India

Media back PM Modi's labour reforms plan

Mr Modi's 'Make in India' campaign is aimed at boosting manufacturing in the country Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Modi's 'Make in India' campaign is aimed at boosting manufacturing in the country

Media in India are praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's labour reforms plan aimed at turning the country into a global manufacturing hub.

The reforms include plans to streamline labour laws and make scrutiny of factories transparent to curb harassment by government inspectors.

The initiative comes after Mr Modi launched a "Make in India" campaign last month which plans to cut red tape, develop infrastructure and make it easier for companies to do business.

It is widely felt that the cumbersome process of seeking permission to do business in India affects the willingness of foreign companies to invest.

Leading dailies are prominently reporting the story in front-page headlines.

"For Make in India, Narendra Modi kicks off labour reforms", reads the Hindustan Times headline.

Papers feel the "long-overdue" reforms will help improve India's image in the world.

"India ranks in the bottom third of the World Bank's ranking of nations in terms of ease of doing business… If India is to be a manufacturing power, the top third is what it should aim at. Mr Modi has moved the needle on this by unveiling a programme of labour law reform", says The Times of India.

The paper urges the PM "to make legislative changes which rationalise and simplify labour laws, introduce flexibility in the labour market and encourage formal sector employment in large-scale manufacturing units".

The Hindustan Times says the reforms are aimed at making "rules simpler and employee-friendly, removing arbitrary inspections at factories, reducing cumbersome paperwork and making India more investor-friendly".

Hindi paper Dainik Jagran feels "a change in labour laws is the need of the hour and not doing this will mean being unfair to labourers, industries and the country".

Meanwhile, papers are also urging the state governments to co-operate with the federal government to make the reforms a success.

"The litmus test of easing the process of carrying out business in India lies in getting states to transform their approach. The constitution splits responsibility for labour between centre and states… Mr Modi needs to use his current political standing and experience as chief minister to nudge states in the right direction", The Times of India says.

Terrorism warning

In other news, papers are reporting an assault on two men from India's north-eastern region in a Delhi suburb.

Reports say the men were beaten up with cricket bats and hockey sticks in Gurgaon's Sikandarpur village.

The incident comes after a recent attack on another north-eastern man in the southern city of Bangalore.

The Indian Express has described the incident as another possible "racist attack" on people from northeast India.

However, a senior police official in Gurgaon termed it a "drunken brawl" rather than a "hate crime".

These cases highlight discrimination faced by indigenous minorities from India's north-east, who are ethnically closer to people in Burma and China.

Insurgency and violence have marked life in the north-east for many years and the states have been unable to share the fruits of India's economic growth.

Much of the isolation of the north-eastern states, collectively called The Seven Sisters of India, can be attributed to violence and a conspicuous presence of Indian troops in the region.

And finally, India's elite counterterrorism force, the National Security Guard, has warned that terror groups may try to carry out attacks in several cities across the country, the DNA website reports.

NSG Director-General JN Choudhury said major militant groups such Islamic State and Al-Qaeda could get together to launch a "multi-city multiple attack" on India, it adds.

Mr Choudhury said "it is more than a possibility" that global terror groups may find "allies" in militant groups which already have a presence in India, the website adds.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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