Orders to pay full wages may push industry to bankruptcy: Amarinder to Modi

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider his directives to industry and commercial establishments to pay full wages to their workers during the lockdown period, saying it may push them to bankruptcy.

In a letter to PM Modi, Amarinder sought reconsideration of the order issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, a government release said. He urged the Centre to look for innovative solutions to protect the interests of workers in these difficult times without causing irreparable damage to industry and commercial establishments.

The relevant part of the order reads: “… that all the employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages to their workers, at their workplace, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown.”

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This part of the order needs reconsideration as “this will have huge financial implications for the industry as well as shops and commercial establishments in the state and may push them to bankruptcy as the income of most of these units has completely stopped due to lockdown,” the chief minister said in his letter.

Photo: ANI

Pm Modi during his address to the nation on Tuesday. Photo: ANI

Singh termed as imperative the re-examination of the matter by the Centre. He said the central government should explore some innovative solutions “whereby the interests of the workers can be protected without impairing the financial health of commercial and industrial units beyond repair”.

Pointing out that the Punjab government had written separately to the Union Labour Ministry on the issue, he also urged the PM to advise the ministry to take early action in this regard.

In the world’s biggest lockdown, which began on March 25, India’s 1.3 billion people were ordered indoors for 21 days by Modi to stem the spread of coronavirus. Earlier on Tuesday, the prime minister announced that the lockdown will be extended to May 3 as the measure has produced a significant outcome in containing the infection.

The prime minister, however, also announced that those areas which remain free from the virus are likely to be opened in a phased manner starting April 20.