National Labour Day kicks off in Odisha capital

Bhubaneswar: The two-day National Labour Conference kicked off at the state capital today.

The conference, jointly organised by state Labor Department and International Labor Organization, was attended by Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patanik.

Addressing the seminar, the Union minister said his ministry has recently taken several initiatives for the benefit of laborers like, extending maternity holiday week from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and a hike in the minimum daily wage of unskilled labourers working in agriculture sector from Rs 160 to Rs 350. “During the conference with the states, implementation issue of these initiatives would be raised”, he added.

In his address, the chief minister said Odisha has been playing an important role in the development of the regulatory framework for the labour sector.

Stating that efforts are on to set up help desks for migrant labourers of Odisha in other states, Patnaik said the state government has decided to set up Odisha Help Desks in five states namely, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Delhi. “I look forward for a positive engagement with these states in this regard,” he hoped.

Talking about child labour, the chief minister said by converging activities of 10 departments, the state government has formulated a state action plan for elimination of child labor practice. “The action plan focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation, education and skill development of the rescued child labourers and prescribes stringent action against the employers,” he added.

While it is for the first time that such a grand conference on labourers is being held in the state, issues of construction labourers, migrant and child labourers would be the focal point of discussion during the meet.

The two-day conference which began today has a seminar on construction laborers. Besides, a regional conference would be held between ministers and officials of five states like Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andamans and Chhattisgarh in the afternoon.

The conference, attended by ministers and chairpersons of labour welfare boards of 29 states, would conclude on Wednesday.