Amidst furore, the Lok Sabha on Monday passed, without discussions, a slew of labour welfare measures, including a Bill to raise the ceiling of gratuity for employees in private sector to Rs.10 lakh from Rs.3.5 lakh.

The House, which witnessed an Opposition uproar over the 2G spectrum “scam” and reports about alleged involvement of a central Minister in an illegal arms deal, adopted without discussion The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2010.

A corollary benefit of the gratuity ceiling enhancement is that the amount will also qualify for exemption from income tax.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill said the present ceiling of Rs.3.5 lakh was fixed in 1997 and there had been representations from trade unions and individuals to remove or enhance the ceiling on the maximum amount of gratuity payable under the Act.

Based on the representations and wide consultation with all stakeholders, it was proposed to enhance the ceiling of Rs.3.5 lakh on the maximum amount of gratuity under the act.

The Lok Sabha also passed the Employees' State Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2009, to provide for medicare to workers in the unorganised sector, especially those below the poverty line (BPL).

The Bill, proposes that the Employees' State Insurance Corporation should participate in the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to cover BPL workers in the unorganised sector.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill said it also proposed to increase the age limit of dependents from 18 to 21 years and provide for claims for accidents occurring at work or while going to work.The legislation was brought to the House in 2008 to replace an ordinance and was then sent to the concerned parliamentary standing committee. — PTI

Clinical Establishments Bill passed

New Delhi Special Correspondent writes:

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Clinical Establishments Bill to regulate private hospitals and clinics.

“It would also ensure that no clinic runs unless it has been duly registered in accordance with the prescribed procedure,” Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

According to the Bill, every establishment will have to follow minimum standards of facilities and services for registration and continuation of operation.

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