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PM seeks consensus for labour reforms

With a saffron union openly opposing labour reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought to reach out to trade unions saying talks and consensus are the only way to resolve “old complex issues” as he pitched for economic growth for creating jobs.

In an apparent push for reforms in the sector to make it easier for companies to do business, he also spoke of the need to “modify laws by adding some and scrapping some” to improve productivity.

Addressing a gathering of labour unions as well as industry and officials, the Prime Minister utilised the platform of the tripartite Indian Labour Conference, the first such meeting after his coming to power last year, to give a message that talks between the three were the only way forward.

“Efforts would be made to modify labour laws through consensus,” he said, adding that the consultation process with trade unions would continue.

Modi further said that the “obsolete and unnecessary” laws were being weeded out as part of the government’s objective to achieve “minimum government and maximum governance”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads a ministerial panel discussing labour reforms with trade unions, warned of a threat to job creation if investment were blocked and appealed to unions not to persist with ideas that harm economy.

The tone for the conference was set by BJP-affiliate BMS National President B N Rai who criticised the government over a “few wrong policies” and asserted they would not allow reforms at the cost of labour.