Maternity Benefit

The Ministry of Labour and Employment in the Govt. of India has vide its notification dated 29th January, 2019 amended Rule 16  of the Maternity Benefit (Mines & Circus) Rules, 1963.

The new Rule 16 reads as follows:

16.- (1) The employer of every mine & circus shall, on or before the 1st day of February in each year, upload unified annual return in Form X on the web portal of the Central Government in the Ministry of Labour and Employment giving information as to the particulars specified in respect of the preceding year: 

Provided that during inspection, the inspector may require the production of accounts, books, registers and other documents maintained in electronic form or otherwise.

(2) If the employer of a mine or circus to which the Act applies sells, abandons or discontinues the working of the mine or circus, then, he shall, within one month of the date of such sale or abandonment or four months of the date of such discontinuance, as the case may be, upload online, on the web portal of the Central Government in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, a further unified return in Form X referred to in sub-rule (1) in respect of the period between the end of the preceding year and the date of the sale, abandonment or discontinuance.’.

What is unified annual return is not specified or defined anywhere, but the Labour Ministry has carried out similar amendments to 7 legislations.

It is not also clear from when it is effective, because the notification is dated 29th January, 2019 and it requires the establishment to file a return on or before 1st February every year. So it would be practically impossible to collate all the information and file the return in just one day!!!

The circus industry is more or less moribund across India, there are hardly any circuses left in town. So don’t know what purpose this will serve to that sector. Mines hardly employ any women on their rolls so again the purpose of having a maternity benefit act for mine sector seems hardly to be a great idea. Better idea would have been to scrap this legislation altogether.

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