Agri Business

Centre to review Plantation Labour Act

LN Revathy Coonoor | Updated on September 08, 2014

Rajani Ranjan Rashmi (second left), Additional Secretary, CommerceMinistry, going at an exhibition in organised by UPASI in Coonoor. MSATHYAMOORTHY

The Centre is considering reviewing the Plantation Labour Act to align it with the current practices and development in the industry, according to an official of the Commerce Ministry.

“The Commerce Ministry would like the (Plantation Labour) Act to be reviewed and rationalised. The Plantation Labour Act and the Minimum Wages Act are just a few of the laws that need drastic overhaul,” said Rajani Ranjan Rashmi, Additional Secretary, Commerce Ministry, chairing the Commodity Outlook session at The United Planters’ Association of Southern India.

When planters raised the issue of compulsory routing of tea through auction, he said: “We have to devise a system that works. This cannot be viewed in isolation, but only in keeping with the current scenario.”

The Tea Board has proposed compulsory auction of 70 per cent of teas manufactured by the Bought Leaf Factories. This was proposed in the light of the Madras High Court Order, which asked the Centre and Tea Board to fix a realistic price for green leaf for small growers taking into account the cost of production.

Planters said that it would not be fair to route teas through a compulsory auction system. After hearing the arguments, the Additional Secretary said “there is a need to have a relook at the auction policy. It can be discussed and resolved”. On spices, he said that the Government is planning to allow export of cardamom and formalise the e-auction system in the interest of the trade, to ensure transparency and flexibility of business.

He said that the Ministry would support international trade and quality of commodities, a paramount concern of the Ministry at this juncture.

When his attention was drawn to the Minimum Wages Act , he said “it is for the State Government to impose the Minimum Wages Act. The Ministry has insisted. While I can’t fault the State Government, I can only say that there has been some lapse in different quarters. Minimum wages have to be paid. We are in a dialogue with the Ministry of Labour.”

Published on September 08, 2014

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