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Decoding the Industrial Relations Code

The Industrial Relations Code, passed last month by Parliament, seeks to address concerns of both workers as well as employers.

Joydev Sengupta

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The Industrial Relations Code Bill was passed last month by both houses of Parliament and received presidential assent on 28 September 2020, thus becoming law, amalgamating, adding, replacing, and updating statutes dating back to, or in some cases preceding, India’s Independence. As is the case with any law, the laws pertaining to industrial disputes were an embodiment of their times. The manifestations of the needs of a society, and ailments impeding the harmony between its business community and workers, evolved over time. Justice was for long being done through amendments to the existing laws, and the courts stepping in through their pronouncements balancing equity, but with almost a 100 years elapsing since the passing of the Trade Unions Act and nearly 75 for the Industrial Disputes Act, the statutes needed an overhaul. The Industrial Relations Code, to widespread acclaim, thus set out to codify into a written law, the developments in practice, thought leadership, and knowledge gained from years of these laws holding the field. 

The Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the new Industrial Relations Code states that the Industrial Relations Code amalgamates the provisions of the provisions of three statutes, the Trade Union Act, passed in 1926, the the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, passed in 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, passed in 1947. Basically, the Industrial Relations Code consolidates the provisions of law pertaining to industrial disputes in one statute, thus simplifying a structure for litigants, who would otherwise have to take recourse to different laws and proceedings to obtain relief.

 From the perspective of administering the law, one single code avoids the confusion of different definitions and authorities who may well have adjacencies or overlaps of functionality, a significant benefit for the worker who seeks shelter under those. The term Trade Dispute as defined in the Trade Unions Act, 1926, for example, is very similar to the Industrial Disputes definition in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and both definitions have now been merged into a single one in the Industrial Relations Code, permitting even a single worker to raise an industrial dispute with regard to his service issues and wages. It is also worthwhile remembering that changes to one consolidated Industrial Relations Code would require far less time than that necessary for amending three sets of laws. 

The breadth of changes to the Industrial Relations Code is visible from the significant changes made to the definitions sections there. The workman and his relationship with his employer are the focal point of any industrial relations, and it is worthwhile to begin with how the Industrial Relations Code defines a worker. The new definition now extends the protection of the industrial code to new categories, i.e., the “working journalist” and “sales promotion employees”. These terms are borrowed by the Industrial Relations Code from existing laws, the working journalist being one who works parttime or full-time in one or more newspapers but does not cover anyone working in a managerial or supervisory capacity. 

The sales promotion employee similarly is one who provides sales promotion services in an establishment but like in the case of the working journalist, does not operate in a managerial or supervisory capacity. Carrying this thread further, it is not as if the Industrial Relations Code has a one-size-fits-all approach to such managerial level employees. The Industrial Relations Code expressly understands that there will be managerial staff who earn lesser salaries and who too would need the protection of the Industrial Relations Code in their dealings with the employer. Managerial staff earning up to Rs 15,000 a month therefore fall within the purview of the term workmen and are conferred the benefits of the Industrial Relations Code accordingly. Since over time, as base salaries increase but the need for protection for the managerial staff continues, the lawmakers have presciently retained the right to increase the Rs 15,000 threshold when the need arises. 

A much debated concept of what are called fixed-term contracts also saw the light of the day in the Industrial Relations Code. Essentially, fixed-term contracts, as the name suggests, allow an employer to appoint a worker for a specific period of time, agreed between such worker and the employer. These contracts are typically useful for workers looking for seasonal work and engagement, and for employers who have similar requirements for hiring workers for specific periods. Employers, before the passing of the Industrial Relations Code, would typically not hire workers despite a need, just because they would not want to deal with issues of terminating a worker and facing the rigours of law. 

