XLRI Prof. book on labour laws and reforms in post reform period in India released

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The book co-authored by Dr. K.R. Shyam Sundar, XLRI and Dr. Rahul Sakpal, Maharashtra National Law University, provides critical analyses of developments in labour laws reforms and labour statistics during the post-reform period

26th August, 2019: Dr. K.R. Shyam Sundar, Eminent Labour Economist & Professor, Human Resources Management Area at XLRI – Xavier School of Management recently released the book – ‘Labour Laws and Governance Reforms in the Post-Reform Period in India: Missing the Middle Ground?’. He dedicated the book to his mentor Prof. K.P. Chellaswamy, Retired Professor, Post-Graduate Department of Economics, Guru Nanak College, Madras University.

The book co-authored by Dr. K.R. Shyam Sundar, XLRI and Dr. Rahul Sakpal, Maharashtra National Law University comprises essays providing critical analyses on the developments relating to labour market reforms, annual Union Budgets, labour statistics, etc. during the post-reform period; it also includes a special analytical chapter on the recently published Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017-18. It is published by a well-known publisher, Synergy Books, India.

Talking about the book released, Dr. K. R. Shyam Sundar said, “Ever since the introduction of economic reforms in 1991 in India, employers and critics of labour regulation have argued for the introduction of reforms of the labour laws and the inspection system. They demand codification of labour laws and introduction of employer-friendly reforms in the process.  The Central government irrespective of the parties in power is committed to labour laws reforms, more so the NDA government.  On the other hand, the trade unions have stridently argued that in the era of globalization job losses have become rampant, the quality of jobs has deteriorated considerably and hence demand that labour laws need to be universalized and be effectively implemented. The NDA government has enacted recently the Wage Code 2019 and three remaining Codes will be taken up for enactment in the forthcoming Parliamentary sessions. There are considerable tensions in the labour market.”  

“Our book argues for the need of a strong and sustainable institutional framework at all levels in the industrial relations system, that is built on five core institutional principles, viz. sustained and effective social dialogue, balance between firm’s competitiveness and labour rights, an abiding respect for labour institutions, decent work and employment, and a comprehensive and universal social protection for workers. This, the authors believe, will lead the stakeholders to adopt the currently missing ‘middle ground’ in their reform efforts. In a sense, our book is a celebration and reiteration of the principles and perspectives inherent in ILO’s Conventions and Recommendations and its ‘decent work’ paradigm”, he said.

At a formal function held in Chennai on August 25, the book was released by Prof. Kamala Sankaran (Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu National Law University, Tiruchirappalli) in the presence of Prof. K.P. Chellaswamy (Retired Professor, PG Department of Economics, Guru Nanak College, Madras University)Prof. K. Jothi Sivagnanam (Professor and Head, Department of Economics, Madras University), Ms. Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan (Eminent Labour Lawyer and an ILO Consultant, Chennai), Dr. Thomas Franco (International Steering Committee Member, Global Labour University), eminent trade union leaders, academics and the authors.

Dr. Rahul Sapkal (Asst. Professor, Maharashtra National Law University), the co-author of the book, while responding to the panelists’ comments observed that jobs are increasingly becoming precarious in the post-reform period and the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data confirms not only the highest level of unemployment but also rising precarity of conditions of labour which is a huge social concern for the policy-makers.

On this occasion Prof. K.P. Chellaswamy was felicitated by his ex-colleagues and students. While responding to the felicitations and speeches on the book Prof. Chellaswamy spoke of the multi-disciplinary nature of Economics and especially the issues relating to the study of Labour.  He added that Keynesian Economics is grounded on empirical realities and is increasingly becoming relevant in the globalized economic environment.