History Of Indian National Congress Party
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Published: Fri, 28 Apr 2017
Before discussing about the economic developments brought by legislations of Indian National Congress Party in India, there should be a fair idea about Indian National Congress Party.
The foundation of The Indian National Congress was laid on 28th December 1885 at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay with only 72 delegates attending the event. Allan Octavian Hume a prominent Englishman and civil servant then in India assumed office as general secretary and Womesh Chandra banerjee of Calcutta was elected president. Two other British members (both Scottish civil servants) were members of the founding group.
Primarily The Indian National Congress aimed at inculcating a feeling of National unity and eradicating differences arising out of race, creed and provisional prejudices. Moreover finding solution to the social problems of the country and seek the co-operation of all Indians in this doing and allow all to take part in the country’s administrative affairs. Then at the beginning The Indian National Congress Party had a dominance of prominent Hindu leaders which led to a negative notion amongst the prominent Muslim citizens of the country. Moreover the ordinary population of India was not at all concerned about the organization. Any issue addressed, may it be the social oppression or the prejudiced negligence of the peoples’ concerns by British Authority, lack of health care and poverty, was not heard and The Indian National Congress Party was perceived as an institution of then educated and wealthy people.
But it did not take Congress long to gain popularity. The members of The Indian National Congress understood the need to have a voice in the ruling British Government without which no changes can be brought about by the party. Among the very early members who understood the need and embraced the idea of Swaraj were Lokmanya tilak and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. There was an emergent need of voice in the government and this nationalist sentiment of being a part and representing the government bodies was personified by a prominent member Dadabhai Naoroji who successfully contested an election to the British House of Commons, thus becoming the eldest Indian statesman. He was aided in this election campaign by aspiring young students of India like Muhammad Ali Jinnah who later became the first prime minister of Pakistan. The Indian national Congress played the most important role under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in the liberation of India from the British rule. The Indian National Congress acted as the main platform for the National Freedom Struggle, beard the torch for secular politics and unified the divergent forces in the country. The Indian National Congress also laid the foundation for national parliamentary democracy.
On 15th August, 1947 India became independent with the Indian National Congress Supreme at center and in all state legislatures. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of India who described independence for the country to be freedom for her people. India under his leadership eventually emerged as the exemplar for all humanity with unity based on the celebration of diversity. From the very beginning of its independent existence, Indian government was reeling with poverty problem, rising unorganized labour sectors, rural illiteracy, extreme lack of infrastructure and basic amenities. While the main organized force behind making the Indian National Congress successful was the working class, distinctly. The historic dimensions of labour and employee legislations date back to the times of Indian freedom movement, when the Indian National Congress focused on the poor state of the labour class under the British rule. The struggle for freedom of India was mainly supported by civil disobedience which meant that no worker would work inflicting loss to the British Government.
Background of labour legislation by the Indian National Congress in India
After Independence, naturally, the labouring class of India kept high hopes from the Indian National Congress and wanted much preference. But the early prime ministers of India representing the Indian National Congress were unable to recognize this fact which led to rise to unpopularity among them. When Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India from the Indian National Congress, she recognized the issue and galvanized the party with a slogan “Garibi Hatao”. This established an integral and dynamic link with the downtrodden, poorest of the poor and the underprivileged giving impetus to economic growth, social justice and combined industrialization with technological development, agriculture and self reliance.
This era can be marked in the history of the India by significant labour legislations to cope up with the growing industrialization in the country. The primary employee of an industry is its labour force. The labour force in India migrated from the rural areas to the urban areas and was classified as arrogant, illiterate, uncontrollable, undisciplined, untrained and unskilled; this assessment was made on the organized labour which constituted only 8% of the country’s total labour force. The rest fell under the category of unorganized sector who were not totally taken care of.
The then Indian employee legislation, oriented to the safeguarding of employees and protecting them against all exploitation. These government controlled legislation were bannered under labour commissioners, labour officer conciliation, inspectorates, enforcement officers and others.
The Indian National Congress also aimed by these legislations to the grooming of employees by industrial training. On the contrary, it was natural on the part of the Indian employer to extend his arms towards maximum profits, who invested money, in setting up and running an organization, through their own sources or by joint venture or by loans from different financial institution. This resulted in the exploitation of human resource and reduced quality of production under the wrong notion of more production at low cost. Simultaneously, the employers were surrounded by “Yes Sir” officers who were unable to give proper advice when a crisis emerged. All the managers namely labour, personal or the human resource managers were ill-equipped to achieve industrial harmony and peace or industrial democracy. The executives thus needed urgent training in labour legislations, sociology, psychology etc. The trade unions, a necessary evil, stood as a headache for the government. The trade union movement dates back to the pre independent era in India and is still a ripe and proper source for the working class to get themselves heard by the authorities and government.
