Labour Policy in India

The maintenance of the nation's output and administration heavily depends on labour. Increasing the nation's contribution to development, which is directly dependent on its workforce, is the primary responsibility of our government. The lifestyles of labourers and capitalists, however, are very different. As a result, our government has introduced a number of labour regulations that give workers employment, security, and good working conditions. To provide workers with the necessities of life and to preserve industrial peace is the primary goal of labour law.

Labour Policy

Due to the workers' poor economic standing and inability to barter or negotiate with employers, labour legislation is absolutely important. As a result, time to time, Indian government keep updating and implementing the labour friendly policy, which intended to provide negotiating power, health services, safety, security, and welfare.

India's labour strategy has evolved in response to the country's unique circumstances in order to meet the demands of social justice and planned economic development. Its dual goals are to maintain industrial peace and advance worker welfare. The recognition and implementation of the strategy for worker engagement were stressed in the second, third, and fifth five-year plans.

Second Five-Year Plan's Employment Policy

Since the middle of 1958, a code of discipline in the industry has been in place and has been voluntarily adopted by all employer and worker organisations. In order to foster positive cooperation between their representatives at all levels, the code set forth particular requirements for the management and employees. The area of industrial relations has significantly improved as a result of this new idea of such expansive goals. Man-day losses dramatically decreased from 47 during January through June 1958 to 19 during July through December 19608.

Every employee is given the freedom and awards to join the union of his or her choosing, according to the code. A sort of worker involvement in management has also developed. Councils for joint administration were set up as an experiment. The Council was tasked with facilitating consultation between employers and employees on a wide range of crucial topics affecting industrial relations. Additionally, a programme for employee education was put into place. The programme included training for both working teachers and teacher administrators. The workers' ability to benefit from protective labour regulations has improved thanks to this initiative, which has also served to boost their self-confidence.

The Third Five-Year Plan's Labour Policies

The immediate and long-term needs of a planned economy were taken into consideration when designing labour policy. The goal of India's current labour policy is to achieve full employment and raise the average income of the population. It was kept in mind what a socialist society would be like. Therefore, as stated in the Third Five Year Plan, the benefits of progress should be distributed fairly. The Fifth Plan's labour supply projections7 indicate an increase in the labour force of around 18.26 million. As a result, the plan is focused on creating significant employment possibilities.

India's Constitutional Provisions for Labour Policy (Article 43a)

Furthermore, the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, which added Article 43A-9 to the Indian Constitution, offered a new window into industrial relations in contemporary India. The "participation of workers in the management of industries" is listed. It declares that the state has a responsibility to take action to ensure that employees participate in the administration of businesses, establishments, or other organisations engaged in any industry by passing appropriate legislation or in another manner. One of India's most significant social institutions has grown to be labour law. When a nation wants to advance economically, industrial harmony is a necessity. No country can hope to thrive in the present technological age, much less grow strong, great, and affluent unless it is committed to industrial development and technological advancement, which may sound trite but is nonetheless true.

The Factories Act of 1948, Labour Policy

A safety committee comprised of an equal number of representatives from workers and management must be established in every factory where hazardous processes or the use or handling of hazardous substances take place, according to Section 41 of the Factories Act, 1948 (inserted by the amending Act, 1987), in order to foster cooperation between workers and management in maintaining proper safety and health at work and to review periodically the steps taken in that regard.

Women aren't allowed to work the night shift, according to the Factories Act. Employers may not require women to labour underground because of the Mines Act. The Factories Act prohibits anyone under the age of 14 from working in factories, which applies to children. Additionally, those over 14 who are working cannot be assigned to jobs that last longer than 412 hours every day. Women who are expecting should be granted a full four-month maternity leave with pay. In order to accommodate the children of working moms, firms must establish creches on site.

The Industrial Disputes Act Of 1947's Labour Policy

Unfair labour practises are defined as "any of the practises described in the Fifth Schedule to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947," in accordance with Section 2(ra) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. No employer, employee, or trade union, whether registered under the Trade Unions Act of 1926 or not, shall engage in unfair labour practice, according to Section 25T of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. According to Section 25U of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, anyone found guilty of engaging in unfair labour practice faces a sentence of up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or a combination of the two.

The 1976 Bonded Labour System (Abolition Act) Governed Labour Policy

The countrywide bonded labour system was eliminated by the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1976. This Act provides for the simultaneous elimination of their obligation and the release of all bonded labourers. The New 20-Point Program called for the full implementation of laws that would abolish the system of forced labour, which would entail things like identification, release, prosecution of offenders, establishment of vigilance committees at the district and sub-divisional levels, and regular meetings of these committees. Since 1978–1979, there has been a centrally funded programme in place that provides state governments with central financial help for the rehabilitation of bonded labour in order to supplement their efforts. Even though the government created these Acts for the benefit of the workforce, the labour welfare and security programmes are not being implemented in an acceptable manner.

Labour Policy in the Global Environment

In order to defend workers' rights internationally, the League of Nations created the International Labour Organization in 1919. Later, the ILO was merged with the United Nations. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights was founded on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which included several provisions supporting workers' rights.


The government established a number of labour policies that offer the labour force direct authority to enact any labour legislation and a framework for government. India is a nation that is in the development stage as seen by its rising or growing GDP; however, this growth has primarily been experienced by a particular number of people while the majority of them are jobless.

Additionally, a number of labour rules impede the industry's ability to operate normally, such as the Trade Union Act, which gives workers the ability to make unreasonable demands. Many economists criticise labour legislation because, in their opinion, it only works in workers' and labourers' favour and not in employers' favour. According to rumours, India's rating on the ease of doing business is dropping as a result of the numerous outdated labour rules that were in place before and throughout the time of Independence.


Q1. Who is the father of labour in India?

Ans. Nalini Pandit Narayan Meghaji Lokhande is considered as the father of labours in India. In fact, he is the person who pioneered the labour movement in India and hence popularly known as “the Father of Trade Union Movement in India.

Q2. How many types of labour are there in India?

Ans. Major types of labour in India are skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled, and professional.

Q3. Which is the first labour union in India?

Ans. The first labour union in India was the Bombay Mill-Hands Association, which was founded in 1890 by Narayan Meghaji Lokhande, a labor leader and social reformer. He established the union with the objective to represent the rights and interests of textile workers in Bombay (now Mumbai). The Bombay Mill-Hands Association was the first organized labor movement in India, and it played a key role in advocating for better working conditions, wages, and social welfare for textile workers.

Updated on: 14-Feb-2023

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