Critically examine the Labour Legislations and Land Reforms executed after independence till death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, emphasizing upon their challenges and outcomes.

Published: November 9, 2017

After Independence Jawaharlal Nehru became first Prime minister of India. Under his rule number of labour legislations and land reforms were executed. Among the labour legislation, first was Industrial Disputes Act 1947 to provide for a machinery and procedure for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. This act provided for conditions for layoffs (suspension or termination of employment), retrenchment (reduce the overall size of operations) and closure of an industry. Although this act ensured security for workers it has some controversial / regressive provisions like prior permission of the government before firing a worker. It would later result in lower output by labour, lower productivity; hesitation in hiring; lower investments; lower overall manufacturing performance and deterred foreign investors.
Another labour legislation was the Minimum wages act, 1948 which fixed minimum wages that must be paid to skilled and unskilled labours. One of the challenges with this act was it left large number of industries under the purview of this act. It allowed state to set wages which created large number of inequalities. One more law was Employees’ Provident Fund Act 1952, which was passed for social safety to workers as provident fund.
Land reforms
Land reforms were one of the main work area of government. The government introduced Abolition of Zamindari bills but then this reform was entangled in legal battle and was able to implement only after constitution was amended. It also faced issue of lack of land records and eviction of tenant by land owners.
The tenancy reforms were also introduced to provide security of tenure as well as reduction of rents. Personal cultivation clause and ceiling for acquisition left lot of scope for manipulation.

Model Questions Category: