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Meet Harpal Singh Kumar, the Indian-origin cancer researcher knighted by Queen Elizabeth

The largest Indian-origin representation is among the list of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) which include Rekha Mehr, founder of Indian sweets inspired bakery Pistachio Rose, for services to entrepreneurship and enterprise; Ayesha Hazarika, chief of staff to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, for political service.

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Union Labour Minister rubbishes Rahul Gandhi’s charges, claims government committed to wage security

Responding to the Congress leader’s allegations, Dattatreya said during the last one-and-a-half years, the government has taken concrete steps and new intiatives to strengthen the position of workers.

Rahul Gandhi

A day after Rahul Gandhi alleged that there was deliberate attempt to weaken labour laws, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Sunday said the government is committed to ensuring wage and social security for the workers across the country.”Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations are false and we strongly condemn them. The government is fully committed to ensuring employment security and social security to every worker whether in organised or un-organsied sector,” Labour Minister Dattatreya told reporters here. Addressing the 31st Plenary Session of Congress’ trade union INTUC yesterday, Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making deliberate attempts to weaken labour- related laws which were creating dissatisfaction among the workers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to the Congress leader’s allegations, Dattatreya said during the last one-and-a-half years, the government has taken concrete steps and new initiatives to strengthen the position of workers. “After coming to power, the Narendra Modi government has not only announced a minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month for workers but has also implemented it in perpetuity,” he said. The minister said that the government is also looking at simplifying labour laws and replace 44 such central statutes with four labour codes.

Modi govt deliberately weakening labour laws, alleges Rahul Gandhi

He said that is why the labour laws were being diluted, so that the workers come to his knees.

Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of making deliberate attempts to weaken labour-related laws which was creating dissatisfaction among the workers.Alleging that Modi has launched a “big assault” on the workers, a combative Gandhi vowed to fight their battle like the Congress did for the farmers on the land acquisition bill.”Like we fought for the rights of farmers, we will fight for the cause of the workers and stand with them and would not retreat an inch. We will fight BJP, Modi and RSS,” he said amid applause at the 31st Plenary Session of INTUC, the trade union wing of the Congress. Gandhi said although he agreed with the Prime Minister’s idea of turning India into a global manufacturing centre to make it more competitive than China, the unanimity ends there.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This, he claimed, was because the Prime Minister considers Indian worker as “dishonest, shirker and one who could be made to work only by wielding the stick”. He said that is why the labour laws were being diluted, so that the workers come to his knees. “If you look at the new laws being made in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana, you will see that Modi has started a big assault on workers,” he said.He claimed the Prime Minister feels that there was need to weaken the labour laws and “discipline” the workers so that they could be forced to work. Modi feels that with ‘hire and fire’ policy and weakening of unions, the workers will be made to work, Gandhi claimed.”I do not agree that our worker is either shirker or indisciplined… Our worker is scared. He is scared of his future, the future of his children. The worker is scared whether the job he has today will be there tomorrow. Will the factory gate open for him tomorrow,” the Congress leader said.Insisting that the government should become “judge” between the labourers and the industry and “not advocate” of industry, he told the Prime Minister that if he is able to remove fear from the mind of the workers then India would be able to surpass China in no time.Addressing the gathering, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the “dissatisfaction” of workers with the “anti-labour and unimaginative” economic policies of the NDA government was obvious from the one day general strike observed in the country on September 2.Gandhi’s attack on the Modi dispensation came after INTUC chief G Sanjeeva Reddy accused the government of launching an assault on interests of the labourers in various ways. Reddy alleged that the government was not recognising INTUC as the largest trade union organisation in the country with 3.31 crore members despite “submission of all documents for verification”. Gandhi said Modi had attempted to acquire lands of farmers by promulgating the land ordinance thrice but Congress MPs resisted and ensured that it was not done. He alleged that now the Prime Minister’s attempt is to break the safety net for workers which was built over decades by the Congress when it was in power.Claiming that whosoever was advising the Prime Minister on labour matters was “wrongly advising” him, Gandhi said the workers would take India to greater heights if their “pain” is removed. Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, the Congress vice-president said “these are days of Twitter and selfies” and Modi has a penchant for using new words and phrases.He assured the INTUC leadership that he would accommodate their representatives in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assemblies as also in the ministries so that the issues of labour get their due attention. Former Prime Minister Singh said that in the name of structural labour reforms, attempts are being made to reduce the scope for secure industrial jobs in favour of contract labour and ‘hire and fire’ approach.”It is generally agreed that we need at least 500 million skilled workers by 2022. The actual pace on the ground is only a fraction of this target,” he said. At the same time, he said that industrial strife, strikes and lockouts are “not the best means” to resolve unrest. “We must enlarge the available space for resolving industrial problems through peaceful dialogue involving all the stake holders of the tripartite process namely workers, industry and government.”He said the trade union movement has to be made aware that at present Indian economy faces a fragile recovery and inadequate expansion of employment opportunities and public enterprises face an uncertain future.

