The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently told the government that inter-ministerial and all-State national employment boards are needed to deal with the job crisis. These boards may include representatives of key Ministries, State Governments, industry experts and trade unions, who will look into barriers to job creation and address them, it said.

A national employment mission, with flexibility in hiring, tax incentives, education and skill development, and promotion of labour-intensive sectors, is also needed, according to CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee. The first among the suggestions in CII’s five-point agenda for the upcoming Budget is that States that introduce fixed-term employment and other labour law reforms should receive priority in new central infrastructure project funding.

Second, benefits under Section 80JJAA of the Income Tax Act should be extended for all workers earning up to Rs. 50,000 in any sector. The number of working days has been reduced to 150 for workers in the textile, garment, footwear and leather sectors, and this can be extended to all manufacturing sectors, CII feels.

The business chamber also wants the wage threshold under the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) to be raised to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 15,000, according to a report. Corporate income tax rebates should be considered for enterprises employing over a certain number of formal workers, CII feels. Lastly, skill vouchers and skill wallets may be provided to hone their skills.

CII said that States should have the power to determine minimum wages based on three criteria: Geographic location, skill and occupation. However, it cannot be lower than the minimum wage fixed by the Central Government. The concept of a national minimum wage will affect job creation, so it is necessary to give states power to fix their minimum wages, it feels. The government should fix minimum wages of unskilled workers; however, wages of skilled and semi-skilled labour force should be determined by market forces, CII added.