Labour laws hurting employment growth need to be revisited: PM

New Delhi: Acknowledging that some labour laws have not yielded the desired results, prime minister Manmohan Singh today said that there is a need to "revisit" some of them which have "hurt the growth of employment", reports PTI.

"We have enacted several progressive labour laws since Independence and some even before that. But it appears that not all these laws have had the intended good effects that we would like to see on the ground," he said, inaugurating the 43rd session of the Indian Labour Conference.

Mr Singh said that there is a need to consider the possible role of some of the labour laws in "contributing to rigidities in the labour market which hurt the growth of employment."

"Is it possible that our best intentions for labour are not actually met by laws that sound progressive on paper but end up hurting the very workers they are meant to protect?" he asked in his address to the delegates who included representatives from trade unions, employees and employers.

The PM also said that the government was making serious efforts to moderate the inflation rate. "We have difficulties but we shall overcome," he said, referring to the prices of essential commodities.

Noting that the government was keen on not only making growth faster but also more inclusive, he said, "There have been many successes in our initiatives for social and economic inclusion. But we need to do much more."

Asserting that the government was committed to economic reforms with a "human face", Mr Singh said its ability to devote more resources for social welfare activities depended crucially on the ability to accelerate the pace of economic growth of 9%-10% per annum.

Emphasising the need for the industry and labour to work together to remove the barriers for faster economic growth and employment, he said the regulatory framework in the labour sector should encourage investment in labour-intensive industries and also ensure welfare of workers.

"We should constantly introspect whether our policies are serving our goals. We should reflect upon possible flaws in our policies as well as ways to strengthen policy to withstand adverse circumstances," he said.

Mr Singh also advocated strengthening of the micro- and small-enterprises sector which has the second largest share of employment after agriculture.

He said it encompasses a wide range of economic activities and also helps to check rural to urban migration by gainfully employing people in villages.

Mr Singh also asked the private sector to participate "actively" for the success of skill development programmes initiated by the government.

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