Industry organizations in India have called for the extension of working hours to deal with the health crisis caused by the coronavirus. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Janet Curfew until April 14th to curb the spread of coronavirus throughout the country. As per the demand of various state governments, this curfew has been extended multiple times until May 18th.
At a recent consultative meeting, some state leaders urged Prime Minister Modi to extend the curfew as the epidemic is so severe in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi. At the same time, some of the chief ministers have demanded that a 40-day curfew should be imposed on the country’s economy and sanction economic activities in disease-prone areas.
Subsequently, the Central Government has announced that the second phase of the curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus has been completed on May 3rd where the curfew has been extended for another 14 days. This will ensure that the prevailing restrictions in the red zone regions of the epidemic will continue and that there will be various relaxations in the orange and green zones. Essentially, private and government offices have now been put to work along with 33% of the employees as it gets much harder to run the economy during this crisis along with making sure that all people in the country are social distancing.
Ministry of Labour and Employment, Santosh Gangwar, held a video chat with representatives of 12 industrial organizations yesterday. They discussed about the future of the Indian factories and creating new jobs after the curfew ends. Representatives at the meeting called for a waiver on labor law to help recover from the economic crisis caused by lockdown. Factories have been given the thumbs up to reopen where one of the factories in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh had a gas leak leading to a chemical accident. This accident has injured hundreds of people where at least 11 people have died so far.
Although the government hasn’t issued any change in the minimum wage for labor workers, they have paid some bonuses and other arrears to some workers. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a government initiative to provide affordable housing, has demanded that the working hours should be changed from the standard 8 hours to 12 hours. Also, they demand to operate factories with 50 percent of employees instead of 33 percent. In this case, states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have already extended their working hours to 12 hours without amending the labor law.
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