LAHORE: The Punjab government has allocated Rs541 million for the labour and human resource sector in the fiscal budget for 2014-15, 92.2 per cent higher than the sum allocated in 2013-14 (Rs41 million).
The allocated amount consists of Rs189.495 million for ongoing schemes in the sector and Rs351.505 millions for new schemes that the government aims to initiate in FY 2014-15.
The government aims to meet the challenges of modern day force through improvement of working conditions and environment in work places raising awareness of rights and responsibilities under labour laws, assisting the industry by holding internationally accredited trainings on labour related standards and establishment of modern labour market information system.
The government is also aiming to maintain industrial peace and harmony in Punjab through the provision and implementation of the Punjab Employees Social Security Ordinance for social protection of labour force, enforcement of labour welfare laws in factories, shops and commercial and industrial establishments besides in the section of transport and railway, implementation of government policies for the gradual elimination of child and bonded labour and enforcement of weights and measures laws on factories shops and petrol pumps.
The objectives of the Punjab government in the fiscal year 2014-14 include the maintenance of industrial peace and welfare of industrial and commercial workforce, provision of decent work environment to promote health and safety, eradication of bonded labour and elimination of child labour and to ensure equal remuneration for equal value of work without any gender discrimination which will be achieved through implementation of labour laws and policies. Besides, this the government's objective is to ensure implementation of weights and measures laws to ensure precise and accurate delivery of commodities to the general consumer.
The strategy of the Punjab government in the labour and human resource sector is to collaborate with International Labour Organisation (ILO) to implement decent work programme in the province and also to collaborate with international donours to combat the child labour and bonded labour throughout the Punjab.
To make the factories inspection system more convenient and effective, department has launched a labour inspection computerisation system and to ensure the decent work environment, department is providing technical facilities and skill enhancing trainings in the field of health and safety.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Child Rights Activist Iftikhar Mubarik, said, "It is good to see that the government has increased the allocated amount for the labour sector and is aiming to eradicate bonded labour and child labour this year but the problem is that they have been promising this for years but it is never implemented."
He added that we have to wait and see that what will be the action plan of the government to implement these aims. "Allocations without proper implementation and utilisation are useless," he said.
MPA Azma Zahid Bokhari claimed that the "government is committed to the improvement of standards of living of the working class and this is the best budget in the available financial resources."
Bokhari added that the government will aim to eradicate the menace of bonded labour and child labour and have increased the allocated amount to Rs541 million, up from Rs41 million, next year which shows that that the government is with the poor working class of the country and gradually the things will improve all we need is more time.