Covid-19 leads to new labour inspection regime

PM Imran says it came to fore during pandemic govt did not have 80% statistics of labourers


Our Correspondent January 16, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the inauguration ceremony of e-bidding, e-billing and GIS mapping system under National Highway Authority. SCREENGRAB

LAHORE:

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has drastically changed the world order and claimed millions of lives already, has resulted in the formation and launch of the new labour inspection regime in Punjab, a move which Prime Minister Imran Khan claims “is a good initiative to help promote small and medium industries, besides strengthening the country's economy”.

“The government noticed during the pandemic that it did not have statistics of more than 80 per cent labourers,” Premier Imran said while presiding over a meeting held to launch the new regime here on Friday.

Special Assistant to Punjab CM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, provincial Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal and others were in attendance.

The prime minister was in the provincial capital on a day-long visit and chaired separate meetings on the situation of agriculture, economic development as well as law and order situation in Punjab.

Punjab labour secretary briefed the prime minister during the meeting.

PM Imran directed Punjab Labour Minister Ansar Majeed Khan Niazi to ensure protection of labourers’ rights under the new labour regime, saying that there should be no compromise in this regard.

PM Imran directed the provincial government to “ensure that data of labourers is registered so that no one can exploit them”.

He stressed the need for the Punjab government to take steps under the new regime to overcome child labour and implement such reforms which help avoid accidents in factories.

“The registration process of small and medium industries should be made easy so that the government could have maximum data of workers,” Imran said.

Under the new regime, role of the labour inspector has been minimised. The government will now be able to do real time inspection of industries and would monitor the inspections done by government officials.

During the last two years, the Punjab Labour Department issued more than 173,000 social security cards as per the vision of PM Imran, which helped in providing economic protection to the labourers.

Seven new hospitals and 68 schools had been set up to improve the lives of labourers. As many as 1,346 flats had been constructed keeping in view the needs of labourers and the Punjab government was giving subsidy in this regard.

In last two years, the labour department had issued more than Rs3 billion under scholarship head and Rs2 billion for marriage grant to ease the financial burden of workers.

Separately, the prime minister met Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and discussed the overall situation of the province. The meeting focused on the pace of development projects in Punjab.

In another meeting regarding increasing agricultural productivity and value chains in the province, the prime minister said the promotion and development of the agriculture sector on modern lines is the government's foremost priority, as the country's 60% population is involved in this field.

He directed the provincial government to formulate a separate comprehensive action plan for value chain of every agricultural product to improve productivity and capacity.

The prime minister directed that besides addressing the basic food security issues, full focus should be on value chains of agricultural produce.

Imran stressed the need for formulation of a comprehensive strategy with timelines under which the agricultural productivity could be tripled from the current level.

For complete reforms in the agriculture sector, the prime minister directed to run all agriculture-related sectors, including livestock, fisheries etc on modern and corporate lines.

Imran assured full support of the federal government to that of Punjab for immediate redressal of all the issues coming in the way of agricultural reforms in the province.

Dr Salman Shah, Adviser to the Punjab CM, briefed the meeting about suggestions for enhancing agricultural productivity and promoting value chains as per the PM's vision.

The prime minister was also briefed about the issuance of Kissan Card for the financial assistance of farmers in Punjab. APP


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