Textiles minister, Mr. Santosh Kumar Gangwar said the government has already started working for a change in the labour laws, even as the objectives of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are not being fully met.

“There is a need to change the labour laws in the country and the process has already begun. The objectives of MGNREGA which was introduced for labour welfare are not being met,” Mr. Gangwar said at a Mega MSME Summit in New Delhi yesterday.

Santosh-GangwarThe textiles minister had recently written to Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi requesting that the entire textile sector be linked to MGNREGA. If the proposal is accepted, it will guarantee minimum wages to workers in the textile sector and ensure adequate availability of labour for manufacturers.

The textile industry has been grappling with a shortage of labour during the peak demand season, as many workers prefer to work under MGNREGA scheme that guarantees minimum wages for a minimum 100 days in a year for every household.

Moreover, the draft new National Textiles Policy has also pointed out the need for immediate labour law reforms to draw investments and compete better globally.

“In order to attract large scale investments, acquire global scale and bring the Indian sector at par with other competing countries, there is an immediate need to review the labour laws to make them investor and labour friendly,” draft of the new National Textiles Policy said.

“The present labour laws are one of the major reasons for the modest success in the labour intensive part of the textile value chain in the country especially in comparison to Vietnam and Bangladesh in the recent years,” it added.

The Minister also emphasised the need to develop mega clusters for manufacturing to boost the MSME sector.

“There is a need for developing mega MSME manufacturing clusters. Smaller enterprises should come together for this initiative. Not to forget the fact that skill development should be given utmost importance in accordance with the vision of the Prime Minister,” Mr. Gangwar added.