20 June 2020: The central government has launched Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan across 116 districts in 6 states – Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan which have seen the maximum number of returnee workers. Government will initiate public works projects worth ₹50,000 crores in rural housing, rural connectivity including the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, national highways, railway works, community sanitation complex, gram panchayats, Aanganwadis, water conservation, digging of wells, plantation and horticulture. The scheme will be operational for 125 and government estimates it would benefit over 67 lakh workers.
18 June 2020: Centre has decided to open the coal sector for commercial mining by private players, it will auction 41 coal blocks for the purpose which would include 4 full explored coking coal mines located in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha along with 37 other fully and partially explored mines.
13 June 2020: Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Authority has adopted a new policy to allow non-polluting manufacturing units such as garment manufacturing units to operate out of multistoried buildings on commercial land. A minimum structure of four storeys including ground floor will be allowed on a 5 acre plot. Policy has raised serious concerns over health and safety at workplaces as industrial accidents have spiked in the recent past since the government has allowed for self-certification. This is our step towards Rana Plaza.
11 June 2020: The Railways is planning to scale-up utilisation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for unskilled work such as construction and maintenance of approach roads for level crossings, cleaning silted water-ways, trenches, drains along track, construction and maintenance of approach roads to railway stations, repair of earthwork to the existing railway embankments/cuttings, clearing vegetation growth and take on activities like plantation at extreme boundary of railway land to mitigate the employment crisis among migrant workers who were forced to returned to their villages because of job loss and poverty triggered by the countrywide lockdown in the face of COIVD-19. This would mean railways would be able to hire workers at a lower wage rate than earlier as wages for construction work in all states are higher than the MNREGA wage. This will be yet another way to depress rural incomes. A record 4.89 crore persons belonging to 3.44 crore households sought work under the MGNREGA.
1 June 2020: Odisha government has amended two key labour laws – the Factories Act, 1948 and Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Factories employing less than 50 workers have been exempted from complying to the Factories Act, a law which lays down rules for working conditions, health and safety and leave provisions at workplaces. It has also allowed companies with up to 300 workers to fire people or close down units without prior approval of the government, a threefold increase from the current threshold in the Industrial Dispute Act.