Complying with India’s Labour Laws requires corporates to use 500 crore sheets of paper or 6 lakh trees every year. Adding to this is another 4 lac trees by the Labour Department causing serious damage to the eco-system that we live in. Besides the environmental destruction, the lack of online submissions creates a huge administrative load for employers (e.g. 25 and 45 physical registers for service enterprises and factories respectively) and it does not enable regulatory authorities to cross reference data or apply big data analytics to enforcement. Mandatory paper filing has neither improved the condition of our labour nor ensured better enforcement
More than 800 companies have submitted a petition to the Ministry of Labour, requesting to make all the labour Law compliances under the 44 central Labour Laws 100 percent paperless. The petition appeals to the government to move all employers and employees’ mandatory filing to online over the next 24 months.
Elaborating on the petition Ms. Sonal Arora, Convener of the petition & Assistant Vice President TeamLease Services, said, “Paperless compliance would be an important step for the government’s Digital India program but a massive step for Ease of doing business. India needs formal jobs on a massive scale and reducing the costs of formalization is an important step in making India a fertile habitat for job creation. We hope the government will respond by introducting this administrative change that does not require legislative approval. We also hope that this digitization (going paperless) will be accompanied by automation (presence less) of compliance.”
Currently, the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change needs India to create an additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tones of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover. Moving paperwork online will help us arrest the depletion of our natural resources and contribute to that goal. The adoption will also give the necessary speed to the Prime Minister’s Digital India programme.
Ms. Uma Devaguptapu, Director- HR, Asia-Pac & MEA, Signode Industrial Group, (one of the petitioner) says, “Ignorance of law is no excuse, but it is very difficult to know all the applicable laws and rules. Adding to this is the State to State variations in the compliance formats. Each state mandates a different format under different laws whereas the recipients are common (Factories and Labour department). A consolidated paperless compliance reduces the administrative burden, lowers cost resources and offers a reliable database for the organization itself. It is a low hanging fruit but the most effective step towards improving the enterprise eco-system and there by job creation.”
“Moving the compliance to will cut down the time spend on formalization of compliance like – Storage of information, transportation of data and physical signatures. Tracking and monitoring will be also be very easy and hassle free.” added another member of the petition, Mr. Roshan Zameer, Head HR Compliance, Tech Mahindra Ltd.
Mr. Biren Anshu, AVP, Corporate HR EIH Limited, The Oberoi Group added “The immediate and recurrent challenge on labour law emerges from the fact the laws were enacted pre digital era, whilst compliances are to be done as per today’s business needs and requirement of digital age.”
Nearly 100% of the net job creation over the last two decades has taken place in the informal sector but changes have begun with the smart city, make-in-india and skill India programs. Moving workflows and permissions online will not only substantially improves the lives of job creators but employees, regulators and the environment will also greatly benefit.