The Indian National Congress tried its level best to codify the labour laws. To guarantee protection and social security to the labouring class the Indian National Congress led government enacted several labour laws, such as:-
The Factories Act of 1948
The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
The Minimum Wages Act.
The Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
The Payment of Bonus Act,1965
The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1962
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
Each and every Act above listed have specific purposes.
THE NEED AND PURPOSE OF THE WORK
Though the reformatory labour legislations by the Indian National Congress have brought forward economic boom in India. The main purpose of it was to secure the interests and well being of the labour class and encourage more people to work in industries hence promoting speedy industrialization of the nation. Over the years, the main agenda and purpose behind those legislations have lost their significance. The labour legislations have significantly shown parallel dimensions, one detrimental another betterment and advancement of lives of the working class along with the socio-economic condition of the country respectively.
A review on Indian labour laws consisting rights of labours is urgently needed, particularly keeping in mind the growth of industry and services. The most important issues which were identified over the years in the area of labour reforms are multiple and parallel labour legislations, issues relating to appropriate government and jurisdictions, multiplicity of authorities, lack of uniformity in definition, minimum wages and malicious inspection reports. There also are some loopholes in legislations on recently evolved industry times like the SEZ’s.
In the recent years it has been witnessed that the ruling government i.e. the Indian National Congress party is losing its tracks of labour welfare and drifting towards globalization of the economy, whilst the working class is getting exploited as new scopes of legislations are evolving which have less or no governing labour legislations to facilitate them. This work will investigate the problems encountered by the different sectors of the labouring class, the discrepancies in labour legislations and try to find solution to the emerging problems and loop holes in the legislations.
This research will provide a rigorous analysis of the available academic literature, government commission reports and legal reviews combined with primary research into the ways the legal legislations in India brought forward national economic growth and how can this growth be made sustainable by correcting the flaws and loopholes in the legislation of labour laws, making them at par with the present boom in economy and national industrial growth.
“A critical evaluation on the development of Indian economy through labour legislations by the Indian National Congress party.”
A critical investigation on the political and legal development within Indian society during the rule of the Indian National Congress party.
A critical analysis of the impact of the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations on the Indian economy.
Present status of socio economic conditions of India brought forward by the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations.
“A nation may do without its millionaires and without its capitalists, but a nation can never do without its labour”- (Mahatma Gandhi)
India is a federal republic. Constitutionally she is a “sovereign secular democratic republic”. In the eighteenth century, while under British rule, India was not only a great agricultural country but also a great manufacturing country too. The looms supplied by India fed the European and Asian countries. But the British Government as a matter of policy discouraged the Indian manufacturers to encourage the rising manufacturers of England. The British oppression led to the rise and growth of the Indian Nationalism with the Indian National Congress party in the forefront. The urge of economic reforms and industrialization was evident in India from that very era. Eventually planned industrialization became India’s main goal for economic development. After gaining independence the ruling Indian National Congress party immediately understood the need of industrialization to strengthen the economy and bring overall national development. The newly elected to power Indian National Congress party then knew its need to protect, promote and safeguard the interests of the labour and working class to serve both its political purpose and to uphold the country’s economy. In India there have been a number of labour legislations till date for the purpose of promoting the interests of labour keeping in view the industrial development and growth national economy. Before independence, India hardly had any labour welfare schemes. Soon after independence, the government adopted the industrial truce resolution in December 1947. Following this several legislations were enacted like Factories Act 1948, Employees State Insurance Act 1948. The payment of Bonus Act 1965 and Minimum Wages Act 1948. A question arises that what is the appropriate role of government in the industrial theatre? In fact the government plays a major role in employee legislations. The power of courts is limited to the giving of verdicts only while as labour legislations are state controlled. The state functions through its commissioners, inspectors, conciliators and enforcement officers. No industrial dispute can be taken to the court directly. Primarily, for any dispute that is raised has to be taken up before the labour officer conciliation and if only the conciliation fails the government frames issues to be answered and refers to the labour tribunals and courts. After the publication in government and legal gazettes the award gains legal power. When a violation is done, of the award, it is reported to the labour commissioner who takes action against the defaulter.