By introducing the concept of a fixedterm contract in the law itself, the Industrial Relations Code recognises the fact that the employers and the workers can engage for such period of time as they of their own volition want to, with the Industrial Relations Code mandating the same protection of wages, emoluments, and benefits available to a regular employee at that establishment. The Industrial Relations Code in fact specifically does not include the fixedterm contract within the purview of the term retrenchment, which in effect would mean that a worker cannot claim to have been retrenched once his contract term came to an end. It would be a simply be a case of two entities resolving their issues in terms of their mutual understanding. 

One of the interesting departures from the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is the deletion of the phrase “public utility services”. Public utility covered services like railways, ports, power, water, sanitation and posts and telegraphs, for which the old Act had a special place and specific protection, and a number of its provisions such as those related to conciliation were targeted at them. The most significant of these was that a worker in a public utility service could not go on strike without providing a notice for such strike. The Industrial Relations Code has now extended this for all establishments, and a worker now must provide notice before going on strike, irrespective of whether he works in a public utility service or not. The Old Industrial Disputes Act provided that no employer in a public utility service could lock out his workers without providing notice. This obligation to provide notice now applies to the employer in a non-public utility service as well, the benefit accorded earlier only to a public utility service now broad-based across industry. 

The decades-old definition of the word “strike” also took a modification from practice. The Industrial Relations Code specifically considers 50% of the workmen collectively applying for and staying away from work by resorting to mass casual leave on a given day as a strike, and the Industrial Relations Code becomes applicable to such an event as well. 

The Industrial Relations Code obviously incorporates a lot more changes than what has been discussed above. Its importance lies in the fact that it seeks to codify years of labour law practice and also seeks to address concerns of both the worker and the employer, thus taking a holistic and a balanced view of their respective rights and obligations. The Industrial Relations Code will obviously undergo changes as practitioners put it to use and test its robustness, and also when new situations seeking redressal arise. To the extent it simplifies the law today, compliance of law should be a big gain for the country. 

Joydev Sengupta is a practising lawyer, specialising in laws relating to supply chain financing, digital lending and payment systems. The views expressed are personal.

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You need to have a social media presence to build a brand: Anshuman Sharma

In an exclusive interview with NewsX with NewsX Influencer A-List, Anshuman Sharma opened up about his viral videos, his association with the music industry, his latest projects and much more.

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Music and comedy influencer Anshuman Sharma joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the candid chat, Anshuman opened up about his viral videos, his association with the music industry, his latest projects and much more.

Speaking about his viral videos on Ritviz, Badshah and others, Anshuman said, “I used to make fun stuff on Instagram like dialogue remixes and stuff. There was this dialogue remix that I made on someone that kind of sounded like Ritviz. People were tagging Ritviz in the comments. I listened to his music and then I realised that I do kind of did sound like him. There were already these videos already on the Internet by International YouTubers, who showed people on how to make a Micheal Jackson or Drake song in 2 minutes. I thought why not do it with Ritviz since I already know how it sounds. I could just create a track and put a video on it. It got a million views on Twitter and 2 million on YouTube.”

Talking about his association with the music industry and the songs he’s working on right now, Anshuman said, “I have been working with Salim Suleman. I have done a couple of background music tracks along with them. I did background music for Coolie No 1, which we featured Varun Dhawan. I did Disco Dancer 2.0 featuring Tiger Shroff. They recently released an album called Bhoomi, so I did various songs in that album including one for Sunidhi Chauhan and one for Sukhwinder. Those are folk songs mixed with Jazz, so I have been working on stuff like that.”

Sharing how his journey with Salim Suleman started, Anshuman said, “I used to put videos of me playing the keyboard on Instagram. I sent some of those videos to various composers like Vishal Dadlani, Salim Merchant and AR Rahman. Luckily, Salim Merchant saw my video and my DM. He followed me back and he said it is great. After 2-3 months, I was going to do MBA but then somehow I decided that MBA is not for me. I decided to message Salim Merchant and asked if I could intern with him. He said yes. I left everything and just went for it.”

