Amid Unions opposing labour reforms, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned of a threat to job creation if investments were blocked and appealed to unions not to persist with ideas that harm economic activity.
A day after a ministerial panel headed by the minister failed to break logjam over proposed labour reforms with the Unions, Jaitley said safety of workforce cannot be ensured without an increase in economic activity.
“If we stop the fountain of investment, then employment will not increase, then economic activity will also not increase. And it becomes a threat to existing jobs,” he said addressing the 46th Indian Labour Conference.
The minister said Indian economy was the fastest growing among major economies with most of them facing challenges.
“The government is trying that when the entire global economy is in a slowdown, our economy is strengthened. Today we are proud that in this slow environment, when all the countries are struggling, India is the fastest growing economy among other economies,” he said.
Reaching out to Unions on government’s proposed labour reforms that will make it easier for companies to do business and lead to job creation, Jaitley said: “Even if we are a leader of any Union or a worker of any organisation, we should not decide on anything which would deter the economic activity or employment opportunities.”
He said a high growth rate will always protect the workmen and interest of labour in the country.
“An efficient economy will always protect the interest of industry and labourers. Sluggish industry will never be able to create jobs, it is only efficient industry which will be able to create jobs.
“Rational taxation system will be able to create jobs. An overloaded taxation system will not be able to create jobs. Efficient industries will be able to take higher wages and rich government will be able to provide higher wages and better social security. So it is all our responsibility so that we take the economy to that direction,” he said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest report had retained India’s growth projection for 2015 at 7.5 per cent but lowered the global economy growth forecast to 3.3 per cent.