K’taka amends certain provisions in industries related laws to help businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic

PTI, Jul 24, 2020, 8:22 AM IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday, July 23 gave its approval to “The Industrial Disputes and Certain Other Laws (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance”, saying it was aimed at addressing challenges faced by industries due to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, trade unions have termed the ordinance as detrimental to the interests of labourers and have demanded its withdrawal.

The ordinance will amend some provisions under the Industrial Disputes Act, the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and the Factories Act. “To address the challenges arising due to COVID-19 under Section 25(K) of the Industrial Disputes Act, the worker threshold will increase from 100 to 300,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhiswamy said.

Speaking to reporters here after the cabinet meeting, he said, “similarly under contract labours act- contract labours threshold has been increased from 20 to 50 to attract provisions of the act and under Industries Act, the worker threshold from 10 to 20 in units which use power and from 20 to 40 in factories that don”t use power.”

“Overtime work of any quarter is also increased from 75 to 125 hours under the Factories Act,” he added.

However, condemning the ordinance of the state government, trade unions have said, “Changes being made to section 25(K) of the Industrial Disputes Act means only those establishments that employ 300 or more people will have to seek the government”s permission for closure, retrenchment or layoff.

In a statement, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said 90 per cent of the companies now don”t need government”s permission.

According to government sources, the amendments were based on the recommendations made by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in May, and similar amendments have been made in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha and other states. The cabinet also decided to set up a company, the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission to promote startups in the state.

“There are more than 7,000 startups in Karnataka, they were operating under Technology Mission, there were three to four agencies that were involved to gather information regarding them and take decisions,” Madhuswamy said.

He said, “we are setting up Karnataka Digital Economy Mission, a company under section 8, and this state government will have 49 per cent share while industries will hold 51 per cent share, we have given approval to it.”

The Cabinet also provided administrative approval to develop a civil enclave in an airport being built near Ankola, Karwar by the Indian Navy.

Corporatisation of the Karnataka State Drug Logistics and Warehousing Society, was among the other decisions taken by the cabinet.

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