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`Rigidity of labour laws acting as impediment'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , July 7

THE Economic Survey 2003-04 has said that the rigidities in labour laws are acting as impediments to building large firms and reaping the economies of scale and scope.

It, however, takes note of the fact that the State Governments of Gujarat and Karnataka have proposed to seek relaxations in some provisions of Central laws through State enactments to facilitate special economic zones (SEZs).

The proposed changes are in order to have a separate flexible labour policy for units located in such SEZs.

The Survey also points out that the number of strikes and lockouts has declined sharply during the year, thereby reflecting an overall improvement in industrial relations. According to the Survey, strikes declined from 295 in 2002 to 244 in 2003 and lockouts came down from 284 in 2002 to 245 in 2003.

The reduction in strikes and lockouts was more prominent in the public sector. Among the States, it was West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat that experienced the maximum number of strikes and lockouts.

The total mandays lost on account of strikes and lockouts have declined by 4.80 million. According to the Survey, the mandays lost due to strikes declined by 7.66 million to two million whereas those due to lockouts increased by 3.08 million to 20 million between 2002 and 2003.

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