Labour Ministry to upgrade Shram Suvidha Portal (SSP)
The move will bring down the total number of compliance forms to 3 from 21 now with one unified form for registration, licence and return.
NEW DELHI: India would soon move towards a single registration and return for compliance under 29 labour laws. The labour ministry has begun work on upgrading the Shram Suvidha portal, the singular platform for all labour law-related compliance.
The move will bring down the total number of compliance forms to 3 from 21 now with one unified form for registration, licence and return. Currently, employers have to file four forms of registration, five for licence and 12 forms for returns.
“The single registration facility, as provided in the Code, will be available from the Day 1 of the roll out of the four labour Codes,” labour secretary Apurva Chandra told. “While Centre is working towards providing a single licence facility through the portal at the earliest, other unified services will only be available going forward.”
Currently, employers have to register their establishment separately under different labour laws including the Minimum Wage Act and the Factories Act. Even contractors and staffing firms have to seek multiple licences for operating at different locations while employers file separate returns on the social security and health coverage for the workers under the Employees Provident Fund Organisation and the Employees' State Insurance Corporation respectively.
Under the first round of upgradation, which will be synced with the roll out of the labour Codes, employers will be able to go for one single registration under all labour laws. Next to be added to the portal will be a centrally-issued single national licence for staffing firms, which will be valid across India.
However, returns under EPFO and ESIC would be filed separately as long as the government does not provide one universal number to all employees registered under different organisations. The aim is to significantly improve the ease of doing business by reducing compliance.
Experts and industry are, however, apprehensive about the robustness of the portal to handle such data. “I am extremely doubtful about the preparedness of both the Centre and the state governments with regard to handling voluminous electronic transactions in one go,” said KR Shyam Sundar, labour expert and professor at XLRI.
According to Sundar, the centralised process will create problems in data verification, data cleaning and statistics generation. The number of establishments under the states’ sphere across various labour laws are far more than under the Central sphere and hence experts feel the challenge is bigger at the state level.
Rituraj Sinha, group managing director of SIS India, said there is no clarity from the government yet on how employers should go about unified filings under the Code. “Companies will have to upgrade and align their IT systems to adapt to the new changes under the Code and this will take time,” Sinha added.
The government intends to implement the four labour Codes from April 1, 2021 as the labour ministry finalises the rules for the four Codes by the end of this month.
The four Codes include the Code on Wages, the Social Security Code, the Industrial Relations Code and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions. Out of the 44 labour laws, 29 have been amalgamated under the four Codes while rest have been repealed.
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