New Delhi: India has a total work force 40 crore with 3 crore workers in the organised sector and 37 crore in the unorganised sector.
Such a massive human resource is an asset which has more often than not, been sidelined in India especially the unorganised sector.
Despite over 150 labour laws in India meant to ensure the welfare of workers, employers especially industrialists feel that labour reforms are long overdue in a globalising economy.
But problems exist in their initiation. While the employers have been vehemently pressing for labour reforms for making Indian industry globally competitive, trade unions fear that the industrialists may twist and turn them, making 'hire and fire' easy.
They insist that social security should be in place before any radical reforms are introduced.
So the demands from the employers and the trade unions have forced the government to walk a tightrope.
But labour reforms or the lack of it is not the only problem for India's new economy. The lack of skill is another problem, which is adding to labour woes.
Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management are world class but produce only a few thousand graduates per year whereas lakhs of graduates from ordinary colleges pass out with minimal skills, adding on to the unemployable population.
A 7.8 per cent unemployment rate in India have forced the Indian work force to turn to West and the West seems to have accepted the Indians with open hands with labour remittances of India the highest in the world at $27 billion.
At the threshold of a new era and the new economy India still struggles to find solution to the problems of the working class.
As we observe Labour Day on May 1, it is perhaps a point to ponder on.