Wednesday, October 19, 2011



            Paving way for over 1.5 lakh post offices to offer banking and insurance services, especially in the hinterland, the government will soon make amendments to 'The Indian Post Office Act, 1898'


            "The draft amendment bill to make necessary changes in 'The Indian Post Office Act, 1898' has been circulated by the Department of Post for enabling post offices to enter banking and insurance sector," a source privy to the development said.


            He further said, "The Planning Commission is vetting the proposal to convert post offices across the nation into full fledged banks and provide insurance service." Besides mail service, post offices in the country have broadly confined their business to offer financial services like savings bank, postal life insurance, pension payments and money transfer services.


            The Department of Posts (DoP), which has the largest reach in the country, has diversified in recent times with providing facilities like rail reservation and telephone recharge coupons, but this move will substantially improve its basket of services.


            The government, according to the source, wants to completely give a new dimension to the way post offices do business in the country and this Bill is a step towards that goal.With this initiative, the Department of Post (DoP) wants to tap the vast rural market with modern banking facilities through post offices.


            "We want to commercialise the department. We will seek a licence from the RBI to convert all our post offices into banks," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had recently said.The lack of modern banking facilities in rural areas and dependence of villagers on informal sector for their credit requirements have prompted the government to work on financial inclusion by way of setting up 'postal banks'.


            "The State Bank of India can't build branches all over India, but there are post offices across India. The branches are already there, so infrastructure expenditure is not required. So you can actually give banking facilities at relatively lower costs, which would be extremely beneficial to people," he had said.


            This will also pave the way for the DoP to offer ATM services and debit cards to its customers.


Courtesy: http://www.indianexpress.com





            Union Minister of Labour & Employment Shri Mallikarjun Kharge has emphasized the need to speedily implement programmes for harnessing its 'demographic dividend' of estimated youth population of 51 crore persons by 2016 in the age group of 15-35. Addressing the 44th Session of Labour Standing Committee here in New Delhi today the minister said if not done so the same may turn into a liability.


            Shri Kharge said a well-structured mechanism has evolved with the establishment of the Indian Labour Conference, the Standing Labour Committee and various other tripartite bodies to deal with issues such as minimum wages, social security benefits, education, training, safety and health. Initiatives like MGNREGA, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, Right to Education, Food Security measures and Right to Information have provided a proper foundation for development for our disadvantaged countrymen. Improving the living and working conditions of our workmen has always been the cornerstone of our Government policy. These measures under taken by Government of India have been appreciated at various fora world over, including the G-20 Labour Ministerial, which I attended recently.


            He said Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development. Quality employment and appropriate skilling of the work force are the major challenges before us. We need to create a huge infrastructure for skill training and certification. Imparting training to the informal sector and keeping pace with the demands of the industry is equally important. He said we have arranged resources for upgradation of all our Government ITIs. Most of these ventures have been undertaken through Public Private Partnership and we have also received enthusiastic response from the State Governments. Our next major initiative is going to be the establishment of new ITIs and Skill Development Centers. Another significant step undertaken is Skill Development Initiative under which informal workers will be trained in short term courses certified under Modular Employable Skills framework. This will be especially helpful for the school dropouts and unskilled workers. Till now, curriculum for 1200 courses has been developed. Government is also focusing on sectors like construction, real estate, tourism, Small and Medium Enterprises, transport, etc., which are labour intensive. The minister said Special attention is being given to the 'Gender dimension' and 'Employability by increasing IT literacy'. Our Mission Mode Project for upgradation of Employment Exchanges is going to be one of the most important E-Governance initiatives.


            Referring to the earlier discussions on the rationalization of Labour Laws in the past in the meetings of National Commission on Labour, State Labour Minister Conference, Indian Labour Conference, etc the Minister said the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) has also reiterated that there is need to formulate a National Labour Code in the form of basic law which should lay down a floor of substantive labour rights or standards such as Minimum Wages, Maximum Hours of Work, Minimum standards of safety and health at workplace and so on. Also, 'Recognition' of trade unions is and Verification of the membership of trade unions are the issues gaining a lot of importance in the Industrial Establishments. He said the present system of verification like secret ballot, check off, etc., needs to be closely examined further for evolving an improved system which is more transparent and brings out the proper representation.


