TAI raises concern over Centre’s plan to repeal Plantation Act

PTI, Jan 26, 2020, 5:23 PM IST

Guwahati: The Tea Association of India (TAI) has expressed concern over the Centre’s plan to repeal of the Plantation Labour Act as the industry has been going through a tough phase, said an official of the planters’ body.

Prime Minister’s economic advisory council chairman Bibek Debroy had said the Centre is going to repeal the Plantation Labour Act (PLA), 1951 that makes it mandatory for planters to provide workers non-cash benefits such as housing and drinking water.

Debroy’s statement has created “consternation in the industry as the organised tea industry is facing a continuing downward slide”, TAI Secretary-General Prabir Kumar Bhattacharjee said on Saturday.

The Centre has already notified a draft of the Wages (Central) Rules under the provisions of Code on Wages Act, 2019 and it appears that the government has already embarked on the path of dealing with wages as would be applicable to the other industries in the country, including the tea industry, a statement quoted him as saying.

“The predominant apprehension that the industry is currently faced with, is regarding the term wages which would be also made applicable to the tea industry and the wages payable in-kind would cease to be considered as such,” he said.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 is expected to be introduced in the upcoming budget session of Lok Sabha and it will subsume 13 labour laws including the Plantation Labour Act, 1951, he said.

Earlier, this Code was referred to the Standing Labour Committee after being introduced in Parliament for garnering inputs from various stakeholders, Bhattacharya added.

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