Winter Session: Amendment bills on child labour, payment bonus to be tabled in Parliament

Speaking to reporters after the foundation laying ceremony of a 100-bedded ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) hospital the minister also said discussions were over with the stakeholders for the Amendment of Minimum Wage Act and soon will be place before the Cabinet.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Saturday said two amendment bills pertaining to child labour and payment of bonus may be placed next week in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament.Speaking to reporters after the foundation laying ceremony of a 100-bedded ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) hospital the minister also said discussions were over with the stakeholders for the Amendment of Minimum Wage Act and soon will be place before the Cabinet.”We will be placing the two Bills related to Child Labour Act and Bonus Amendment Act in the Parliament hopefully next week. We have given notice to the Parliament members also. After discussion they will be hopefully passed,” Dattatreya said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The union cabinet has already approved the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 and Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015. On the Minimum Wage Act of 1948, he said they have finished discussions with all the departments and ministries concerned. The Ministry has also completed the “tripartite” meeting.”National Floor Level minimum wage was earlier just Rs 135. Later it was increased to Rs 165. Many labour unions are demanding that it should be Rs 15,000 per month. Keeping in view the financial situation prevailing in the country, we will take decision,” he said, adding that the minimum wage that would be announced soon would be “respectable” to all.Next week, the issue will be discussed in the cabinet and final call likely to be taken. The amendment would then be placed before the Parliament for discussion and subsequent passage. Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mahamood Ali and Home Minister N Narasimha Reddy also spoke during the Foundation Laying ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II may face legal challenge over Koh-i-noor diamond

The legal action coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK this week, which includes a lunch hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
File Photo
Getty Images
A lobby group made up of Indian businessmen and actors is mounting a legal challenge against Queen Elizabeth II demanding the return of the world famous Koh-i-noor diamond to India.The 105-carat stone, believed to have been mined in India nearly 800 years ago, was presented to Queen Victoria during the Raj and is now set in a crown belonging to the Queen’s mother on public display in the Tower of London. David de Souza, co-founder of the Indian leisure group Titos, is helping to fund the new legal action and has instructed British lawyers to begin High Court proceedings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Koh-i-Noor is one of the many artefacts taken from India under dubious circumstances. Colonisation did not only rob our people of wealth, it destroyed the country’s psyche itself. It brutalised society, traces of which linger on today in the form of mass poverty, lack of education and a host of other factors,” De Souza told ‘Sunday Telegraph’.The legal action coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK this week, which includes a lunch hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Koh-i-Noor, which means “mountain of light”, was once the largest cut diamond in the world and had been passed down from one ruling dynasty to another in India.But after the British colonisation of the Punjab in 1849, the Marquess of Dalhousie, the British governor-general, arranged for it to be presented to Queen Victoria. The last Sikh ruler, Duleep Singh, a 13-year-old boy, was made to travel to Britain in 1850 when he handed the gem to Queen Victoria.The British law firm instructed by the campaigners, calling themselves the Mountain of Light group, told the newspaper it would be basing its case on principles enshrined in British law that give institutions the power to return stolen art.Bhumika Singh, a Bollywood actress backing the campaign, said: “Koh-i-Noor is not just a 105-carat piece of stone. It has a lot of history and culture attached to it, and undoubtedly should be returned to India.”The campaign has found support in Britain with the likes of Labour party Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz, who said: “What a wonderful moment it would be, if when PM Modi finishes his visit, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return.” The British government has previously rejected all demands for the return of Koh-i-Noor, and in 2013 British Prime Minister David Cameron while on a visit to India, defended Britain’s right to keep it saying he did not believe in “returnism”.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya wants states to implement law for construction workers

The Supreme Court on various occasions has been expressing serious concern and displeasure with regard to the “poor implementation” of the Act.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya

dna Research & Archives
Concerned about poor implementation of the Act on construction workers, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has asked states to ensure that state advisory committees under the law meet once in 3 months. SACs advice states on matters related to administration of legislations that are referred to them.”Kindly ensure that state advisory committee (SAC) in your state/UT meet once in every three months and take proactive role in implementation of the welfare schemes under the Act,” Dattatreya said in his letters to the Chief Ministers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has been noticed that SACs are not meeting regularly on account of which the implementation of the Act has suffered further,” he said.The Labour Ministry had directed states/UTs to constitute SACs through an order issued on October 23, 2015 as they play very important role in the implementation of the Building and Other Construction workers Act 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act 1996.The Supreme Court on various occasions has been expressing serious concern and displeasure with regard to the “poor implementation” of the Act.It has observed that considerable amount of cess at the disposal of states/UTs is being poorly utilised and the benefits under stipulated under the scheme are not being given to the building and other construction workers.The Act provides for regulating the employment and conditions of service of building and other construction workers and also provides for their safety, health and welfare measures and other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.Under this law, every employer is required to pay the cess at the rate of 1 per cent of the cost of construction to the state/UTs welfare board. The collected funds are used for welfare of these workers. About Rs 21,000 crore is lying idle with these welfare boards of different states/UTs.

Modi government bats for new comprehensive law on human trafficking

The affidavit also said the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) will set up a standing committee to handle the issue.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that instead of amending certain provisions in existing statutes, there was a need for a “comprehensive legislation” to tackle all aspects of human trafficking.The Ministry of Women and Child Development, which along with National Legal Services Authority, was hailed by the court for their efforts to deal with the issue of prevention of trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation, their rescue and rehabilitation, told the bench headed by Justice AR Dave that there was a need to have a separate law.”…During the course of further discussions, some members mentioned that the amendment proposed to the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) is confined to defining sexual exploitation only.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This does not appear to be sufficient as other forms of exploitation may also be covered under the Acts administered by other Ministries such as Home Affairs, Labour and Employment, Indian Overseas Affairs, Health and External Affairs.”Thereupon, it was unanimously felt that a comprehensive legislation to tackle all aspects of trafficking should be considered…,” the Centre said in its affidavit filed before the bench that also comprised Justices MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph.Referring to a recent Central Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting of states and UTs, it also said a decision to notify Standard operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with trafficking has been taken. The CAC, which will now meet once in a three months, also decided that “MHA will issue guidelines on safe repatriation of victims of trafficking”.The affidavit, filed in pursuance of court’s order in a PIL on the issue of girls’ trafficking, also said the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)will set up a standing committee, having representatives of ministries Home Affairs, Labour and Employment, Indian Overseas Affairs, Health and External Affairs, NALS and some NGOs to deal with the issue.”The standing committee will prepare a plan of action covering amendments to Laws/ITPA, standardisation of SOPs, mechanism to control trafficking and other issues discussed. To begin with, the standing committee will meet once in a month…,” it said.