When asked about making spoofs on artists and if he ever contemplates about not making them fearing it might hurt somebody and hamper his future prospects, Anshuman responded, “There is never a conflict because I don’t try to bring them down. I keep it as less offensive as I can. It is basically just picking out certain things from their music and telling people that this is mostly this type of stuff that they have been doing and present it in a fun way. I don’t make fun of them.”

On the new trend on having a social media presence to build your own brand, Anshuman commented, “If I take examples of songs, a lot of songs are hit songs but people don’t know who made them, unless it is a big composer. In order to tell people that, you need to build a brand and you need to have that social media presence. Once you have a following, they will know who you are and your songs would have better chance of becoming hit songs.”

Check out the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:

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When I started, the goal was not to become a social media influencer: Vishnu Kaushal

In an exclusive interview with NewsX as part of NewsX Influencer A-List, Vishnu Kaushal spoke to us about his journey to become a social media influencer, having an alternative career plan and much more.

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Disrupting the Internet with his comedy and style videos, Vishnu Kaushal joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, the comedy content creator spoke to us about his journey to become a social media influencer, having an alternative career plan and much more.

Talking about his journey of becoming a social media influencer, Vishnu said, “I am 24 right now. I started making videos in 2013, which makes means when I was 16. I did not have the idea of short form content back then or all those things. When I started, the goal was not to become a social media influencer. It was to become a creator and make a living while creating and doing something I loved. That was just the goal. However, it took me a while. I made videos for 4.5 years without getting any sort of recognition or virality. I gave up the idea of doing this for a living, then Instagram reels came along and my videos started to find the right set of audience. It all started clicking really well because I had all this experience to write a joke and deliver it in the best way. I had the perfect opportunity and I had the baggage of 4 years of content, where I already knew what I wanted to say. I got the right outlet when reels came along. It really did it for me and that’s when it grew up.”

When asked if it is difficult to create short form content than long form content because one only gets 30 seconds to woo the audience, he responded, “For someone who grew up making long form videos, for them it is definitely tougher because they are used to dealing with nuances, building a premise that is longer and delivering a joke. But, for a GenZ kid, short form content comes easily. They are very intuitive with their content. They know how to do it. I have done short form content for a while and I still can’t make a video less than 45 seconds because I think to myself, ‘What do I do in 45 seconds?’. My videos are usually 45 seconds to 1 minute. I think it is more about conditioning. Once people find their length and wavelength, it comes naturally. Long form and short form are very different. Comparing them is tough.”

Speaking about having an ‘alternate plan’ to content creation, Vishnu said, “There was always an alternate plan. This was the alternate plan. I started making videos in my 12th grade. I was in my college when started this. For the first 4 years, I was doing my B-Tech in computer science engineering while I was making videos in college. I was also working with an organisation back then, so I was doing college, working on something and making videos. After college, I got an internship/job and I was doing that. I was into social media marketing, PR and advertising, then I got a call from MenXP, asking if I want to come and audition. Until I got that call, I never stopped having this one thing, i.e my day job. I always was making videos. For me, making videos was never a profession. For me, it has always been the time I can do whatever. That time is my time. Creating videos, after coming back from my college or job, was my time. It has always been fun for me.”

Check out the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:

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REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS

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The National Flag is hoisted above the Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day, at Lal Chowk, in Srinagar on Wednesday. ANIIndian Air Force’s Rafale aircraft leading MIG-27, MIG-29 and Sukhoi aircraft in a fly-past above Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day parade, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIPresident Ram Nath Kovind presents the Ashoka Chakra (Posthumous) to Babu Ram, Assistant Sub-Inspector of J&K Police. The award was received by his wife Reema Rani and son Manik Sharma, at the 73rd Republic Day Celebrations, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIA dance performance going on during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in front of Vidhan Sabha, in Lucknow on Wednesday. ANIArtists take a selfie after the conclusion of the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in Jammu on Wednesday. ANIThe Arunachal Pradesh tableau, based on the theme “Anglo-Abor (Adi) Wars” on the Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIIndian Army’s Akash missiles on display during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIBorder Security Force (BSF) women Dare Devils perform a stunt during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIParamilitary personnel march during 73rd Republic Day celebrations, in Leh, Ladakh on Wednesday. ANICentral Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel celebrate after winning the first prize for march past at the 73rd Republic Day function, in Patna on Wednesday. ANI

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ITA Awards 2021 will be held in March this year: Anu Ranjan

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into her association with ITA.