Legislative history of labour laws in India
The history of labour legislations in India is connected to the history of British Colonialism. Early labour legislations were aimed to protect the interests of British employees and to tame the Indian worker. Factory’s Act was first introduced in the year 1883 which stipulated 8 hours of work, restriction of women in night shifts, abolition of child labour and introduction of overtime wages. Though this was welfare legislation it was meant to protect the British textile magnets since the British parliament was emphasizing on making Indian labour costlier to avoid exports of textiles from India and encourage exports of textile from England.
British political and economic considerations were paramount and played important roles in shaping early labour laws in India. For obvious reasons, early labour legislations in India were made in favour of British employers keeping in mind their safety and convenience. While on one hand, the measure taken in form of Acts by the British government were welfarist, on the other hand it was undoubtedly protectionist.
Initiatives taken by the Indian Government to promote industry and facilitate growth in economy
There has been considerable economic growth and progress in India since independence under the Indian National Congress led Indian government. Noticeable areas are growth in industry and agriculture. Industrial investment took place with the introduction of new technologies. The government supported in upbringing of an entire new team of entrepreneurs with large number of industrial centre developments throughout the country. The Indian government built infrastructures like power, communication and roads to facilitate industries over the years. The government also provided much needed finance to the industrial sectors and nurtured a variety of skills required by industries as well as agricultural sectors. The government also encourages indigenous industries and provided them with all the facilities required. As a result of these policies India now has a widely diversified industry base and large domestic production of wide range of goods and services. From after independence in the year 1947, India took ambitious plans of industrial development and encouraged setting up of new industries and expansion of existing ones. To do this the government took several steps like the protection of Indian industries and labour welfare through legislations. With growth in industry, the importance of labour laws for the protection of laborers against exploitation escalated. The Indian National Congress led government of India enacted several legislations to facilitate the issues.
The first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation of modern India. Since independence, his endeavour and vision have left an everlasting impression on Indian development. Due to the initiatives taken by Nehru, today India has a strong and diversified industrial base. Today, India is one among the major industrial nations of the world. On the eve of independence, Pandit Nehru set out certain goals and objectives for economic development of the nation namely- rapid industrialization and agricultural development, expanding the opportunities of gainful employment rapidly, progressive reduction of economic and social disparities along with attainment of self reliance and removal of poverty. The statement of Industrial policy is still inspired by these concerns.
Immediately following independence of the nation from the British rule, in 1948 the Indian National Congress led Indian Government introduced the Industrial Policy Resolution outlining the approach to development and industrial growth. This Resolution mainly emphasized on how important is the economy of securing increase in production continuously ensuring its equal distribution. The Resolution was comprehensively revised to be adopted in 1956 after the adoption of the Indian Constitution and socio-economic goals. Over the years, the Government has modified the Industrial Policy Resolution to meet new challenges brought forward by changing time; it was modified by statements in 1973, 1983 and 1977. The primary aim of the Industrial Policy Resolution was to accelerate the economic growth rate and speedy industrialization. But at that time capital was scarce to find and base of entrepreneurship was not enough strong. Hence the state had to take direct responsibility and predominance for industrially developing itself. In comparison to its previous Industrial Policy Statements, the 1973 policy of the Indian National Congress led Indian Government permitted large industry houses and foreign companies to invest in high priority industries of the nation.
Significantly Industrial Policy Statement of 1977 started a new era of modern and swift industrialization in the country. It laid emphasis on the role of tiny, small scale and cottage industries along with decentralization laying the path to strengthen the national economy. With th turn of time and world economic structure changing rapidly there arose an urgent need for promotion of the domestic market competition, modernization of old industries and technological upgradation within the nation. The then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi distinctly understood the matter and focused attention to the above fact in the Industrial Policy Statement of 1980. This Industrial Policy Statement emphasized and laid the foundation for an ever increasing competitive export base, foreign investment in high and state of art technology areas of different industries. The Government clearly recognized the importance and need for productivity to be high priority and central concern for the speedy development of Indian economy.
These calculated steps followed by intensive and careful planning by the India National Congress in power brought forward a climate of rapid industrial growth in India. By the mid of 1980’s the Indian Government successfully built a broad-based infrastructure and established basic industries. The nation attained self reliance to a high degree in finished goods, intermediate and raw materials. The government was able to encourage new growth centers relating to industrial activity and parallely bring up a new generation of entrepreneurs. The next Congress Government of India under the leadership of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi introduced a number of procedural and Industrial Policy changes in 1985 and 1986.