CM Anandiben Patel invokes past cases of caste-based riots in Gujarat

The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Thursday ticked off Patel community leader Hardik Patel for being oblivious about the caste and community-based riots that had charred the state in the past and appealed to people to avoid a potential “class conflict”.”We have to live with each other in the cities and in villages. There should not be any unnecessary tension in the society which results in class conflict. We have witnessed the results of such tensions in the past (in Gujarat). But these 25 or 30-year-old youths do not know anything as they have not seen that era of Gujarat,” Patel said without taking name of Hardik who is steering the quota agitation for Patidar community.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CM’s statement came against the backdrop of members of Patel community stepping up their agitation and implementing “economic boycott” by withdrawing their deposits from banks.”I have seen what happened in 1967, many of you must have seen what happened in 1985 and we have also seen what happened in year 1987,” she said referring to caste and community-based riots that had troubled Gujarat.The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.”We do not want to deprive any of the communities from the fruits of development. We have to make attempts to instill peace in Gujarat. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of castes or creeds,” she said. She also hit out at the agitators who resorted to violence and vandalised private and public property last month after Hardik Patel’s rally in Ahmedabad.”Gujarat has achieved this development not because of government, but with the cooperation of six crore people of the state. Labour is needed for that. Labour is needed for development, but for destructing something, nothing much required,” she said.”When a road is being constructed, labour is needed, when a house is being made, labour is needed in that also…when somebody has to run his household then labour is needed…but people who only do damage or vandalise, they do not need to do anything,” the CM added.The CM also chided leaders of Patel quota stir for calling Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as their ideal.”Sardar Patel had done that (work of instilling peace and unity) only. Otherwise merger of more than 400 erstwhile princely states could not have become possible. If that had not been done, what would have been the situation of Gujarat today,” she asked.”That time Sardar Patel had united the country and we are following footsteps of Sardar Patel. There cannot be a rift between communities in Gujarat at all,” the CM said.Anandiben stressed that there is no discrimination against members of any community in the state.”Why should there be a rift between communities. All of them are getting their rights. All are getting water in all villages. If roads are constructed, all are walking on it. If schools are opened, children of all the communities study there. There is no discrimination in that,” she said.She also dismissed as “humbug” Hardik’s statements that students of general category fail to secure admission in medical and engineering colleges because of the reservation system.”The state government is working to give people their rights whatever they deserve. They all have a faith in government. This government does not want to do injustice to anybody. Nobody comes and says what kind of injustice is done to them. Only humbug talks are being done outside. Everybody gets admission in engineering, even seats remain unclaimed,” the CM said.”There are 3,250 medical seats and admissions are given as per norms. But if some poor students cannot afford to get admission in those faculties then government is ready to help such students,” she said.The CM said government opens new colleges to accommodate students.”Every year government opens around ten to twelve new colleges,” she added.

dna Must Read at 6 pm: Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son, Al Qaeda calls for murder, Modi to visit Facebook HQ and more

Here are 5 top stories on dnaindia.com at 6 pm.

dna must reads at 6 pm

dna webdesk
Here are 5 top stories on dnaindia.com at 6 pm.1) Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son Pravin caught with Rs 4.65 lakh cash: Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son Pravin Manjhi was detained by police in Jehanabad on Sunday while carrying Rs 4.65 lakh in cash. Currently, the model code of conduct is effective in the state after the Election Commission announced poll dates for the upcoming assembly elections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri urges lone wolf terror attacks in US: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on young Muslim men in the United States and other Western countries to carry out attacks inside those countries and urged greater unity between militants.3) PM Modi to visit Facebook headquarters, announces Mark Zuckerberg: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the Facebook headquarters for a Townhall question and answer meeting on September 27, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced through his official FB profile.4) Ravi Shastri to continue as India team director till Twenty20 World Cup: Former captain Ravi Shastri will continue in his role as India’s team director until next year’s World Twenty20 at home, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Sunday.5) Five things you need to know about UK Labour Party’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn: Jeremy Corbyn is being seen as the most unexpected winners of the Labour Party leadership in the party’s history. A vowed socialist and Karl Marx admirer, Corbyn was elected as the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday.

Kids trafficked from Bihar forced to work in Central government-run institutions in Delhi

On Thursday evening, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a non-governmental organisation, conducted a raid and rescue operation along with the labour department and Delhi Police and rescued three children in the process.

Children, aged between 10 and 15 years, were rescued from a canteen of an institute run by the ministry of health and family welfare, where they were allegedly working as child labourers after being trafficked from Bihar earlier this year.On Thursday evening, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a non-governmental organisation, conducted a raid and rescue operation along with the labour department and Delhi Police and rescued three children in the process.The raid was carried at three eateries in Civil Lines area after authorities received a tip-off from a ‘concerned citizen’. One of the places to be raided turned out to be a canteen in National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of the BBA said that the NCDC is a joint collaboration between the ministry of health and family Welfare and the US department of health and human service, represented by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The government of India is represented by NCDC in the collaboration.It was revealed that the rescued victims of child labour were not even paid one third of the amount they were promised and were made to work for 12 hours a day with no breaks. According to BBA one of the rescued kid, a resident of Madhubani in Bihar, was brought to Delhi by one of the natives of his village on the pretext of getting him a job. “He was studying in his school when he was trafficked. He told us that he had come to study and earn some money to be able to pay off the medical bills of his ailing brother back in Madhubani,” said Rakesh Singer, project director, BBA. According to him the boy used to cook, clean tables, do the dishes and serve food to the entire office. Officials also said that NCDC had its own stringent rules for watching who enters and exits the office.”The operation was not easy to carry out, the identification of the victims itself took up a lot of time. Some of the people in the office came to us to ask our whereabouts and accused us for taking away their worker” said an activist of BBA who was a part of the raid conducted on Thursday.The victims were all immediately produced before CWC, Kingsway Camp after which they were taken to BBA’s transitory rehabilitation centre — MuktiAshram.The complaint has been made against the contractor of the canteen under section 370 of the IPC, 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act and section 16 of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act.Officials speaking to dna said that it was ‘extremely unfortunate to see government-run institutions breaking laws so brazenly. “We suspect that there are many more such cases and we will be launching a crackdown on such institutions,” said the official.

