Delhi LG asks AAP govt to send names for labour welfare board, or explain why it can’t

The LG and AAP government have had many rows in the past several months including the one over probes ordered by Saxena on complaints of corruption and the issue of sending teachers for training to Finland.

New Delhi: In yet another flashpoint between the two, Delhi LG VK Saxena has asked the AAP government to reconstitute the Labour Welfare Board appointing suitable members or communicate opinion on the matter so that it could be referred to the President, sources said.

No immediate reaction could be had from the AAP on the matter.

The LG and AAP government have had many rows in the past several months including the one over probes ordered by Saxena on complaints of corruption and the issue of sending teachers for training to Finland.

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The labour welfare body remains without an executive board even after two years due to an impasse over eligibility criteria for appointment of the members.

“The LG has asked for the Board to be constituted with members who have domain expertise in labour welfare or send the file to him for expressing difference of opinion,” sources at LG office said.

The AAP government sat on a file meant for re-constitution of the Delhi Labour Welfare Board (DLWB) for more than 14 months, between June, 2021 and September, 2022 and finally sent the proposal with names for approval of the Lt Governor on September 12, 2022, they claimed.

The names proposed by the then labour minister, Manish Sisodia, and approved by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were not as per the criteria for selection of such members, sources at LG Office said.

The members nominated to the Board, instead of being domain experts in labour welfare, were picked from among vaccination camp organisers, RWA presidents and individuals distributing food during Covid pandemic, they claimed.

The Lt Governor returned the file to the Chief Minister on November 21, 2022, with observations advising the Labour department to submit a panel of names for appointment after a thorough background check on their suitability and experience in related fields.

“Members of this Board perform important functions of welfare of labourers and therefore, it is important that such members must possess sufficient experience in the field of labour welfare.

“Such nominated members must demonstrate skill and expertise which reveal their capabilities to contribute to the cause of labour welfare,” the LG had observed.

In the proposed list, most of the nominees, especially nine of the 17 do not have appropriate experience or domain knowledge to effectively contribute for welfare activities and also it is difficult to ascertain if nominations of others are commensurate with the spirit of the law, the LG said in a note.

He had also suggested creation of a search committee for appointment of the members.

In its reply, the Delhi government submitted the file back on January 7, 2023, asking the LG to either agree to the names suggested by it or invoke difference of opinion as prescribed under Article 239AA(4) and Rule 49 and 50 of the Transaction of Business Rules, claimed the sources.

The LG office again returned the file to the Chief Minister’s office, on February 9, 2023, noting that in case the Chief Minister had different views on the issue, the matter may be referred to the Council of Ministers for its consideration.

He also expressed disagreement with the Labour Minister’s view, approved by the CM, that in the absence of any prescribed qualification for the members, the proposal of the government must be agreed upon.

The file was again submitted to the LG on February 22 this year, with the observation that as per amended Rule 49 of ToBR the issue was discussed by the LG with the Labour minister within a statutory time limit of 15 days.

“Thus, this case is legally time barred for Hon’ble LG to express any difference of opinion,” read the CM’s note .

The file has once again been returned to the CMO for the matter to be brought before the Council of Ministers, if the CM and the Labour minister do not agree with the LG over the issue, sources added.

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