If there any person who secured the rights of Laborers in India, the person was none other than “Father of Modern India” & Revolutionary Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Without Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, today the future of India Labors would have been in pitch darkness. He is the only leader in India who was multi-dimensional and a great visionary. After all he was born in the land of the most congenital casteist the nation we know as ‘India’. The staunch upper caste’s never give credit to Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution in building a great nation which today is one of the developing economies of the world. Thanks to his robust economic policies which have saved India even in the times of great Economic Depressions. Be it the founding guidelines of the RBI or the Principles of Free Trade, Dr. Ambedkar has given all the best for our Nation.
Here is some piece of valuable information to share about what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar did for Labors as a Labor leader and as the Labor Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council between 1942 and 1946. He was sworn as the Labor Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in July 7, 1942.
Brilliant contributions made by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
- Reduction in Factory Working Hours (8 hours duty) : Today the working hours in India per day is about 8 hours. We do not know that how many Indians know, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was the Savior of Labors in India. He brought 8 hours duty in India and change the working time from 14 hours to 8 hours became a light for workers in India. He brought it on the 7th session of Indian Labor Conference in New Delhi, November 27, 1942.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar framed many laws for Women Labors in India :
- Mines Maternity Benefit Act,
- Women Labor welfare fund,
- Women and Child, Labor Protection Act,
- Maternity Benefit for women Labor, 5. Restoration of Ban on Employment of Women on Underground Work in Coal Mines,
- Indian Factory Act.
- National Employment Agency (Employment Exchange): Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was instrumental in bringing the establishment of employment exchanges. He created employment exchanges in India as the Labor member in Provincial government in British India after the end of 2nd world, so also the tripartite mechanism of settling Labor issues through trade unions, Labors and the government representatives and introducing skill development initiative in the government sector. Due to his relentless efforts ‘National Employment Agency was created.
- Employees State Insurance (ESI): ESI helps the workers with medical care, medical leave, physically disabled during working injuries as compensation Insurance for providing various facilities. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar enacted and brought it for the benefit of workers. Actually India only brought ‘Insurance Act’ as the first nation among the East Asian countries. Credit goes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
- The original source of reference for all the 13 Finance Commission reports, in a way, are based on Dr. Ambedkar’s P.hd thesis, “The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India”, written in 1923.
- India’s Water Policy and Electric Power Planning: The policy formulation and planning for the development of irrigation and electric power was the major concern. It was the Labor Department under the guidance of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, who decided to establish “Central Technical Power Board” (CTPB) for power system development, hydro power station sites, hydro-electric surveys, analyzing problems of electricity generation and thermal power station investigation . Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar emphasized on the significance and need for the “Grid System”, which is still working successfully even today. If today power engineers are going abroad for training, the credit goes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar again, who as a leader of Labor Department formulated policy to train the best engineers-overseas. It is a matter of shame that nobody credits Dr. abasaheb Ambedkar for the role he played in India’s water policy and electric power planning. [For more about ‘India’s Water Policy and Electric Power Planning’, Refer: Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in Economic Planning Water and Power Policy by Sukhadeo Thorat].
- Dearness Allowance (DA) to Workers.
- Leave Benefit to Piece Workers.
- Revision of Scale of Pay for Employees.
- Coal and Mica Mines Provident Fund: At the time, Coal Industry played a vital role in our country’s economy. Due to this, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar enacted the Coal Mines Safety (Stowing) Amendment Bill for the benefit of the workers on January 31st, 1944. On 8th April 1946, he brought the Mica Mines Labor Welfare Fund which helped the workers with housing, water supply, education, entertainment, co- operative arrangements.
- Labor Welfare Funds: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar set up an Advisory Committee to advise on matters arising out of the Labor Welfare under B P Agarkar. Later he promulgated it on January, 1944.
- Post War Economic Planning: When 2nd World war ended, there were many challenges for India, such as re-establishing the economy; including improvement in agriculture, development of industries, rehabilitation and re- deployment of defense services etc. For this, the Reconstruction Committee of Council (RCC) was established. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a member of RCC and was assigned the role of the President of “Policy Committee for Irrigation and Power” of great significance but less well known among Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution to the nation was his direct participation in the formulation of objective and strategy of post-war economic plan & planned development of water and electric power resources in the country. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was directly involved in framing of the objective and strategy of economic planning and water and electric power policy though he made a substantial contribution to the economic planning and water and electric power resource development in this position, surprisingly, this aspect of his contribution has hardly been studied. [For more about ‘Post War Economic Planning’ Refer: Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in Economic Planning Water and Power Policy by Sukhadeo Thorat].
