August 9, 2016
Pratima Mandal speaks on The Employee’s Compensation Amendment Bill, 2016 in LS
Thank you Deputy Chairman Sir for giving me the opportunity to speak on The Employee’s Compensation Amendment Bill, 2016. This is surely an important initiative since it recognizes the importance of workers employed in any capacity specified in Schedule II of the 1923 Act. It includes factories, mines, construction works and certain other hazardous occupations and seeks to better protect the right of employees’ compensation.
It is revealed in the Bill that every employer shall immediately at the time of employment of the employee inform about his right to compensation under this Act in writing as well as through electronic means in English or Hindi or in official languages of the area of employment. In my opinion it is a very good move and House should appreciate the inclusion of such a good provision.
The Bill also provides for increase in penalty for contravention of the Act of Rs 50000 – from the current Rs 5000 – that may be later raised to Rs 1 lakh. In today’s socio-economic scenario this is a very commendable initiative and we look forward to many such initiatives.
Section 30 of The Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 provides for appeal in High Court whenever the disputed amount of compensation is more than Rs 300. The Bill seeks to raise this to Rs 10000, which may be further increased through a notification later.
The one of the major objective of the Bill is to reduce litigation. The proposed Bill is based on the report of the Law Commission which intends to close more litigation at the level of Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation, appointed by State Government for a particular area.
I would like to mention here that from the reply of the answered Question No 3198 dated 16-03-2015, it is clear that there are a large number of cases pending to be disposed of. You must appreciate, Sir, that many of these people have become incapacitated. So, I would like to request that special provisions – by holding special court or any other means – are undertaken to expedite the cases to help these people.
Sir, I would also like to mention here that from the reply of the answered Question No 6070 dated 30-04-2015, it is mentioned that the reason for delay of giving compensation by different companies is non-submission of requisite documents by the claimants, verification of the genuineness of the claimants, delay in obtaining of the verification report.
In that case company should take all the required documents including health status during the process of employment. I would like to point out here that hardly any companies follow the safety measures to avoid hazardous disease like silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhalation of dust containing silica. The employees working in the coal mines and iron factories also need preventive measures for any sudden accident. I would like to urge that in case the company does not provide the workers with the safety aid, the company should be penalized, this should be taken care of by the Government.
In hazardous environment like coal mine, stone quarry and others the workers must be made aware of the safety measure that they should abide by, there should be surprise audit to check whether they are following them or not. Awareness should also be created through lecture sessions, posters, videos to make them understand what would happen if they do not follow the safety measures. If there is no health insurance it must be made mandatory so that the company provides health insurance scheme to all the employees.
Sir, I would also like to mention here that if there is any death in harness then the company should provide adequate compensation like pension to their employee so they can survive and carry on their life. With these words I on behalf of my party All India Trinamool Congress wholeheartedly support this Bill.