Maneka Gandhi wants working women to get 8 months maternity leave

The ministry has also asked the Labour ministry that the maternity benefit provisions to working women both in organised and unorganised sectors .

The ministry’s maternity leave proposal suggests one month leave before delivery and seven months post delivery.

File Photo
Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi wants to raise maternity leave to eight months from three months, reports a leading daily. The Ministry has sent the proposal to the Cabinet Secretariat for a discussion in the Committee of Secretaries.”This matter was taken up by our minister with the Prime Minister and he is also very interested, so we are sending a copy to him,” Nutan Guha Biswas, WCD additional secretary said to the daily. The ministry has also asked the Labour ministry that the maternity benefit provisions to working women both in organised and unorganised sectors .<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry’s maternity leave proposal suggests one month leave before delivery and seven months post delivery.

Trade unions on strike today, essential services may be hit

Though post this meeting the government appealed to unions to not go ahead with the strike only Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, an RSS affiliate, acquiesced, earning the ire of other unions and rights groups.

Bank workers take out a torch rally in Bhopal on Tuesday in support of the strike to protest aganist the proposed labour reforms

PTI
The country will wake up to a general strike by workers in all informal sectors on Wednesday, due to the collapse of the talks between the central government and trade unions representing this workforce. A call for the nation-wide strike was given despite the Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting on August 27 between Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, minister of state for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya, minister of state for power Piyush Goyal, among others to discuss further the charter of 12 demands given to them by central trade unions.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though post this meeting the government appealed to unions to not go ahead with the strike only Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, an RSS affiliate, acquiesced, earning the ire of other unions and rights groups.The unions and rights groups have slammed the government for not committing itself to minimum wage and social security for informal sector workers, which according to NSSO data as 92 per cent of India’s working class. Of this only 11 per cent are regular waged/ salaried workers and 89 per cent are self employed or casual workers.The demands made by the groups for these workers include ensuring minimum Rs 15,000 as monthly floor wage and make it statutorily binding, need for health care, inclusion under the Awas Yojana, rehabilitation of bonded labourers, regulation of working hours for domestic workers, food security, unemployment allowance, at least Rs 3,000 monthly pension for the entire workforce, among many others. They also opposed the 2015 labour reforms including amendments to the Factories Act that removes a large number of workers from its protection, the proposed Small Factories Bill that will remove the right to strike and form unions for workers in small factories, and the dilution of labour rights under the proposed Industrial Relations Code which would replace all other rules governing large establishments.The central government through the inter-ministerial committee meet has tried giving many assurances to unions, such as “appropriate legislation for making formula based minimum wages mandatory “, coverage of social security to construction workers, ASHA workers etc, tripartite consultations on labour reforms in the centre and the state, etc. However, the Central Trade Unions have point by point rejected and refuted these assurances calling them government propaganda.They have demanded minimum wage for all as per 44th ILC decision, not less than Rs15,000 per month, Same wages and other benefits to contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work, and scrapping the recently passed amendments to labour laws in states such as Rajasthan.Addressing the press on the eve of the strike on Tuesday, rights group, under the umbrella of the Working People’s Charter, criticised the government for having diluted the process of consultation among workers and master and the bureaucracy in the Indian Labour Conference. They called the strike ‘historic”, as it was the first time unorganised workers have come together to voice their demands.Meanwhile, the BMS has defended itself saying that its last minute withdrawal from the strike was “because we want to give government some time”. Virjesh Upadhyay, BMS general secretary, said, “On four-five issues, including minimum wages, social security expansion, bonus and EPF, the government is taking historic decisions.” It refuted that the reason was its affiliation to the ruling BJP.

Centre releases Rs 2,000 crore for Employees’ Pension Scheme

The contribution of central government is calculated at a rate of 1.16 per cent of the monthly wages of the members contributing to the scheme.

Centre has released Rs 2,000 crore to Employees’ Pension Scheme as its contribution for the year 2015-16, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya said on Monday.This contribution is in addition to the Rs 250 crore contributed by the government as grant-in-aid in the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 for providing minimum pension of Rs 1,000 to pensioners under the scheme, the Minister said in a statement.The contribution of central government is calculated at a rate of 1.16 per cent of the monthly wages of the members contributing to the scheme. It is in addition to the contribution made by employers covered under the Act. Employers contribute 8.33 per cent of the monthly wages of the scheme members.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since last September, EPS pensioners have been assured of a guaranteed minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month and it has been necessary to infuse additional amount as grants-in-aid by the Centre to sustain the continuance of the minimum pension.

Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya trapped in lift, rescued

Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and others got stuck in a lift of a building in Kachiguda area in Hyderabad on Sunday, following which they were rescued by police.

Bandaru Dattatreya

dna Research & Archives
Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and others got stuck in a lift of a building in Kachiguda area in Hyderabad on Sunday, following which they were rescued by police.The incident occurred after the minister had entered the lift to reach the venue where he was scheduled to attend a book launch function by VHP, his close aide said.”He (Dattatreya), along with others, was in the lift for four minutes before he was brought out,” the aide said. Dattatreya could come out only after the police personnel forcibly opened the doors of the lift which got stuck between two floors due to power failure.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The incident caused jitters among officials. Meanwhile, Dattatreya held meeting with Telangana minister for Labour, N Narasimha Reddy and discussed issues related to the illegal workers staying in Gulf countries.

