India unveils key labour reforms

India garment factory workers Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Much of India's labour laws date back to the British period

India's PM Narendra Modi has unveiled key labour reforms as a part of a campaign which aims to turn the country into a global manufacturing hub.

They include plans to streamline labour laws and make scrutiny of factories transparent to curb harassment by government inspectors.

Manufacturing contributes only 15% to India's gross domestic product; authorities want to raise it to 25%.

Much of India's labour laws date back to the British period.

Analysts say the country needs to reform these archaic laws if it is to boost industry and create jobs.

Last month, Mr Modi launched a 'Make in India' campaign which plans to cut red tape, develop infrastructure and make it easier for companies to do business.

"We have to make 'Make in India' a success, for that ease of business is a must," Mr Modi said on Thursday.

Under a new scheme, factory inspection reports will be loaded on a government website within 72 hours of the scrutiny.

Reports say under the present rules factories are selected arbitrarily for inspection by government departments, leading to complaints of harassment of the owners.

Some 1,800 "labour inspectors" in India will be getting text messages, informing them of the new rules.

Mr Modi also announced plans to make it easier for employees to access their savings with the government - these accounts will be made portable and linked to their bank accounts.

Mr Modi won the recent general election, promising to revive India's slowing economy and in the three months to June, the country's economy grew by 5.7% , its fastest pace in two-and-a-half years.

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