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As the countdown for ITA Awards 2021 begins, Producer Anu Ranjan joined NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into ITA, her association with ITA and the preparations for this year’s ceremony, especially amid a Covid scare.

Speaking about her association with ITA 2021 and what has the journey been like, Anu Ranjan said, “This is our 21st year. I started it and I have been there since its inception. It is just that because of what has happened the previous year, we have been running a few months late.

Talking about the inception of ITA awards, she shared, “It was an idea told to me by my friends while we were walking on the beach. They were saying that there are no TV awards and that was in 2000. I used to live in America and I moved to India after I got married. The Emmy’s was something that we had always seen so I said ‘Okay, let me try doing it’. It just so happened that TV started at the same time. All the KBCs and K Series etc all started and ITA was launched the same year.

When asked what has changed in the past 2 years considering the Covid-19 outbreak and the protocols that have been put in place, Anu Ranjan responded, “Last to last year, it was fab. There were 10-15 thousand people. We had it in Indore. It was perfect. Last year, we had to have it a studio. What we did was instead of having a 3-hour live show; we kind of extended it over 2 days. We did one act and let them all go. We had 10 awards with just 30 people and then continued.

On recognising actors who have amazed the audiences in the OTT space in ITA Awards 2021 nominations, she said, “This year, we have got OTT at par with TV. So far, TV was 80% chunk and OTT was 20%. Now, what has happened is that it has become 60-40. TV is still a little heavier. There is a lot happening here and the good thing is that all the artists, more or less, the same. Whether you are doing television, films or web, it is the same people and they are very widely recognised and accepted by all. That has made a very big difference. We started OTT 3 years ago and that time we had 14 show entries. This year, it goes into 100+. Every single network, all 8-10 of the platforms, all actively participating in the ITA awards.”

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Amity Mumbai IT students win Hacktoberfest 2021

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Six students of Amity University, Mumbai won Hacktoberfest 2021 challenge. Atherva Patil, MD Asshar, Ameya Gawade, Devarsh Bela, Kaustubh Kadu, Yash Sharma, all students of Amity Institute of Information Technology have participated and won the prizes. The Hacktoberfest 2021 Challenge was organised by Digital Ocean, Appwriter, Intel Devmesh and deep source to promote the open source software. Participating in Hacktoberfest leads to personal growth, professional opportunities, and community building. It begins with meaningful and quality contributions to open-source software.

 On these achievements of students, Prof. A W Santhosh kumar, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Amity University Mumbai, said that, “The success of the IT Students in Hacktoberfest 2021 competition, is right step to enhance the IT Skills of the students. This participation is not only promoting the open source but also encouraging to the students to contribute into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The young generation students have wisely selected for the Plantation of the trees, which shows their awareness towards the environment.”

Faculty mentor and Head of the Institution, Dr. Manoj Devare said that, “To have used Innovative Teaching and learning pedagogy of Indirect Gamification to involve the students in the learning of the advanced IT Tools of DevOps. This year, six students have shown their skills in the Hacktoberfest 2021. The competition›s mix of UG and PG students has created a healthy environment. It was interesting to see how the students were helping each other succeed in submitting the PRs. Students have learned from their peers and understanding the Distributed Version Controlling System, forking the repositories, and using Git and GitHub tools made them more confident to make them Industry-ready.”

