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Acceptable Conditions of Work
State government laws set minimum wages, hours of work, and safety and health standards. The Factories Act mandates an 8-hour workday, a 49-hour workweek, and minimum working conditions. These standards were generally enforced and accepted in the modern industrial sector; however, not observed in order and less economically stable industries.
Minimum wages varied according to the state and to the sector of industry. Such wages provided only a minimal standard of living for a worker and were inadequate to provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family. Most workers employed in units subject to the Factories Act received more than the minimum wage, including mandated bonuses and other benefits. The state governments set a separate minimum wage for agricultural workers but did not enforce it effectively. Some industries, such as the apparel and footwear industries, did not have a prescribed minimum wage in any of the states in which such industries operated.
State governments were responsible for enforcement of the Factories Act. However, the large number of industries covered by a small number of factory inspectors and the inspectors' limited training and susceptibility to bribery resulted in lax enforcement.
The enforcement of safety and health standards also was poor.
Industrial accidents continued to occur frequently due to improper enforcement of existing laws. Chemical industries were the most prone to accidents. According to the Director General of Mines' safety rules, mining companies must seal the entrances to abandoned underground mines and opencast mines were to be bulldozed and reforested. These rules seldom were obeyed. According to the Government, during the period from January to September 2001, 192 persons were killed in mining accidents. In June, flooding of a mine killed 17 miners in Andhra Pradesh.
Safety conditions tended to be better in the EPZs.
The law does not provide workers with the right to remove themselves from work situations that endanger health and safety without jeopardizing their continued employment.
Legal foreign workers were protected under the law; however, illegal foreign workers had no protection.
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