Trapped in the gutter: The street cleaner with four degrees

The street cleaner who holds four degrees

New labour policy pitches for 9000 pay and social security for house helps

The ‘National Policy for Domestic Workers’ is likely to be presented before the Union Cabinet soon.

Those hiring a full-time domestic help may soon have to pay them a minimum salary of Rs9000 per month, compulsory paid leave of 15 days a year, and maternity leave to boot. To safeguard the interest of domestic workers, the NDA government is readying a national policy incorporating these features, besides a host of benefits, including social security cover and provisions against sexual harassment and bonded labour. The ‘National Policy for Domestic Workers’ is likely to be presented before the Union Cabinet soon.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Domestic servants, who stare at an uncertain future when they grow weak with age and are thrown out of their job, will now have the cushion of a social security scheme under which the employer will have a mandatory contribution. The policy envisages the right to domestic helps to pursue education, a safe work environment and a mechanism for redress of their grievances. Workers and employers will also have the right to form groups and engage with each other for ‘collective bargaining’.A draft note in this regard, prepared by the Director General Labour Welfare (DGLW), was submitted to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya last week.”The Domestic Workers Policy has to be framed. Domestic workers are also subjected to exploitation and therefore the welfare and protection of domestic labour force is very important,” said Dattatreya.”The policy framework is on par with the standards of the International Labour Organisation. India has adopted the ILO convention on domestic workers and therefore we have to make a policy for this segment of the society,” he said.Once the policy takes effect, it will be mandatory for the employer, the employee and the intermediary agency that connects the two, to enter into a tripartite agreement, which will have legal sanctity. The draft policy recommends minimum monthly wage for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly-skilled categories of the domestic workers.”Highly-skilled and those giving full-time service should be eligible to get a salary of at least Rs 9,000 per month,” an official said, adding the policy seeks to empower domestic workers by making this large workforce a services industry over time.

Govt working on proposal to raise minimum wages

Last month, the Centre had revised National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMU) upwards from Rs 137 to Rs 160 per day with effect from July 1, 2015.

Ministry has not worked out the quantum of increase in the minimum wages as the proposal is still at a discussion stage

File Photo
The government is working on a proposal to raise minimum wages of workers, a top Labour Ministry official on Tuesday said. “The discussion is on in the ministry to increase minimum wages. Ultimately, we want to have a level of wages which is in conformity with the parameterise suggested by the 2nd Labour Commission, Indian Labour Conference and erstwhile Planning Commission,” Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal said. However, Aggarwal said that the ministry has not worked out the quantum of increase in the minimum wages as the proposal is still at a discussion stage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, the Centre had revised National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMU) upwards from Rs 137 to Rs 160 per day with effect from July 1, 2015. In order to have a uniform wage structure and to reduce the disparity in minimum wages across the country, National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMU) is fixed and also requires to be revised from time to time on the basis of rise in Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW). The NFLMU was last revised from Rs 115 to Rs 137 per day with effect from July 1, 2013.The states also fix minimum wages to be paid by them to various categories of workers include unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers from time to time. According to the Suresh Tendulkar methodology, the all-India poverty line in terms of consumption expenditure would amount to about Rs4,080 per month in villages and Rs5,000 per month in cities in 2011-12. Which means that this is the bare minimum which was required for family of five in 2011-12, to meet certain basic needs like calorie intake, health, and education among others.The erstwhile Planning Commission has been following this methodology which factors in calorie intake, spending on education and health required for fixing a poverty line. The Second National Labour Commission also said that there shall not be any linkage of wage with productivity as production and productivity are the results of many inputs like machines, capital, raw materials, land and others, of which labour is only one. “Productivity is not merely labour productivity. So the commission shall recommend that no minimum wage to be linked with productivity and beyond minimum wages productivity shall be a subject for negotiation with Unions.” The 46th Indian Labour Conference held last month has recommended that wages definition should be uniform for all labour laws.

Government considering social security net for domestic help, says Labour ministry

The Labour Ministry is working on a new policy framework to provide social security coverage to domestic help and a proposal in this regard would be moved to Cabinet soon, an official said.

Bandaru Dattatreya

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The Labour Ministry is working on a new policy framework to provide social security coverage to domestic help and a proposal in this regard would be moved to Cabinet soon, an official said.A presentation on the same has also been made to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya a week ago.”We are working on it, it is at a very advanced stage. We made a presentation to the Labour Minister also a week ago. The contours of the policy is that we are trying to bring the domestic workers under the fold of organised workers,” a senior Labour Ministry official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the official, a proposal would be moved to the Cabinet in about a fortnight.”Once the framework is finalised, it will be brought to the cabinet. The cabinet note can be moved in about a fortnight,” said the official.When asked about the new policy, the Labour Minister said that his ministry wants to bring domestic workers under regulation and give them social security benefits because they work under very different and difficult conditions.”We have to consider about their working conditions, their working hours and about their wages. Specially we want to give women security about their job prospects, decent working as well as living condition,” the official said.The official added that domestic workers too should have the right to bargain and they equally deserve social security benefits.But the official made it clear that domestic workers will have to abide by the rules framed under the new policy and they just cannot leave a job as and when they wish to do so.”That will not be possible. If you have to get some benefits then you have to come under some regulation. They have to be organised, they have to be under a system,” said the official.

Satyarthi to soon launch global campaign against child labour

Satyarthi was speaking at the first K R Naraynan Memorial Lecture organised by the varsity on ‘Child Labour: A Human Rights violation and an impediment in economic growth’.

