The year 2020 saw an unprecedented return of migrant workers to rural India during the lockdown. This has increased the pressure on the already stressed rural employment scheme MGNREGS. However, 2020-21 budget allocation for MGNREGS is inadequate to meet the demand, as it is much lower than the revised estimates of FY21.
The pandemic-led health and socio-economic crisis have hit women and girls in a disproportionate fashion, leading to increased feminisation of poverty, domestic work, work burden as well as a spike in domestic violence. At the same time, it has also caused a boost in the feminisation of agriculture, making rural women play a critical role in providing household income. This presents an unmissable opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, which has the potential to remove all structural barriers hampering gender equality within India.
The labour laws in India have been on the anvil for the last few years now. In addition to that, the current pandemic has brought upon huge investment opportunities. The employment scenario has taken a dent too. So, both in anticipation of investment incomings and to strengthen the efforts in employment creation, many state governments have taken to the task of reforming its labour laws. In this scenario, it is opportune to study the status of labour laws in India.
Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh relaxed legal provisions of labour laws in an attempt to attract more investment and boost economic activity. Several states are expected to follow their example.
The Code on Social Security, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2019. It strives to amend and consolidate the laws relating to the social security of the employees and the matters connected to social security. The bill is with the standing committee now.
Social security refers to measures to ensure the provision of income security and access to health care to workers.
On 23 July 2019, the Code on Wages Bill was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha. This bill, if made into law, will improve the standard of living of about 50 crore workers across the nation and provide legislative protection against labour exploitation, which is a problem faced by the citizens working in the unorganised sector.