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The new millennium heralds the beginning of an era which will be devoted to an intensive pursuit of knowledge, information and skills. It will be a millennium where there will be revolutionary changes in communication. Today’s up date would become stale tomorrow. The quest for knowledge, information and skills would be reinforced by reform and enlightenment of the human mind, replacement of mindsets by a rational and scientific temper and harnessing the findings of scientific and technological research for the larger benefits of the deprived sections of the society.
The role of the Ministry of Labour in the new millennium needs to be perceived and internalised in this perspective. This is one of the oldest and largest Ministries of Government of India. During its existence of over 50 years, the Ministry has passed through numerous vicissitudes. There have been new initiatives and significant achievements as well. New Divisions on emigration and child labour have been opened, laws on health, safety, welfare and social security of workers in both organised and informal sectors have been enacted, new welfare schemes have been introduced with simultaneous increase in budgetary outlays. A series of exercises (seminars, symposia, workshops, study groups) have been undertaken to churn the critical consciousness of society towards recognising and upholding the dignity, equality and freedom of labour. India as a founding and non-elective permanent member of the ILO has made its presence felt and contributed substantially towards adoption of a number of progressive international instruments. There has, however, not been any basic change in the fundamental objective of the Ministry which lies in protecting and safeguarding the interests of the working class in general and those who constitute the poor, deprived and disadvantaged sections of the society in particular. It is for promoting, protecting and preserving their health, safety and welfare that a number of legislative and executive initiatives have been taken. The Ministry which is committed to the ethos and culture of tripartism, initiates the process of enacting a new law or bringing about changes in the existing laws only through a process of consultation with the social partners and after obtaining a consensus. A large institutional framework in the shape of Standing Labour Committee, Indian Labour Conference, Central Contract Labour Advisory Board, Central Minimum Wages Advisory Board and many other similar bodies exist to translate this laudable objective into reality. There have been ups and downs over the years in the history and culture of tripartism but the Ministry despite numerous constraints, challenges and limitations continues to strive to preserve its quintessence.
It was thought appropriate that we should bring out a small bulletin encompassing the basic information on the history of the Ministry, its organisational structure, activities of various divisions, attached and subordinate offices, independent, statutory and autonomous bodies with a view to providing access to the people both within and outside the country to basic information about the Ministry and its activities.

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