Better late than never. After much dithering and deferring, India has got down to housekeeping in the area of labour laws. While the maze of labour laws has not prevented India from industrialising or attracting foreign investment, it has made entrepreneurs’ and investors’ life unnecessarily difficult. Consider this, of the 1,536 Acts that govern all economic activity in the country, about one-third pertain only to labour, while about half of all compliances relate to labour. This, in a country where organised labour constitutes less than one-tenth of the total workforce. The impractical laws, 463 of them across Centre and states, involving 32,542 compliances and 3,048 filings in a year, have been observed more in abeyance than in practice, and rent-seeking and penalties have been treated as the cost of doing business.
October 19, 2020