IN Marx’s memorable words,
"If money, according to Augier, [14]
“comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,”
capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”

INFORMALISATION, outsourcing, casualisation and contractualisation are the strategies of capital to circumvent hard-earned labour rights and to maximize profits. Fixed Term Employment and Apprenticeship are the new strategies for ‘Hire and Fire’. The existing labour law protections are being done away with in order to expedite the process of restructuring of the labour market according to the demands of capital. With the dismantling of public sector from commanding heights, rampant privatisation, liberalisation of economy, end of planning machinery and with imperialist globalisation, the private capital has taken over the reins of power.

In such a backdrop, the advocates of Indian capital are worried about the mismatch between the process of liberalization and labour legislations of the period of state capitalism. In their opinion, labour market conditions were more distorted owing to ‘protective' legislations for the organized sector workers who are only 7 percent of the total work force. On the other hand, 93 percent of the unorganized sector workforce that was not covered by any meaningful legislation was a potential detonator waiting to explode any time like the growing unemployed workforce. Even though it is a fact that these laws are more often than not illusory with poor implementation, yet by their mere existence - legitimising workers’ organising for implementation of the laws - is seen as too much of a hurdle to the capitalists. The proposed legislations are expected to demolish trade union rights and to postpone the possibility of an explosion of the disgruntled unorganized sector workers. It is an attempt to match labour market conditions with the process of liberalization.

While the unprotected and cheaper unorganised sector workers are expected to compete with the global labour, the organized workforce in the country is expected to compete with the domestic unorganized labour. Labour reforms to restructure the labour market corresponding to the pace of globalisation and liberalization process is something ‘inevitable' in order to resolve the so-called ‘mismatch'. The present phase of dismantling of the labour law protection regime that was earned by the militant struggles of the working class was preceded by the disinvestment and privatisation policies of the State since 1991.

Legislation on Special Economic Zones that would exempt the zones from the applicability of labour laws, amendments to Industrial Disputes Act that would make retrenchments and closures – hire and fire – much easier, allowing night work for women, amendments to the PF act that would make the fund meant for the protection of workers' future vulnerable to financial market fluctuations and handing them over to private parties through Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the newly found ‘principle' of allowing markets to decide the wages of government employees that would guide the Central Pay Commissions, and the proposed executive orders and rules, etc. are perfectly complementary to each other. Its purported objective of an ease of doing business is a direct attack on the most basic of rights of workers. In fact, the Modi-led BJP government attempts to create a conducive atmosphere through executive orders and circulars first and subsequently amending apparently 'minor' changes in necessary acts that does not fall under Parliamentary scrutiny or that can escape any scrutiny as was done in the case of Standing Orders Amendment Act.