NATIONAL

Nod for Industrial Relations Code Bill

The Cabinet has approved a proposal to import 1.2 lakh tonnes of onions.  

The Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019, which aims to bring together and simplify provisions of three laws covering trade unions, industrial employment and disputes.

Announcing the decision, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the “most important feature” of the Bill was that “fixed term employment, as opposed to contract that prevails widely today, has been given permission.”

She said while fixed term workers would continue to be employed seasonally, for example in the textile sector where more workers are employed to fulfil big orders, they would be “treated at par with regular workers” when it comes to providing benefits.

In a statement, the government said the Bill would pave the way for setting up a two-member tribunal for industrial disputes, instead of one, which would allow for some “important cases” to be “adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member resulting in speedier disposal of cases.”

The Bill would also give flexibility for exit provisions, related to retrenchment, it said.

New toll model

The government has approved amendments proposed by the National Highways Authority of India to the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) model of public funded National Highway projects already operational.

Around 75 operational NH projects have been identified for potential monetisation using the TOT Model, and bundled into 10 separate bids, says a statement.

The corpus thus generated will be used for developing, operating and managing new highways.

Taming onion prices

The Cabinet has approved the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s proposal to import 1.2 lakh tonnes of onions, in a bid to tame soaring prices in metros.

However, Ministry officials emphasised that this was an “open-ended” proposal, which would give the Centre flexibility to acquire as much of the kitchen staple as is necessary — up to 1.2 lakh tonnes — to augment domestic supplies.