Even as the Centre holds consultations with stakeholders to amend various contentious labour legislation, the NDA regime has decided to strike at the much-dreaded inspector raj introducing a new inspection system that will shield business establishments against frequent harassment and rent-seeking.
Under the new system, which is likely to come in force from September, inspectors will not be authorised to visit factories or business units unless there exists a “prima facie evidence” of wrong-doing. Besides, if the inspectors fail to upload their inspection report within 72 hours on a unified portal, which is being developed, it will “not be deemed legitimate”, according to sources.
To this end, the ministry of labour and employment is also developing a single unified web portal for online registration of units, reporting of inspections, submissions of annual returns and redressal of grievances. To start with, it has identified 16 of the 44 labour laws administered by the ministry. Each of them will have a Central Analysis and Intelligence Unit (CAIU). If there is any complaint against any business establishment, the respective CAIU will first go through it and only if there is prima facie evidence of any violation that inspectors will be authorised to carry out an inspection.
“The advantage of the new system is that it will restrain inspectors from carrying out random and wilful inspections on the basis of frivolous complaints. If an aggrieved party feels that he or she is being harassed for minor violations, they can ask why they have been picked up for inspection. They can take recourse to the Right to Information Act and find out how many other establishments were targeted or not targeted for the same,” official sources told The Indian Express.
Earlier, there was no timeframe for the inspectors to submit the inspection report, which gave some of them an opportunity to arm-twist the employers. Now they have to upload their report within a specified period and its veracity or the lack of it will have a bearing on the annual performance appraisal of the inspectors, said sources.