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Ministry slams Oxfam inequality index

The 2020 Oxfam inequality index, which placed India at rank 151 in terms of workers’ rights and 129 overall out of 158 countries, lacked clarity and did not take into account provisions of the four new labour codes, Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

In a written reply to a question by MPs K. Navaskani and Balubhau Narayan Dhanorkar, the Minister said, “The rank assigned to India and methodology adopted is not clear, and does not take into account the entire gamut of provisions in the Indian legislations relevant to protection of labour rights, particularly relating to formation of trade unions.”

The Minister said though India was not a signatory to two International Labour Organisation conventions on the freedom of association and protection of the right to organise (C87) and the right to organise and collective bargaining (C98), the principles of the conventions were “available to workers”.

“Also, the methodology does not take into account the various provisions that have been provided in the Labour Codes,” the written reply stated.

The Oxfam Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, which was released in October 2020, put India at rank 141 out of 158 countries in public services and rank 19 in terms of progressive tax.

In his reply, the Minister said the Code on Wages, 2019; the Industrial Relations Code, 2020; the Code on Social Security, 2020 and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 had been passed by Parliament and notified. He said the four codes, which subsume 29 Central labour laws, “extend social protection to workers, including in unorganised sectors in respect of extending statutory minimum wages to all, formulation of schemes for benefit of workers to provide for healthcare benefits, Employees’ Provident Fund, Pension and Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance, etc.”

The codes are yet to be implemented as the rules framed under them have not been notified.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 5:52:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ministry-slams-oxfam-inequality-index/article34136349.ece

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