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New Wave in Digitizing Registration, Licenses and Reporting under various Labour Laws in India: The Growing Importance of Shram Suvidha Portal

About the Portal:

The Ministry of Labour & Employment developed a single unified Web Portal in Shram Suvidha Portal (Portal) for online registration of units, reporting of inspections and submissions of annual returns. As an initiative on pilot basis, the Ministry has selected the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) organization, the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) to utilize the portal covering 16 Labour Laws. As of now 8 State Governments and NCR of Delhi have voluntarily adopted registration under the Portal for return filing and filing inspection reports under various labour laws (which also includes returns under the Factories Act, 1948).

Services offered by the Portal:

This integrated portal operates through a common Unique Labour Identification Number (Shram Pehchan Sankhya) for each establishment. The employers are allotted Labour Identification Number (LIN) after registration on web portal. The enforcement agency uploads the data of inspection on the web portal which is updated periodically. This web portal also provides for filing of single harmonized annual return by the employers.

Registration under the following legislations is provided under the Portal:

  1. Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970; [Mandatory]
  2. Building and Other Construction Workers Act 1996; [Mandatory]
  3. Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act 1979; [Mandatory]
  4. Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provision’s Act 1952; and
  5. Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948.

For ease of compliance of Labour Laws, the portal reduces the number of registers to be maintained to 5 in place of 56 registers which were earlier provided under the following central labour/rules:

  1. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
  2. The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970
  3. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  4. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
  5. The Mines Act, 1952
  6. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
  7. The Payment of Wages Act, 1936
  8. The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976
  9. The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955.

Necessary amendments in various rules via the Ease of Compliance to Maintain Registers under various Labour Laws Rules, 2017 were made to give effect to the services of the Portal. The Registers can be maintained in a software available for download at the Portal. Annual Returns under the Factories Act, 1948 for participating states can also be filed online on the Portal.

The Portal also offers self-certification/declaration by start-ups recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under the start-up action plans of various state governments and also the central start-up action plan.

Further Amendments being rolled out to make registration through the Portal mandatory for;

  1. Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970

Vide notification number G.S.R. 829(E) dated September 4, 2018, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has published the Draft Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central (Amendment) Rules, 2018 which states that the registration of principal employer, and the procurement of licence for a contractor are now to be mandatorily done through the Portal.

Apart from this payment of the registration or licence fees, renewal fees etc shall be made by the e-payment system. the Certificate of registration shall also be generated electronically. Further under the notification number S.O. 4259(E) dated September 4, 2018, applications regarding registration and licensing under the said Act must be made online through the Portal till the said draft rules are finalized.

  1. Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979

Changes sought to be made vide the Draft Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Central (Amendment) Rules, 2018 [G.S.R. 830(E) dated September 4, 2018] also make registration through the Portal mandatory. Further under the notification number S.O. 4260(E) dated September 4, 2018 registration through the Portal is mandated till the draft rules are finalized for this legislation as well.

  1. Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996

Similarly, compliances under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 are also made to be mandatorily carried out on the Portal. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Central (Amendment) Rules, 2018 [G.S.R. 828(E) dated September 4, 2018] has been notified to this effect.

Benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana to employers registering through Shram Suvidha:

The Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) Plan Scheme seeks to incentivise employers for generation of new employment. All employees earning wages less than INR 15,000/- are made eligible for this benefit wherein originally, the Government of India (GoI) would pay the employer’s contribution towards the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) for three consecutive years. However, effective from April 1, 2018, GoI will pay the full employer’s contribution under EPS and also Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) for a period of three years for all such employees.

To avail this benefit, it has been made mandatory to obtain registration under EPFO and also have a LIN allotted to the establishment under the Shram Suvidha Portal, the LIN shall be the primary reference number for all communication to be made under the PMRPY Scheme.

Our thoughts:

It is not difficult to foresee that the gradual push towards digitization of labour law compliances is gaining momentum in India, and several incentives are being offered for early adapters of the same.

Author: Mr. Avaneesh Satyang

Sources:

Notifications G.S.R. 828-830(E): https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/Notification%20Regarding%20Online%20Registeration%20and%20Licensing_0.pdf

Notifications S.O. 4259 (E) and 4260 (E): https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/Statutory%20orders%20regarding%20online%20registration%20and%20licensing.pdf

Ease of Compliance to Maintain Registers under various Labour Laws Rules, 2017: https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/Ease%20of%20Compliance%20Rules.pdf

Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana Plan Scheme:

Shram Suvidha Portal: https://shramsuvidha.gov.in/aboutUs.action

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