            On the demand of Trade Unions to amend the Contract Labour Act, 1970 to provide for automatic absorption of contract labour in the event of prohibition of employment of contract labour and opposition by the employers' organizations Shri Kharge said his ministry has been making efforts to protect the interests of all stakeholders and try to extend the same benefits to contract workers which are otherwise available to permanent workers. He expressed the hope that present Session of Standing Labour Committee will be quite productive and will lead to selection of Agenda items for the next Indian Labour Conference which are relevant and touch upon the core issues related to the 'World of Work'. The views of the various stakeholders present in the meeting will act as precious inputs for facilitating Government's decision making for formulation of Schemes and bringing in important legislation.


            The detailed the agenda for to days meeting included five items, namely-(i) Verification of membership of Trade Unions (ii) Improvements in the working conditions of Contract Labour (iii) Ratification of ILO Core Conventions (iv) Enhancing employability and employment and (v) Rationalization of Labour Laws.


            During the meeting 3 vice chairman were selected. They are Shri C.K. Sajinarayanan (Workers representative), Shri Shyam Bang (Employers representative) and Shri Shibu Baby John, Minister of Labour, Government of Kerala (State Governments representatives).The State Minister of Labours Participating in the session were: Shri Janardan Singh 'Sigriwal' from Bihar, Shri Chandra Shakher Sahu from Chattisgarh, Shri Rama Kant Goswami from Delhi, Pndit Shiv Charan Lal Shrma From Hariyana, Shri P. Parijat Singh from Manipur, Shri B.N Bachegowda from Karnataka, Shri Shibhu Baby John from Kerala and Shri Manik Dey from Tripura.


            The Central Ministries participating in the meeting were Agriculture & Cooperation, Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Coal, Commerce, Economic Affairs, Environment & Forests, Financial Services, Heavy Industries, Health & Family Welfare, Home Affairs (Inter State Council), Industrial Policy & Promotion, Khadi and Small and Medium Enterprises, Mines, Overseas Indian Affairs, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Planning Commission, Posts, Power, Public Enterprises, Railways, Revenue, Road Transport & Highways, Rural Development, Social Justice & Empowerment, Steel Telecommunications, Textiles, Urban Development and Women & Child Development. From Employers Group Council of Indian Employers, All India Manufacturers' Organization, Laghu Udhyog Bharati, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India. From Workers Group Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre, Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trades Union Congress (UTUC) and National Front of Indian Trade Unions –Dhanbad (NFITU-DHN).








 Minutes of the Meeting of Steering Committee held on 15th October 2011


 The meeting, as scheduled, commenced at 11.30 am.


 The following were present.


 Com  Shiv Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, AIRF

   "     Sukomal Sen, Sr Vice President, AISGEF

   "     R Muthusundaram, Secretary General, AISGEF

   "     C Sreekumar, General Secretary, AIDEF

   "     SN Pathak, President, AIDEF

   "     SK Vyas, President, Confederation

   "     MS Raja, Secretary, Confederation

   "     VAN Namboodiri, President, BSNLEU


After detailed discussion the following decisions were taken.


1.         The signature campaign would continue upto 20th November 2011 but at the same time the units shall be directed by each participating organisation to intimate the number of signatures obtained upto 15th November to CHQs of the respective Federations.


            The signatures obtained shall be submitted on 25th November 2011.


            Memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister shall be signed by the leaders of all participating organisations in the Steering Committee and Members of Parliament and dignitaries and the same shall be submitted to Speaker, Lok Sabha with a forwarding letter with a request to transmit it to the PM for consideration of the Parliament.


2.         Each station has to communicate the number of participants in the March to Parliament by 15th November 2011.


            The organisations present in the meeting stated their mobilisation for the March as below:


                        1. AIDEF                        - ---   5000

                        2. CONFEDERATION  ---- 10000

                        3. BSNLEU                   ----    3000     

                        4. AIRF                          ----- 10000

                        5. AISGEF                    ----- 50000


            Also, 3000 pensioners are expected to join the March to Parliament.


5.         The Rally shall be from 11 am to 2 pm.


6.         Central Trade Union leaders & MPs shall be invited to address the rally.


8.         On the day the PFRDA bill is taken up for discussion, 2 hour demonstration shall be held in the work places/offices through out the country by the members of all the participating organisations.


9.         Delhi based leaders of the participating organisations will meet on 19th November 2011 at 12 noon at AIRF office. Local leaders of all participating organisations shall be invited to the meeting.


10.       The Steering Committee shall meet at 5 pm on 24th November 2011 at AIRF office.

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