National Mineral Policy, 2019 gets cabinet approval
28 February 2019: The National Mining Policy 2019 has been approved by the cabinet, which would grant mining activity the status of an industry and open the mining sector to private players. Until now, mining was listed as an economic activity under primary sector.
The new policy will replace the National Mining Policy, 2008 and introduce merger/acquisitions of mining entities and transfer of mining leases to private companies, formation of dedicated mineral corridors, and exemption from taxes, levies and royalties. It would also grant the right to exploration and auctioning of virgin areas on revenue-sharing basis with private firms.
National Minimum Wage committee proposes reducing calorie intake for adults
18 February 2019: Expert Committee on Determining the Methodology for Fixing the National Minimum Wage has recommended reducing essential consumption from 2700 to 2400 calories per unit per day. The committee has cited “reduction in the proportion of workers engaged in heavy work and an increase in the number of workers in moderate and sedentary occupations” as the reason for this change. The new formulae, if adopted will significantly distort the wage calculation.
The committee has also recommended a minimum floor wage applicable throughout the country It has suggested that the minimum wage should either not be less than ₹375 per day or should be based on a wage slab model divided into five categories based on region, with the amount varying between ₹342 and ₹447 and revised half-yearly. The recommended wages are adjusted to inflation based on July 2018 prices.
The national minimum wage floor will impact the wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) which are currently one of the lowest for any form of work in the country and revised annually on the basis of Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labourer (CPI-AL).
Government amends rules, allows women to work night shifts
4 February 2019: The Ministry of Labour and Employment has lifted the exemption on employment of women in mines during night shift as per the provisions of Section 46 of the Mines Act, 1952.
Women will now be able to work in the mines in day shift in underground mines i.e., between 6 AM-7 PM and day as well as night shifts (7PM-6AM) in above ground mines (including open cast mines.)
Gujrat: The Gujrat government has proposed the Gujarat Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2019 which includes provisions for employment of women in night shifts (9pm – 6am) provided that the employer ensures provisions of shelter, restroom, night creche, ladies toilet, adequate protection of dignity, honour and safety, protection from sexual harassment and transportation from the shop or establishment to the door step of residence of the employee.