Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 28 June 2024

Ensure global giants adhere to labour laws

Relevance: GS Paper II

Why in News?

India cannot maximise its growth opportunities unless more women join the workforce, and their marital status should not impede it. 

More About News: 

After reporting that Foxconn, a leading Apple iPhone manufacturer, is averse to hiring married women at its plant in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. Hiring agencies have unofficial instructions to hire unmarried women, citing potential absenteeism due to childbirth and concerns about ornamental jewelry interfering with manufacturing.

  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government.
  • Foxconn informed the Union government that a quarter of its new hires are married women and that its safety protocol, which requires that all employees avoid wearing metal irrespective of gender and religion, is not discriminatory.

Legal and Policy Context:

  • India’s labour laws do not make any provision against discriminating on the grounds of marital status. 
  • While the Union Government has proposed new labour codes which make hiring and firing easier, and prevent gender discrimination in workplaces, 
    • They also do not have specific provisions on the issue of not hiring workers based on their marital status.

Role of Women in Growth: 

  • Even against the backdrop of strong economic growth, the labour force participation of women in India is abysmal. 
  • The Prime Minister has rightly put women at the centre of the government’s initiatives to boost economic growth and income levels. 
    • However there is still a lot to be done, and instances like the one at Foxconn undermine his stance, and that of a progressive state like Tamil Nadu.
  • The Supreme Court in the 1960s observed no proof that married women are more likely to be absent than unmarried women.

Broader Implications and Challenges:

  • According to official data, the female workforce participation was 37 percent in 2022-2023, compared with nearly 80 per cent for men.
  • The report about Foxconn and other companies may also serve as a litmus test for governments that actively court foreign companies to set up manufacturing units, warehouses, and  job creation.
  • States compete with one another as such proposals bring in investment and create jobs.
    • Amazon India has also been under fire this month amid allegations of labour law violations at the e-commerce giant’s warehouse in Manesar, Haryana. Workers complained of the lack of water and toilet breaks amidst a severe heatwave.


These incidents highlight the importance of rigorous enforcement of labour laws to safeguard workers' rights and ensure equitable income levels. While foreign investments are vital for India's economic development, it is imperative that they comply with local labour laws and uphold principles of non-discrimination. Addressing issues like discriminatory hiring practices based on marital status is crucial not only for gender equality but also for maximizing India's growth potential by ensuring full and fair participation of all segments of society in the workforce.

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