On the last day of the Budget session, the Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend the Apprentices Act, 1961 with a voice vote. The opposition parties’ demand to send it to a standing committee for ‘deeper scrutiny’ has been overruled.
The bill is also opposed by the trade unions apart from the parties like the Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPI(M).
Moving The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014 for passage, Labour Minister Narender Singh Tomar said the measure was “revolutionary” and would help the country meet the growing requirement of skilled people, whose number could rise to 23.75 lakh from the current level of 4.29 lakh.
The new law provides the apprentices to enjoy facilities like leave on par with the regular employees in any unit that has five of more staffers.
Terming the Bill as “old wine in new bottle, Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy accepted that it would increase job opportunities for the youth, but feared that companies would phase out contract and casual workers and get apprentices to do their work instead.