National Commission on Labour (1967)||
30.18 The Ministry of Labour and Employment of the Central Government1 is the main agency for policy formulation and administration in all labour matters. The arrangements it has for tripartite consultations for efficient working of its operative agencies have been referred to already. We describe here the role of the Labour Ministry within the Union Government and as a coordinator of the policies of State Labour Departments. In a democratic framework, within which we are operating, the Ministry's role vis-a-vis the Parliament is also important.
30.19 Within the Government, the Labour Ministry inter alia initiates action on labour matters, keeps the Parliament informed and seeks guidance from it, advises other Ministries/ Departments and the public sector corporations set up by them, keeps in touch with the State Governments, holds discussions with employers' and workers' organisations for settling disputes, organises tripartite conferences, controls the specialised directorates/agencies set up by it and generally looks after the interests of labour consistent with the broader economic and social policies of Government. Other Ministries/Departments have the responsibility of settling their own labour problems. The Labour Ministry comes in only in case of difference of opinion between them and the organisations which represent their labour, as indeed in any important labour dispute in the private sector. This is broadly the approach both in regard to departmental labour and labour engaged in units managed by the public sector. The Labour Ministry is the channel of communication between the Central Government and the International Labour Organisation in all matters of standard setting at the international level and the administering of technical cooperation programmes.
30.20 The functions of the Labour Ministry have expanded with the enlarged responsibilities of the Government as a whole. This is reflected in the increasing size of the Ministry in the last twenty years. We have no desire to comment on this aspect as also on the current arrangements for inter-ministerial coordination, since the Administrative Reforms Commission is presently examining the relevant issues connected with the whole range of Governmental Administration. We will confine ourselves only to one aspect of administration which concerns the role of the Ministry in the efficient running
1 The Department of Labour and Employment is now a part of the larger Ministry of Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation We propose to refer to it as 'Labour Ministry' to distinguish it from 'Labour Department' under the administrative set-up of a State Government.
of the operative agencies created by it. In view of this position, we are also not going into the merits of a suggestion made to us that additional subjects like industrial housing, housing for agricultural labour, manpower and productivity be transferred to the Labour Ministry. The machinery for discharging the functions entrusted to the Ministry consists of several Directorates/ Organisations. A chart showing the set-up in the Ministry of Labour is at Annexure I. We will describe these agencies in brief.
(i) Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET): This operates as a wing of the Ministry itself. The Director General has the ex-officio secretariat status. The Directorate lays down the policy for the efficient running of its field agencies viz; the employment exchanges and the industrial training institutes. The day-to-day functions in both cases are the responsibility of State Governments. Apart from the coordinating functions, the Directorate General runs seven Central Training Institutes for craft instructors and two research institutions—one for a better understanding of the employment situation and the other for improving the quality of training. Training to equip persons for better efficiency at the supervisory level has been a newly added responsibility of the Directorate.
(ii) Office of the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) : Apart from the administration of some of the different enactments mentioned in para 30.8, the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) (GLC) has additional duties connected with (i) the verification of membership of registered unions for granting recognition under the Code to unions in industries for which the Central Government is the appropriate Government and (ii) the determination of the membership strength of all-India trade union federations for representation at national and international forums. The responsibility for supervising the implementation of the Code also falls to a large extent on this office. Some of the functions of the Chief Labour Commissioner are advisory, but for the major part, his functions relate to implementation and supervision. His main duties are in regard to the settlement of disputes. Only recently this organisation has started training courses for Central, State Government and public sector corporation officials concerned with the enforcement of labour laws and settlement of disputes.
(iii) The Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) : Working conditions in mines and the implementation of the Mines Act, 1952, and Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, in mines other than coal mines are the functions entrusted to this office. For a major part of the period under survey, the inspectorial functions were considered important. It is only recently that 'safety' has been specifically included in the name given to the organisation to emphasise the main element in working conditions in mines.
(iv) The Directorate General of Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (Formerly the Chief Adviser of Factories): Apart from providing advisory services to the factory inspectorates in different States, the organisation also conducts research in the whole range of problems connected with safety, health, welfare and productivity. It runs the Central Labour Institute and the Regional Labour Institutes.1
(v) Labour Bureau : The functions of the Labour Bureau have been explained elsewhere elaborately.2
30.21 Other organisations connected with the Labour Ministry fall under three categories : (i) Subordinate offices, (ii) Ad hoc bodies, and (iii) Autonomous bodies. Under (i) fall, apart from the DGMS, the Industrial Tribunals set up at different centres for industries for which the Central Government is the appropriate Government, the Welfare Commissioners for different minerals and the administrators of welfare cesses. Under (ii) will come the Wage Boards and Commissions and Committees of Enquiry. The Employees' State Insurance Corporation, which looks after social security arrangements, the Central Board of Workers' Education, Safety Councils and the like, fall under (iii). A very large number of these functions have been vested in the Ministry since Independence.