Kailash Satyarthi

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Nobel Peace Prize winner and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi on Monday said he will soon be launching his “most ambitious and longest-ever” campaign against child labour. “I am planning to launch my most ambitious campaign against child labour soon. 100 million people from across the globe will be joining. “I would like all of you young people to join me in this campaign and become voice for the voiceless,” he said while addressing students at Jawaharlal Nehru University.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Satyarthi was speaking at the first K R Naraynan Memorial Lecture organised by the varsity on ‘Child Labour: A Human Rights violation and an impediment in economic growth’. “There are 168 million child labourers across the world involved in making various products like the clothes you are wearing, shoes, bags, chocolates and so many other things.Unknowingly or knowingly you are using these products,” the Nobel laureate said. He further said that it is useless to talk about globalisation of markets, communication and economy if no efforts were made to globalise human compassion. Recalling winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, he said his purpose of handing over the prize to President Pranab Mukherjee was to make every Indian citizen feel the responsibility of holding the reputed prize. “Nobel Peace prize is not mine. It belongs to the most vulnerable and exploited children who are forced into prostitution and worst forms of labour. I handed over the prize to the one billion people of India so that they feel the responsibility towards these children,” he said.

Have not received notice from trade unions for strike on September 2: Govt

However, All India Trade Unions Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said the declaration of the central trade unions” convention held on May 26 was given to the Labour Secretary and it had details about demands and call for strike on September 2.

Government said it has knowledge about the central trade unions’ call for strike on September 2 but not received any notice in this regard, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.”Government has not received any notice for strike on September 2. However, it is learnt that the central trade unions have proposed strike for that day,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.However, All India Trade Unions Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said the declaration of the central trade unions” convention held on May 26 was given to the Labour Secretary and it had details about demands and call for strike on September 2. He further said the respective unions of different organisations give notice under the Industrial Dispute Act at least 15 days prior to the day of strike.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They cannot say that government does not have notice about the strike on September 2. They have sufficient knowledge about it as they discussed it in inter-ministerial panel on labour issues headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and even in 46 Indian Labour Conference concluded yesterday,” he added.However, the minister admitted the government has received certain demands from the central trade unions which include taking urgent measures to contain price rise and unemployment.The central trade unions” have been discussing their 12-points charter of demands and protested against certain labour law amendments which they claim are not in the interest of workers at different fora with government.

India raises social security, market acess, visa issue with US

India wants early conclusion of the totalisation agreement or Social Security Agreement with the US.

India-US flags
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India on Tuesday pressed for setting up a high-level committee to look into a range of issues including American Totalisation and non-tariff barrier, as also the Social Security Act that discriminates Indians working in the US. Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia flagged these issues during her meeting with US Deputy USTR Ambassador Robert Holleyman here. She highlighted the “need for setting up a High Level Group to discuss India”s concerns on US Totalisation and Social Security Act (how the policy was discriminatory towards Indian worker’s in the US who ended up losing their social security contributions due to discrepancy in the visa and social security regimes, also indicating recourse to legal remedies),” an official statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Teaotia also raised the issue of high visa costs in the US which is impacting Indian IT professionals working there. Market Access issues of agrarian products including rice, mangoes, pomegranates and table grapes also figured in the discussion, it said. It also said that US Department of Labour listing of textile products is acting as a non-tariff barrier and has impacted exports of certain textile products to the US. “…(it) is applicable only to countries that are not signatory to the Government Procurement Agreement,” it said. The commerce secretary also suggested a separate working group to discuss the issue of market access for Indian pharmaceuticals and traditional AYUSH pharmacopeia and professionals. India wants early conclusion of the totalisation agreement or Social Security Agreement with the US. It aims to protect interests of professionals of Indian-origin who contribute more than US $1 billion each year to the US social security. Under this pact, professionals of both the countries would be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country. On the other hand, the Deputy USTR proposed a range of issues for collaboration on standards and manufacturing. Holleyman is here for an inter-ministerial discussion to deliberate on the agenda setting, modalities and dates for convening the next round of the ministerial level meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in the US, by the end of October. The issues that are likely to be taken up for discussion at the next TPF meeting from both sides were also deliberated at length, it said. US side has been requested for issue specific details for consideration under the TPF, it said adding WTO Issues and Trade Facilitation issues were also discussed briefly. The US-India TPF is an inter-agency collaboration led by the USTR. It is the principal trade dialogue between the countries. It has five focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Innovation and Creativity (intellectual property rights), Services, and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers. At present, bilateral trade is US $64.26 billion in 2014-15. Also Read: 90,000 Indian students apply for US visa, 4,000 make the cut

Changes in labour laws will be made only with consensus: PM Modi

Addressing the 46th Indian Labour Conference, he said there is a thin line that separates the interest of workers and their unions and the same should be respected.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 46th Session of Indian Labour Conference, in New Delhi on Monday.