- Indian Statistical Law: In 1942, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar passed the Indian Statistical Act. Later D K Paisendry (Former Deputy Principal, Information Officer, Government of India) said in his book, without Dr. Ambedkar’s Indian Statistical Act he could not formulated the Labor conditions, their wage rates, other Income, Inflation, debt, housing, employment, deposits and other funds, Labor disputes.
- The Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill: Indian Labor Act was enacted in 1926 . This only helped to register the trade unions. But it did not approved by the government. On 8 November, 1943 he brought the Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill for Compulsory recognition of trade unions.
- Creator of Damodar valley project, Hirakund project, The Sone
River valley project: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who started and Plan outlined, on the lines of the Tennessee Valley project, the Damodar Valley project. Not only Damodar Valley Project but also Hirakud project, The Sone River valley project were outlined by him. In 1945, under the chairmanship of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, then Member of Labor, it was decided to invest in the potential benefits of controlling the Mahanadi for multi purpose use. But almost were hiding and wrongly been attributed entirely to Nehru’s vision for industrialization through multi purpose river valley projects. It was Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who in fact, as the then Member for Labor in the Viceroy’s Council, played the most central role in introducing large dam technologies into India . If you ask any school going child, where Damodar Valley, Hirakund and the Sone River Valley projects are, and who inaugurated these projects, they will tell you the names of Nehru-Gandhi family, although they have nothing to do with these projects. (Check out the wiki page giving details that Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, Dr. B.C.Roy, chief minister of West Bengal and Sri Krishna Sinha, chief minister of Bihar, took personal interest to ensure early success of the project). We have been taught in schools about these projects but we don’t find a word about Dr. Ambedkar’s prominent role and contribution towards all these projects. Since 1930 emphasis has been increasingly placed on engineering practices, on the hydrological unity of a river basin on treating the basin as the unit of development of its water resources. Credit for multi purpose project (irrigation and generating electric power together) goes to Irrigation and Power Department, under the leadership of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Keeping in view the enhanced magnitude of such projects, it was keenly felt that the technical expert bodies available then at the center weren’t adequate. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar approved the Central Water way and Irrigation Commission (CWINC) in March 1944, and subsequently by the Viceroy on April 4, 1945. Thus Dr.Babasaheb helped build a strong technical organization for the development of India. If our houses are illuminated and if our fields are green, it’s because of Dr. Ambedkar’s stellar role in the planning of these projects, on which rests a major part of India’s economy today. If there is such a concept as water-management and development in India, then the credit goes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for ably using the natural resources to serve India. If it was not for Dr. Ambedkar’s vision, one can imagine the situation of electric supply, irrigation and development of India. [For more, Refer: Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in Economic Planning Water and Power Policy by Sukhadeo Thorat].
- Health Insurance Scheme.
- Provident Fund Act.
- Factory Amendment Act.
- Labor Disputes Act.
- Minimum wage.
- The Legal Strike. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar believe that caste is not merely the division of Labor but division of labourers based upon the graded inequality. Further in his ‘Annihilation of Caste’, Volume – I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches, “ In no other country is the division of Labor accompanied by this gradation of labourers. There is also a third point of criticism against this view of the Caste System. This division of Labor is not spontaneous; it is not based on natural aptitudes. Social and individual efficiency requires us to develop the capacity of an individual to the point of competency to choose and to make his own career. This principle is violated in the Caste System in so far as it involves an attempt to appoint tasks to individuals in advance, selected not on the basis of trained original capacities, but on that of the social status of the parents. Looked at from another point of view this stratification of occupations which is the result of the Caste System is positively pernicious. Industry is never static. It undergoes rapid and abrupt changes. With such changes an individual must be free to change his occupation. Without such freedom to adjust himself to changing circumstances it would be impossible for him to gain his livelihood. Now the Caste System will not allow Hindus to take to occupations where they are wanted if they do not belong to them by heredity. If a Hindu is seen to starve rather than take to new occupations not assigned to his Caste, the reason is to be found in the Caste System. By not permitting readjustment of occupations, caste becomes a direct cause of much of the unemployment we see in the country. As a form of division of Labor the Caste system suffers from another serious defect. The division of Labor brought about by the Caste System is not a division based on choice. Individual sentiment, individual preference has no place in it. It is based on the dogma of predestination.”
- * Volume 10 – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar as member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council (1942-46).
- * A Tamil article by Tamilmaraiyan.
- * Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in Economic Planning Water and Power Policy by Sukhadeo Thorat.
- * Volume 1 – Annihilation of Caste by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
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