Talk to two workers (For example, construction workers, farm workers, factory workers, workers at any shop) to find out if they are receiving the minimum wages laid down by law.
No doubt, Minimum Wages Act is passed almost in every state. In Haryana, Minimum Wages Act is also passed. We have talked with four-five workers but nobody is getting minimum wages fixed by the government.
What are the advantages to foreign companies in setting up production in India?
During the last forty years, many foreign companies have established their factories in India. In the
age of globalisation and liberalisation, Multinational Companies came to India rapidly. Following are
the advantages to foreign companies in setting up production in India.
(i) The main advantage to foreign companies in India is cheap labour. In comparison to Indian workers, workers of USA and other countries are paid much higher wages. In India, companies pay lower wages for more working hours.
(ii) The need to invest less in land and machinery is another advantage of foreign companies. The working conditions in India are lower, which means that less safty measures are required, which in turn helps in cost cutting. Less cost means more profit which is why foreign companies are coming to India.
Do you think the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy got justice? Discuss.
At the late hours of night on December 2, 1984, a toxic gas known as methyl isocyanate or MIC as
it is popularly known leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. By 12.30 a.m. on December
3, toxic gas clouds enveloped the sky. While hundreds and thousands were affected, the municipal
workers claimed to have cleared at least 15,000 dead bodies in the immediate vicinity of the plant.
The death toll reached around 3,589 persons by 1989. Thousands of people who survived, still suffer from chronic illness, vision ailments like blindness, impaired immune system and increased incidence of cancer.
The government represented the victims in a civil case and demanded $ 3 billion as compensation in 1985 but accepted $ 470 million in 1989. Survivors went to the Supreme Court but Supreme Court decided that the settlement amount would stand. In fact, it was a great injustice to the victims who got very poor compensation.
What do we mean when we speak of law enforcement? Who is responsible for enforcement?
Why is enforcement so important?
There are three organs of government i.e., Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Law-making is the main function of legislature. But merely law-making is not sufficient. Enforcement of laws are equally important. Without implementation, law has no value. Law is implemented by the executive. The executive is to see that all the laws are properly obeyed and those who break the laws are punished. For example, Minimum Wages Act has no importance unless the government (Executive) also supervises and checks that workers get their wages in accordance with the provisions of the Act and punishes those who violate the law.
How can laws ensure that markets work in a manner that is fair? Give two examples to support your answer.
Law is a very important factor to control the market. Everything can’t be left free to decide the market situation. For example, it is very essential that Minimum Wages Act of workers must be enacted. Without this Act, private companies, traders, business community and factory owners would normally pay very less to the workers to make maximum profit. Due to Minimum Wages Act, the employer cannot pay less than the Minimum Wages. The interests of the consumer and producers are also protected in a market by laws. These laws ensure the proper relations that exist between workers, producers and consumers and none is in a position to exploit the other. In this way, laws ensure that markets work in a manner that is fair.
Imagine yourself to be a worker working in a chemical factory which has received orders from the government to move to a different site, 100 kms away from the present location. Write about how your life would change? Read out your responses in the classroom.
If my factory, where I am working, moves to different site 100 kms away from the present location, my life will be affected adversely. Either I have to loose the job or I have to shift my family near the factory. Near the factory, problem of pollution will come up and the problem of safety conditions of workers will remain unchanged.
Write a paragraph on the various roles of the government that you have read about in this unit.
Modern state is a welfare state. On the basis of Unit V, the government performs the following
(i) One of the major functions of the government is to ensure that public facilities are made available to everyone.
(ii) The government should provide safe drinking water to all.
(iii) The government should provide all facilities which are needed for the protection of the health of the people.
(iv) The government should provide proper sanitation facilities.
(v) The government should enact laws and implement them properly to achieve social justice.
(vi) The government should enact Minimum Wages Act for workers.
(vii) The government should ensure proper safety measures, good working conditions, etc.
(viii) The government should enact new laws for the protection of environment.
(ix) The government is responsible for setting up laws and procedure that can check pollution, clean rivers and introduce heavy fines for those who pollute the environment.
What are the sources of environment pollution in your area? Discuss with respect to (a) air; (b) water and (c) soil. What are the steps being taken to reduce the pollution? Can you suggest some other measures?
The major sources of environmental pollution are as follows:
(i) The burning of fossil fuels gives out smoke which is released into the atmosphere.
(ii) The use of fossil fuels in automobiles like buses, cars, etc., leads to air pollution as these emit toxic gases.
(iii) Water pollution is a major environmental problem. Large sources of pollution are liquid wastes which flow from industry, agriculture or human wastes.
(iv) Air pollution is caused mainly by the toxic smoke which comes out of the industries.
Steps taken to reduce the pollution. (a) The Supreme Court had ordered all public transport vehicles using diesel were to switch to compressed natural gas (C.N.G.). (b) To adopt cleaner technologies and processes in factories, the government has to encourage and support factories to do this.
How was environment treated earlier? What has been the change in perception? Discuss.
There is much change regarding environment in the present as compared
with past. People were not conscious about the environment in the past.
But now they are conscious about environment and taking steps to protect it.
What do you think the famous cartoonist R.K. Laxman is trying to convey in this cartoon? How does it relate to the October 2006 law on Child Labour Prevention Act?
The famous cartoonist, R.K. Laxman in this cartoon wants to send out the message that people should protect the rights of the children. The October 2006 law on Child Labour Prevention Act states that children below the age of 14 should not be allowed work on mines, tea shops, restaurant, etc. They are also banned from working as domestic servents or at Dhabas.
Why do we need a law on minimum wages?
We need a law on minimum wages for ensuring that the workers are fairly remunerated.
(a) What is the minimum wage of a construction worker in your state?
(b) Do you think the minimum wage for a construction worker is adequate, low or high?
(c) Who sets the minimum wages?
(a) Above ₹ 200 daily. (b) Low. (c) Labour Ministry of the state.
Why do you think the enforcement of safety laws is important in any factory?
The enforcement of safety laws is important in any factory for the safety of the workers and general public.
Can you point to a few other situations where laws (or rules) exist but people do not follow them because of poor enforcement? (For example, over-speeding by motorists, not wearing helmet/seat belt and use of mobile phone while driving.)
Following are some examples where laws exist but people do not follow them:
(i) Crossing red light on the road.
(ii) Encroachment of government land in residential and commercial areas.
(iii) Not crossing the road from the zebra crossing.
What are the problems in enforcement?
Problems in enforcement:
(i) People are not aware of such laws or don’t follow the law deliberately.
(ii) Government officials don’t perform their duties sincerely and honestly.
(iii) Culprits generally give bribes to the government officials.
Can you suggest some ways in which enforcement can be improved?
Yes, following are some of the ways for improving enforcement:
(i) Deployment of adequate number of enforcement staff.
(ii) Stringent punishment for violators.
(iii) Summary trials.
(iv) Offence to be made unbailable.
A ‘clean environment is a public facility’. Can you explain this statement?
Clean environment is a public facility because it is essential for the survival of the people.
The government has to provide this at its own cost in a democratic set-up.
Why are companies and contractors able to violate environmental laws?
Companies and contractors are able to violate environmental laws because of their connivance with government officials and corruption within the judicial system.