PTI
Facing resistance to labour reforms from within, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said changes in the laws will be made only after consensus and stressed that “obsolete and unnecessary” laws are being weeded out.Addressing the 46th Indian Labour Conference, he said there is a thin line that separates the interest of workers and their unions and the same should be respected.”Efforts would be made to modify labour laws through consensus,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the consultation process with trade unions would continue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi further said that the “obsolete and unnecessary” laws were being weeded out as part of the government’s objective to achieve “minimum government and maximum governance”.The government has set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to evolve a consensus on labour reforms. The first meet, which was held yesterday, failed to make any substantive headway.Talking about different interest groups, Modi said that there was a thin line dividing the interest of industry and industrialists, government and nation, and labour and labour organisations.Often, one talks about saving the industry but ends up protecting industrialists, he said, adding that there is a need to recognise this thin line and adopt a balanced approach to the deal with the issues and change the environment.Jaitley in his address warned of a threat to job creation if investments were blocked and appealed to the trade unions not to persist with ideas that harm economic activity.”If we stop the fountain of investment, then employment will not increase, then economic activity will also not increase. And it becomes a threat to existing jobs,” he said.Reflecting signs of discord, National President of the BJP-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) B N Rai attacked government for pursuing “few wrong policies” and stressed the trade unions will not allow reforms “at the cost of labour”.BMS, one of the biggest trade unions in the country, also demanded withdrawal of the industry-friendly factories Act enacted by BJP-ruled Rajasthan government as also the new labour laws by the Centre. Modi expressed concern that the number of apprentices in the country is very low and asked the industry to provide more opportunities to them to increase their numbers from 3 lakh to at least 20 lakh.The number of apprentices in China is 2 crore, Japan – 1 crore and Germany – 30 lakh as against only 3 lakh in India, he said.”If we want to move ahead, we need to give opportunities to our youth. Giving opportunities to apprentices is the need of the hour,” Modi said, adding that there is a need to focus on people who are unemployed.The Prime Minister underlined the need for encouraging and recognising innovations at every level by the industry as well as the government.”Nobody recognises the capacity of labourers to innovate. I have to change this atmosphere,” he said.Modi said the government, industry and trade unions would have to think about ways to improve respect for workers.The government would give certificates to workers having traditional skills as part of the initiatives to recognise their importance, he added.Observing that country cannot remain happy if labourers are unhappy, Modi said they contribute immensely for nation building and businesses cannot run properly in absence of cordial relation between workers and employers.The Prime Minister also expressed concern over the lack of respect for the workers in Indian society.”There is a wrong habit which has crept in, we do not respect our labour enough, he said,” adding that the law is needed for those who do not treat labour as fellow human beings.He also made a case for simplification of the labour laws which currently are complex and can be interpreted by all stakeholders for their own benefit.”It is my effort to simplify the laws so that even the poorest are able to understand their rights and avail them,” Modi said.The Prime Minister said that he has seen poverty and does not need to take camera persons to see poverty.”I have seen and experienced poverty, I do not need to go somewhere with a cameraman to know about poverty,” Modi said.

Will carry out labour reforms through consensus with trade unions: PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: With labour reforms facing stiff resistance from trade unions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said changes in the laws will be carried out through consensus and in consultation with them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Inaugurating the 46th Indian Labour Conference, he said “changes in the labour laws will be made with the concurrence of the unions and the consultation process will continue”.

The government has set up a high-level inter-ministerial committee under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to hold discussions with the unions on issues concerning labour. The committee held its first meeting yesterday during which host of labour related issues were discussed.

Talking about different interest groups, Modi said that there was a thin line dividing the interest of industry and industrialists, government and nation, and labour and labour organisations.

Often one talks about saving the industry but end up protecting industrialists, he said, adding there was a need to recognise this thin line and adopt a balanced approach to the deal with the issues and change the environment.

The Prime Minister also regretted that the number of apprentices in the country was very low and asked the industry to provide more opportunities to them with a view to increase their numbers from three lakh to at least 20 lakh.

The number of apprentices in China is two crore, Japan one crore and Germany 30 lakh as against only three lakh in India, he said.

“If we want to move ahead, we need to give opportunities to our youth. Giving opportunities to apprentices is the need of the hour,” Modi said, adding there was a need to focus on people who are unemployed.

Raising the labour issues, BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh president and Vice-Chairman of 46th ILC, B N Rai said that rapid economic growth should not be at the cost of the workers.

PTI

PM Modi to inaugurate 46th Indian Labour Conference today

The Conference is likely to witness a stormy session on several issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be inaugurating 46th Indian Labour Conference in the national capital on Monday. The Prime Minister will also dedicate the National Career Service (NCS) portal to the nation and launch health reforms of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation of India (ESIC) on the occasion. The Conference is likely to witness a stormy session on several issues.

Lalit Modi row: Why PM Modi is quiet on Sushma Swaraj, asks opposition

Speaking to a news agency, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, “PM Modi should tell us his thoughts on helping Lalit Modi. Why has Modi ji become ‘maun Modi’?

Opposition parties on Monday questioned why the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is silence on the issue of External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj ‘helping’ scam-tainted former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK.Speaking to a news agency, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, “PM Modi should tell us his thoughts on helping Lalit Modi. Why has Modi ji become ‘maun Modi’?He also said whether the Prime Minister will only do event management, will he only talk about yoga?<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that serious charges have been raised against EAM, CPI-M secretary general Sitaram Yechuri said, “Prime Minister who has been talking about accountability and no corruption is now quiet. How this issue is going to be addressed.” Also read | Lalit Modi row: Prashant Bhushan calls for creation of ‘conflict of interest’ lawExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday admitted that she helped expedite the travel documents of ex-BCCI vice president and former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi, by writing to senior Labour MP Keith Vaz.Meanwhile, the Congress party claimed that there is no need for husband’s sign for operation in Portugal. “Sushma Swaraj acted on humanitarian grounds to facilitate Lalit Modi, who has been accused of laundering several hundred crores. They say it is so that Modi could visit his ailing wife in Portugal and sign papers before the operation is conducted. However, as per Portuguese law, it is not a requirement to obtain the signature of the husband for any surgical operations,” he added.Lalit Modi row: First crisis of ‘impropriety’ for Modi government?However, even though the opposition parties slammed Swaraj and demanded her resignation, Bhartiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Sunday defended Swaraj saying she did no wrong and no moral issue was involved.Swaraj on Sunday admitted that she helped expedite the travel documents of ex-BCCI vice president and former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi, by writing to senior Labour MP Keith Vaz.​She further said that British MP Keith Vaz had spoken to her on the same, adding she believes that giving an Indian citizen ’emergency travel documents’ cannot spoil relations between India and the UK.Also read: Who spilled the beans on Lalit Modi travel documents?

