January 24, 2020
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"Labour Reforms Are Not Anti-Poor"

Union minister for law, justice and company affairs Arun Jaitley is certain that the bold labour law changes will sail through Parliament. Excerpts from an interview:

"Labour Reforms Are Not Anti-Poor"
The labour reforms are bold but will it be easy to make them into law?
We're confident. Parties like the Congress and the Janata Dal will have to take a stand sooner or later on this. The Left, which have lost their economic argument, do not have anything concrete to say. And it's something that cannot be skirted for long. V.P. Singh has spoken in our favour. We are hopeful of getting support from Chandra Shekhar.

What would SICA be repealed into? Wouldn't the National Company Law Tribunal cause problems because of its being centrally-located?
It's too early for me to comment since it's in a formative stage. The focus will be to wind up sick units as soon as possible.

What happens to workers' rights? Does it mean they will have more powers and the unions less?
There seems to be this peculiar theory floating in this country about what is pro-labour and what is anti-labour. Would you call backing a sick public sector undertaking with more than a 1,000 workers pro-labour? And retrenching a company to make it more competitive in today's markets anti-labour? balco produces one MT of alumina at Rs 74,000, while Indalco produces the same at Rs 56,000. Now isn't it better to trim balco and take it on the right road-map so that its economics works? What's happened to those Rs 7,000 crore given to ntc after its nationalisation? Labour reforms are not anti-poor and will create more jobs. And the sooner the unions clamouring for the 'rights' understand it, the better. It's important to make companies competitive to survive.

But why did it take so long to announce the closure of bifr?
There were teething problems. And it's not something that can be announced overnight.

Will this kick-off second generation reforms?
Of course it will.
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