Mr. Gandhi recognized the emergent need to prepare the Indian industry so that it can effectively respond to the emerging challenges. The policies aimed at improving quality and productivity and reducing costs at the same time. A number of constraints on the public sector was freed and it as given autonomy to a large measure. The domestic market was exposed to a high competition level and the industry sector was aimed to stand up in front of the rising face of international competition. The government did not fail to understand that the key instrument for improving competivity in the world market and increasing productivity was technological and managerial modernization of the industry sector. The Indian industry impressively grew to an annual growth rate of 8.5% as a net result during this period and in the following years, strengthening the national economy with parallel dimensions. From the eve of the birth of independent India till date, Indian Government strived to upbring the nation as a major industrial country. However, this could have never been possible if it had not supported and safeguarded the labour force behind its industries. Through the years the Indian Government ensured the enhancement in labour welfare and tried to fulfill an uphold the interests of labours through various legislations from time to time and as the day demanded.
A body of laws dealing with employment and non employment, working conditions, wages, industrial relation, labour welfare and social security for the working class is known as labour legislation. There is a twofold objective of labour legislation
To bring about industrial peace which could in turn accelerate productivity resulting in prosperity of the country.
Improvement of service conditions of industrial labourers and to provide them will ordinary amenities of life.
Significant Labour legislations done by the Indian Government are discussed below:-
The significant labour legislations done by the Indian government can be categorized into nine parts
Legislations related to industrial disputes, employer and employee relations
Legislations related to wages
Legislations related to working hours, conditions of services and employment
Legislations related to equality and empowerment of women
Legislations related to deprived and disadvantaged sections of the society
Legislations related to social security
Legislations related to labour welfare
Legislations related to employment and training
Legislations covering other sectors of workmanship like personal injury, weekly holidays, national and festival holiday etc.
Major labour legislations which paved the way for speedy industrial growth and economic development in India.
The Indian National Congress party led Indian government did play a significant role in developing the Indian economy by nurturing the industry sector of the nation. The government took a firm note of the fact that no country could ever develop and economically strengthen itself only with agricultural boom. Parallel dimensions in the development of the industrial sector is also necessary. India just after independence had an ever increasing huge population count and most of it was poor and unemployed. Hence cheap labour was abundant for industrial works but the government took measures in safeguarding the workman’s interest. As though free from foreign rule and operation, the poor and uneducated folk which made up most of the workforce of the nation was vulnerable to exploitation in work places. Hence government intervention was very important in the upbringing of the healthy work environment and socio economic development at the same time. It was important to encourage people to work in industries. To fulfill this motive thorough and extensive labour legislations were made which aimed to secure both employee and employer interests. Government bodies and agencies were set up to oversee the implementation of these rules and laws and if any disputed arose, settling them in a speedy and uncumbersome manner.
The major labour legislations by the Indian parliament are as follows
The Factories Act, 1948
There were two primary objectives behind this act. Firstly, to ensure adequate measures of safety and welfare of one and all employed in factories. And, secondly, the prevention of hap hazard growth of factories through provisions related to approval of plans before the set up of the factory.
In brief, this Act provided for and guidelined that factories should be clean and proper arrangements of effluents and waste disposals should be made. There should be adequate ventilation and comfort to the employees should be provided by maintenance of reasonable temperatures at work places. It also directed that all the machinery should be properly fenced to protect workers when working. Periodical test of lifts and hoists be made to ensure their good conditions. This Act took measures related to employment of women as well stating that no women worker should be employed beyond 6am to 7pm with no permissions for women to work in night shifts but it was later amended permitting women to work in night shifts.
Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
This Act is a landmark in the history of Indian labour legislations. It stated that factories employ ten or more people and carries out a manufacturing process with the help of power or a factory which manufactures without the aid of power and employees 20 or more people should have every employee who receives Rs 7,500 per month as salary (casual and temporary included) whether employed through contractor or directly; should be insured under ESI Act. Employers whose factories fall under the specified category guidelined by the Act should get their factories registered with the Employees State Insurance Corporations. Under this Act, the employee is required to contribute 1.7% of his wage and the employer to contribute 4.7% of the wage he pays in respect to every wage period. The whole process is monitored by a special government agency and employees are allotted personal insurance identification numbers. Six type of benefits are envisaged under this Act namely- sickness, maternity, disablement, dependants, medical and funeral benefits. There is no way to avert punishment if the employer denies or fails to give the benefits to the employees. In cases where the person who commits the offence under this Act is a company, then every person who was at the time of the offence in charge of or responsible for the company’s conduct of businesses are to be deemed guilty and punished there under.
