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Govt to repeal Plantation Labour Act; tea industry concerned

The Centre goes to repeal the Plantation Labour Act (PLA), 1951 that makes it obligatory for planters to present employees non-cash advantages corresponding to housing and consuming water, Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, mentioned on Friday.

Addressing a programme right here, the economist mentioned the central authorities has additionally introduced a brand new set of wage code changing, amongst others, the Minimum Wage Act of 1948. The Centre has already tabled a Bill in Parliament on occupational security, well being and dealing circumstances code which is now beneath dialogue.

“The government is going to repeal the Plantation Labour Act besides bringing in a new code on wages,” Debroy mentioned on the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet right here.

The plantation sector included tea, rubber and low industries, and the Act stipulates them to adjust to offering consuming water, housing, medical, training and bathroom services to the employees, moreover wages.

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Tea industry’s calls for

The industry had been demanding that the duty of the employers to present welfare facilities to employees apart from wages be both solely taken over by the federal government or an inexpensive worth be assigned to the non-cash advantages and be handled as part of the wages, Indian Tea Association (ITA) Secretary-General Arijit Raha informed PTI. The ITA is the apex physique of tea planters of the nation.

The Bill beneath dialogue has a clause saying “every employer of plantation shall be responsible to provide and maintain welfare facilities through his own resources relating to drinking water, housing, medical, education and toilet to the workers in the plantation or through schemes for such purpose sponsored by the Central or State government, municipality or panchayat for the locality in which the plantation is situated.”

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Raha mentioned the industry is concerned as the brand new Code of Wages, 2019, says in-kind (non-cash) advantages have been put beneath the definition of wages and restricted to a most of 15 per cent of complete wages. “Since we do not know what will be the quantum of total wages which is yet to be declared by the Centre, the industry seeks to treat the in-kind benefits given to the workers be treated as a part of it,” he mentioned.

Raha mentioned, “Effectively, our obligations of providing the welfare facilities have not changed in the Bill.”

Tea Board Deputy Chairman Arun Kr Ray mentioned, “The existing law is under amendment and not finalised as yet. We are not in a position now to comment on this.”

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