The GitHub and Git Version Controlling System are important tools for the Team of programmers working on the IT Projects. GitHub is the popular tool among the programming community to submit their daily contributions into the Project Repositories. Similarly, the open-source community is involved in pushing and pulling the program code into the public and private repositories. The Automation of the software development processes in the Development and Operations (DevOps) smoothly handover the completed software modules from the Developer to the Operations Team. In Continuation to this, the Participation of the IT Students in the Hactoberfest 2021 makes them Industry ready, and also contributing into the Sustainability. Participants in Hacktoberfest came from all over the world and represent thousands of unique skills sets in programming and Software project management.

The students have won prizes for the T-Shirts, Stickers, and selected tree plantation to reduce carbon footprints contributing sustainable environment.

All six winners are pursuing their BCA, BSC-IT and MCA programs from Amity Institute of Information Technology. Yash Sharma, student of BCA second year and one of the winner of competition said that, “I have completed Hacktoberfest›21; indeed, it was a great month-long journey got to collaborate on new ideas, projects, and tech stacks, around the world. The best part was its learning curve, networking, adding value, and building this open-source community more strongly. I have made successful contributions to frameworks like React Native, Angular, Python, etc. also was part of an organization like Appwrite.”

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‘Suspense thriller’ is a genre that leverages itself to the audio space: Anshuman Jha

In this exclusive interview, actor Anshuman Jha talks about his debut in the audio-based medium with the audiobook ‘Bombay Stranglers Ke Khauffnaak Tapes.’ He extensively describes his experience working on the project with writer Piyush Jha.

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Anshuman Jha

Actor Anshuman Jha’s debut Audible Original, Bombay Strangler Ke Khauffnaak Tapes, written by author Piyush Jha, is gaining acclaim from the fans of the emerging community of audiobook-lovers. We hosted Anshuman for a frank interview as part of our special series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

We firstly asked the actor about what convinced him to take up his first audio-based project. To this, Anshuman replied, “For an audio debut for me, something had to be unique and exciting enough.” Expressing gratitude for the role, he said, “All credit for it should go to Mr Piyush Jha who’s an exceptional writer. He has written some bestselling books including Mumbaistan which I really like.” According to the actor, Piyush had made up his mind to cast Anshuman as the narrator in the ideation stage itself.

Talking about the audiobook, Anshuman stated, “Bombay Strangler… is essentially a suspense thriller. It’s a genre I personally love. It’s a genre that also leverages itself to the audio space.” He described his experience with the audio-based medium and said, “I have heard it and I was really amazed because it sucks you into the universe, and to think that you don’t have any visuals and still be so mesmerized and so affected by what you’re listening.”

“It can be done simultaneously. So you could be driving and listening; you could be cooking and listening… It’s not something that needs all your focused attention,” said Anshuman while talking about why the new medium is a disruptive force in the entertainment industry.

We then asked Jha about the extra efforts he had to put in to convey expressions using just his voice.”A bit of both because by nature, the way I am, I can’t do anything just like that. So I asked Piyush sir what’s the space,” said the actor. He added, “The beauty about Bombay Strangler… is that it happens over a space of ‘X’ number of days.” Explaining that the script required a lot of tension in the storytelling, Anshuman said, “There had to be a lot of energy.”

Speaking about challenges he had to overcome for his debut role in an audiobook, Anshuman revealed, “For me, the preparation was how to break my pre-conceived notion of being subtle with voice because I had to be subtle in a different way.” Appreciating the support he received from the production team, the actor stated, “I’m very, very grateful that I got to be a part of it.”

For our last question, we asked Anshuman about his plans for 2022, to which he revealed his biggest plan of the year, “I think I’m gonna get married this year, firstly. That’s gonna happen because it’s been long pending and we’ve been waiting for COVID to go.” He further expressed hope of the world getting rid of the pandemic. “Before a flame extinguishes, it gives its last sparks. So I hope it’s the last bit that it’s doing and now it leaves us,” said the actor hopefully.



Watch the full interview here:

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