Will enhance punishment for denial of minimum wages: Kejriwal

New Delhi: Lamenting that not a single employer who denied minimum wages to workers has faced jail term, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said his government will bring in a law to enhance punishment for such violations and ensure that it is strictly implemented.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. ReutersWill

Addressing a labour day function at Shalimar Bagh, he launched the Shramik Vikas Mission which includes a slew of programmes for welfare of workers and announced revival of a helpline number 12789 for them.

“No one has gone to jail for not paying minimum wages to the workers even though we celebrate Labour Day every year… Corrupt employers will be finally punished by God after death but Delhi government will punish them before it,” he said.

Kejriwal highlighted the problems faced by the labourers and lack of enforcement of legal provisions to ensure minimum wages to them.

He announced that in July Delhi Assembly will bring about necessary changes in law to enhance the jail term and fine for non-payment of minimum wages to labourers by their employers and contractors.

Under the present law, there is a fine of Rs 500 and a jail term of six months for nonpayment minimum wages.

The Chief Minister also added that his government will open hospitals and schools in slum clusters within a year to cater to the poor and working class.

Delhi Labour minister Gopal Rai said that the city government was taking steps to ensure minimum wages to workers and pensioner benefits to unorganised sector workers under the national pension scheme.

“We are reviving helpline number -12789 ‘mazdoor helpline number’. The number is operational but calls made from some telecom providers are not getting connected so we are talking to the telecom companies and making this helpline functional.

“Through this helpline any worker can call us about non-payment of minimum wages, harassment and discrimination. Their identities will be kept a secret and we will take stringent step against offender,” Rai said.

He also announced that government will conduct inspections and raids to check if minimum wages are paid to the workers.

PTI

Child labour bill will be test of Modi govt’s priorities: Nobel winner Satyarthi

London: A bill currently in the Indian Parliament on child labour totally will be a “test” of the new government on how they take the issues of the most exploited children in their political priority, says child rights campaigner and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

Satyarthi, 61, was referring to an amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act that will lead to a total ban on all forms of child labour up to the age of 14 and ban on worst forms of child labour involving hazardous work up to the age of 18.

“Also, rehabilitation must be ensured in law and only then, the law will be synchronised with the existing international ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions. We are waiting… it would be a test of the present government on how they take the issues of the most exploited children in their political priority,” he said.

Acknowledging some positive steps taken by the Narendra Modi government – that came to power last year, he said: “The present government is taking several bold initiatives on the social agenda, be it Swachh Bharat or Clean India or be it Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. These are very, very fundamental social initiatives which are being taken by the government and the Prime Minister himself, and are quite significant.

“I have spoken to the Prime Minister that while we are striving at making a Clean India or a Prosperous India, it can be sustainable only when we make it a child-friendly India.

Sustainability and protection of children are two sides of the same coin. If we invest in children now, we make society sustainable forever.”

In an interview with PTI during a visit to London to help launch a new Anti-Trafficking Fund by Prince Charles’ British Asian Trust earlier this week, the activist also called on Indians, wherever they are, to go a step further in their support for child rights in India.

“Global Indians can play an important role not only in India but globally. But maybe to begin with, in India because they feel more emotionally connected with Indian society.

“They have to show the leadership in taking risks sometimes despite some of the red-tapism or trust deficit.

They have to go a mile further in identifying the most precious issues because if the largest democracy in the world is having child slavery or (child) trafficking or (child) labour, then we cannot think of a shining image of India,” he noted.

His message for the corporate world was similar ? to develop a culture of social responsibility so that the government does not feel the need to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) a legal requirement.

He said: “Forced CSR could be a beginning but it is not a solution. CSR should be a culture, not an imposition, because social responsibility is something which has to be embedded in corporate behaviour not just through law.

“But since most of the corporates were not willing to listen perhaps led the government to make it (a) law. I’m not against the law but it should be part of their culture. An unethical corporate is not a sustainable corporate. Ethics and social responsibility and profit must go hand in hand.”

In reference to his Nobel win last year, Satyarthi admitted that it had pushed the issue of child rights on to the global agenda.

He said: “Ordinary child rights activists around the world are feeling empowered. I’ve never seen that enthusiasm, spirit and hope as now.

“One reason is that they can associate themselves with me easily, that I am one of the very ordinary activists as they are. Empowerment of the entire child right movement globally is most vital because this was the first time the Nobel Peace Prize was conferred to a child rights person.

“Equally important is that global leaders are listening to such issues through me, which has never happened before. I met President Obama and two weeks ago, (I met) UN secretary- general Ban-Ki moon and they were very supportive of the agenda. They were very open to talk and equally positive in carrying it forward. That gives me more optimism.”

Satyarthi also called on these world leaders to take urgent action on a more holistic approach to children’s rights to freedom and education.

“Denial of education is a violence, denial of health is a violence. Many people may think it’s a development issue but for me, it’s a crime because every child is born as a free child and free to learn.

“I think that we have to re-define the notion of violence against children and try to bring various aspects of abuse and exploitation under one umbrella of violence. So we have to protect our children from all sorts of violence. That’s why governments and UN agencies have to work more closely towards a holistic thinking on such issues,” he said.

Speaking about his adopted “daughter” Malala Yousafzai, also a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, he said they were both working on the same issue.

“She is like my daughter, it’s a known fact in the world and she calls me ‘naya abbu’ (new father). Our connect is more personal. I know that there is a great sense of mutual love and respect among the ordinary people (of India and Pakistan).

I have been working for many, many years in Pakistan as well on the same issues,” he said.

Asked about his views on the strained India-Pakistan relations, he said: “It is a political and diplomatic issue and I have trust in my Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Pakistan to solve the issue.”

PTI

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