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
Ascertainment of minimum wages is one amongst the fundamentals of decent work. Hence this Act can be considered to be as to be the hallmark in Indian labour legislations. This Act was enforced to give legislative protection to workers and ensure that they get a minimum wage. The primary aim of this Act is the prevention of exploitation and sweating of labour. After this Act was first passed in1948, it has been reviewed it has been reviewed and revised at an interval of every five years. The government successful used the power to mandate wages and specified specific type of wages for different jobs.
Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
This important labour welfare legislation was enacted by the Indian Parliament to ensure and provide benefits and social security to the workers. At present the schemes framed under the Act provides for three types of benefits a) pensioner benefits to employees /family members b) insurance cover to members of provident fund c) contributory provident fund.
This Act made it compulsory for the employer and employee at the same time to contribute to the provident fund. Under the provisions of the Act, an employee who receives a pay of Rs 300 per month and has worked for atleast 1 year is eligible for provident fund membership. However over the years as a result of amendments the eligibility conditions have changed to be a minimum salary of Rs 6,500 per months and with no minimum time span of work required.
Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
The primary objective behind this enactment was to maintain peace and harmony between capital and labour by allowing employees a share of the prosperity of the establishment, in the form of profits which have been earned by the contributions made by the capital, the management and the labour. This Act is applicable to every factory and all other establishments which employ 20 or more people. The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 outlines that every employee is entitled to receive bonus provided they have worked for a minimum of 30 days and draws a monthly salary of Rs 10,000 or more . According to this Act, the minimum and maximum bonus an employee can receive are 8.33% of his monthly salary or Rs 100 whichever is higher and 20% of his monthly salary, respectively. This Law bounds the employer to pay bonus on an annual basis irrespective of stakes failing which legal actions are taken by the government. However, when an organization runs in loss, payment of bonus is not necessary.
6. Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
This Act applies to factories and such establishments which employ 10 or more persons. Under the scheme provided by this Act, an employee is entitled to get gratuity at the rate of 15 days wage for every year completed in the establishment. But only if the employee has completed atleat a span of 5 years of work he is eligible to receive gratuity. The maximum limit for payment of gratuity is Rs 350,000 only
7. Industrial Disputers Act, 1947
The disputes which arise out of disagreements in industrial relations are called industrial disputes. These disputes commonly arise between employer and employees, between employees and sometimes between employers and sometimes between employers. Clash leading to dissatisfaction for either of the parties leads to conflicts or industrial disputes. Such disputes mainly result in protests, demonstrations, strikes, lockouts, retrenchments and even dismissal of workers. Some reasons behind industrial disputes are a) Demand for allowance and higher wages b) Demand for bonus and determination of its payment rate c) Demand for safe and good working conditions d) Demand for higher social security benefits e) improved welfare for labours and other demands
The Industrial disputes Act, 1947 in India is the main legislation for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. This Act outlines when a lock out or strike can be resorted to lawfully, when they can be declared unlawful or illegal, retrenching, laying off conditions, dismissing or discharging and workman, under what circumstances an industrial unit should be closed down and other such matters relating to employer and employees.
The Ministry of Labour administers the Act through its industrial relations division. The division is mainly concerned with dispute settlements and improvement of the institutional framework and also amending labour laws related to industrial relations. The industrial relations division, under the ministry of labour works in co-ordination with central industrial relations machinery closely, to ensure that the nation gets a stable, efficient and dignified workforce which can generate higher levels of output and is free from exploitation. The labour ministry acts a as a scanner and rectifier and works with the support of its agencies to ensure harmony in industrial relations in the nation by monitoring industrial relations, settling industrial disputes by intervention, mediation and conciliation, taking steps to avert lockouts and strikes, preventing illegal lockouts and strikes, implementing awards and settlements, promoting measures to secure and preserve good relations and amity between employee and employer. By avoiding unfair labour practices etc. Disputes are generally sorted out by such machinery formed by the virtue of this Act but in occasional cases when the matter is just not getting settled, it is forwarded to industrial tribunals cum labour courts for adjudication.
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
One serious and distinct hurdle on the path of human development in India has been child labour. A child today is a citizen of tomorrow. Since independence
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