DMK government makes two big U-turns on a single day, withholds factory bill, amends liquor rules

CM Stalin put on hold The Factories Bill that allowed 12-hour work in factories

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin | PTI Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin | PTI

It was a day of criticisms and comments against the DMK government on Monday. While the Income tax raids at G Square and at the residence of a sitting MLA turned into a huge embarrassment for the ruling DMK, the government was forced to withhold two controversial policy decisions - the bill permitting 12-hour work for industries and factory workers and the government order allowing liquor licences in marriage and banquet halls.

The controversial 12-hour work bill

Amidst strong opposition, the state government on April 21 adopted the controversial bill allowing 12-hours work time in factories. Called as The Factories (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2023, the bill allowed extending of the working hours for the factory workers from 8 hours to 12 hours. The bill was passed by voice vote in the Assembly amid opposition by DMK’s own political allies, including the Congress. It was hours before the bill was introduced in the Assembly that the members of DMK allies called on chief minister MK Stalin to brief him the consequences of the bill. However the bill was passed in the Assembly, even when the Left parties and the congress staged a walk out. They also demanded immediate withdrawal of the bill. 

However after facing a huge backlash from various sections of people, the government on Monday held talks with the trade unions, including the union associated with the ruling DMK. Three ministers - EV Velu, CV Ganesan and TM Anbarasan held talks with representatives of 20 trade unions. All the trade unions strongly opposed the bill. The unions said that the entire bill has to be withheld and tweaking the bill will not work. Later in the day in a statement, Chief Minister Stalin said that “Based on the views expressed by the trade unions and political parties, the implementation of The Factories (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2023 is put on hold."

Amending liquor rules 

After being criticised for the Government Order giving permission for serving liquor in marriage halls and non-commercial premises during household functions, Tamil Nadu government chose to withdraw one particular clause in the order. According to an official press release issued by the government on Monday, the state government revoked the decision to give special licences allowing liquor in marriage halls, banquet halls and non-commercial premises.

In a government order issued on Monday which has been immediately recorded in the government gazette, "the commissioner of prohibition and excise has stated that the words celebrations/ festivals, etc., wherever found (in the earlier GO issued on March 18) may be deleted." Earlier in the day minister for electricity, prohibition and excise V Senthil Balaji had told the media that the government will not allow serving of liquor in wedding halls. 


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