ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The World of Work

Labour Market Reforms and Legislation in India

Contemporary Reforms of Labour Market and Industrial Relations System in India: Ease of Doing Business versus Labour Rights, Essays in Honour of Prof Lalit Deshpande edited by K R Shyam Sundar, New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2018; pp 379, ₹ 1,495 (hardback).


As its title suggests, this important volume under review here focuses on labour market reforms and industrial relations in contemporary India, and has been put together to honour professor Lalit Deshpande, one of the doyens and most important labour economists in the country. It is edited by his student and an important scholar of labour rights and industrial relations, K R Shyam Sundar, who has been working on these issues for several years now. As stated in the author’s introduction to the volume, the two chosen themes have been of utmost importance in Deshpande’s writings, and his pioneering contributions to these areas are very well acknowledged by the academic and policy communities. It may also be noted, right at the outset, that the volume is a very significant contribution to the ongoing debates on both the themes, and provides rich insights, drawing on diverse perspectives and voices, to several important bones of contention in the world of work in contemporary India.

The book brings together contributions from academics, policymakers, political activists, and other important so-called “stakeholders,” who have been part of the discourses on labour law reforms and industrial relations in India, for many years. It consists of 16 chapters from diverse academic and political perspectives. The book is not divided into different sections as several themes recur across chapters; yet in terms of treatment of the larger questions, one may read it as progression through three parts. The first part, consisting of five chapters and the introduction by the editor, provides an overview of contemporary debates on labour law and governance reforms. In addition to the introduction, Shyam Sundar has three additional chapters. In the introductory chapter he tries to provide an overview of the book as a whole and his summary of different perspectives on the chosen themes by the contributing authors. In the second chapter, Sundar outlines the institutional framework of the main legal provisions and labour regulations, which he terms as the “governance system,” the politico-economic dynamics and inter-temporal structural changes could have received some more attention for the benefit of the general readers. The third chapter by Sundar outlines the labour law reforms strategy and traces the brief history of labour law reforms in the states.

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Updated On : 19th Jul, 2019
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