating innovative offerings.

In his foreword, Sudhakar Nadkarni (Founder, Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay; Founder, Department of Design at IIT-Guwahati) writes: “It takes great effort and a long time to develop an innovative culture. Innovation, as is often said, does not fall from the heavens. It takes vision and a strong commitment to the objective.”

Also Read: Alarming Rate of Deforestation Threatens Biodiversity

Noting that he has “some reservations” about the “fashion” that innovation centres have become, Nadkarni says: One cannot innovate in the absence of an ecosystem that drives innovation. This book, supported by deep research and many case studies, shows that it is possible to come up with an innovative business model that does not stick to conventional paradigms.”

Drawing an analogy with cricket, Nadkarni says that creating a good business model involves “searching for gaps, angling the bat and caressing the ball in the desired direction. It requires a creative yet trained mind. This book tells you exactly how to spot those gaps in the field and train your creative muscle.” (IANS)

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How to Build the Ultimate Ecommerce App with Builder.ai’s Studio Store

Businesses all over the globe have gone digital during the Coronavirus pandemic

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The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up. Pixabay

Not too long ago, NASDAQ predicted that by the year 2040, as much as 95% of shopping will be facilitated by ecommerce. Similarly, Shopify Plus estimates that by the year 2021, worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion – a number that will now be amplified as a result of the recent events. The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up.

For good or for bad, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have left businesses little choice but to go digital. Gone are the days when goliaths like Walmart would build ecommerce apps just to indulge a handful of customers. Today, it is either go digital or go home.  So, for all businesses looking for an ecommerce mobile app builder, Studio Store could be an interesting option.

Launched recently by Builder.ai with the goal of helping businesses directly impacted by COVID-19, Studio Store is a new range of pre-packaged apps – beginning with e-commerce and delivery – designed to bring businesses online faster and at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch. With Studio Store, Builder.ai is furthering its mission to democratize the software market by offering pre-built software for a fraction of the price, giving more companies than ever the opportunity to use technology to grow their business.

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Here’s how you can get an ecommerce website to flourish your website. Pixabay

So, if you’ve been wondering how to build an ecommerce app, then here are the key problems Studio Store solves with features that are most noteworthy:

  • Most apps take 6-9 months to develop, depending on the complexity. 

Unlike most ecommerce app builders, Studio Store ecommerce app by Builder.ai will serve the specific needs of businesses across e-commerce – such as flower shops, grocery stores and clothiers – and be delivered to customers in eight weeks.

  • Most app development journeys are complicated and take months of back and forth to just nail down basic feature sets. 

The Studio Store’s e-commerce app makes selling to an ever-mobile customer effortless, and retailers can showcase their goods with a scrollable carousel and offer a wide range of secure payment methods. The app includes features that will handle the soup to nuts of most e-commerce experiences.

  • For most ecommerce app builders, their job ends as soon as an app is handed over to the customer, with little to no customer service after. 

Studio Store by Builder.ai offers 3 months of free aftercare that keeps the app thriving and the cloud needed to run the app and scale the business.

  • App developers charge hefty down payments even before a project begins.

Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees (so you’ll only pay those charged directly by a payment gateway). Builder.ai only requires a one-month deposit at the beginning of the engagement.

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Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees. Pixabay

Also Read: US White House Releases Report Announcing Onset of Cold War With China

  • With SaaS app builders, each customer gets complete ownership of their code.

The biggest drawback of SaaS applications is that the source code remains the same for all customers. In cases where new features are rolled out, they’re rolled out universally. But with Studio Store, the customer gets a copy of the code after 24 months.

All in all, if you are looking to build an ecommerce app online, then Builder.ai could be the best choice. You can check out the Studio Store for yourself by clicking here.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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5 Ways to Make Your Business Withstand Impending Global Crisis

The pandemic has greatly impacted various businsses

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WE suugest you some of ways to help you make your business withstand this impending global crisis. Pixabay

Amidst the biggest pandemic the world has ever experienced in a century, there is a looming global economic crisis that is waiting to struck at its strongest anytime in the near future – as a matter of fact, some parts of the world are actually experiencing its initial impact right this very moment.

The first blow will be felt by various businsses great or small. Many enterprises are closing down or at the verge of it. All have been caught off guard. As a business owner, you might be thinking hard and long these past few days on how will your enterprise survive this critical economic situation. Besides making ends meet and cutting some costs, here are some of the ways to help you make your business withstand this impending global crisis.

Build and maintain an online store

Creating an online ecommerce shop may perhaps seem like a challenge, especially if you are not really used to using the internet for your enterprise. But it is becoming a business trend as most places are under quarantine and social distancing is also being practiced. With that, many potential consumers are going online to purchase most necessities. This is why a store website is important nowadays.

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You can get yourself an ecommerce website made as everyone is in quarantine. Pixabay

Creating an ecommerce site is easy. Just make a good hook for a domain name, find a reliable web hosting provider and design your site. However, make sure to plan out how you will maintain it in the long run.

Learn how to maximise social media

It is true that it’s easy to reach people through social media. Regardless of age group, most are engaging on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. But it is not enough to just create a page for your business and post stuff whenever you want or worse, whenever you remember. In order to take advantage of your social media reach, you have to observe your market well and plan out engaging posts to hook them. It is also advisable to align your website content to your social media post schedules in order for your followers to be familiar with your site and also share your contents if interest them or it is relevant.

Strengthen your customer support

Customer service is somewhat neglected at times on enterprises. But it is actually a very significant area in any business.

Quick response time in answering messages and comments on social media is one of the best ways, as well as responding to queries and feedback via email or through your website.

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Intoduce your customers to easier and safer payment methods. Pixabay

Make payment process easier but more secured

Find means to make it easier and safer for your customers to transact payments with you. Security is everything nowadays.

Read More: How The COVID Pandemic Pushed More Indians To Online Casinos

Find a reliable way to deliver products or services

If your enterprise still does not have the means to deliver all your orders, at least search for a very dependable courier that can do the job for you towards your customers.

The recent global economic problem can be a massive bump to every enterprise in the world. But your can survive and overcome. Make your business withstand this impending global crisis.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]