Friday, June 14

Revisiting Reports of the First National Labour Commission & the Second National Labour Commission: Labour Policy Analysis

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By Dezy Kumari & Veena Naregal

Working Paper No- 423

From 1940s onwards and well into the 1970s, labour policy had revolved around principles of tripartism and protection of labour rights; in contrast, from the late 1980s onwards, policy discourse sought to legitmise a shift from protection of labour rights to a deregulation of labour laws. Major shifts in labour policy agendas were key to changes wrought by economic reforms of the early 1990s. Part I raises questions about how we may map the influence of and continuities in policy agendas and contexts. Is policy influence synonymous with implementation? Deviating from the dominant view within development economics, we argue that policy frameworks can have an enduring influence and impact quite apart from whether they are implemented. Additionally, this part also offers an account of tripartism as a founding structural motif in sustaining labour market dualism and determining the course of labour policy agendas in post-colonial India. Part II offers a historically oriented focus on two key policy reviews of this period between 1966 to 2006, namely reports of first National Commission of Labour [1966-1969] and the Second National Commission of Labour [1999-2002] . The records and reports of both these Commissions are analysed here in conjunction with key parliamentary and political debates of the period pertaining to labour policy.

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