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History of Indian National Congress


Development of the Indian economy through Labour legislations: – an examination on how the Indian National Congress developed Indian economy by Labour legislations.

This proposal outlines the research I intend to undertake to complete the requirements of LLM.


History of Indian National Congress Party:-

Before discussing about the economic developments brought by legislations of Indian National Congress Party in India, there should be a fair idea about Indian National Congress Party.

The foundation of The Indian National Congress was laid on 28th December 1885 at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay with only 72 delegates attending the event. Allan Octavian Hume a prominent Englishman and civil servant then in India assumed office as general secretary and Womesh Chandra banerjee of Calcutta was elected president. Two other British members (both Scottish civil servants )were members of the founding group.

Primarily The Indian National Congress aimed at inculcating a feeling of National unity and eradicating differences arising out of race, creed and provisional prejudices. Moreover finding solution to the social problems of the country and seek the co-operation of all Indians in this doing and allow all to take part in the country’s administrative affairs. Then at the beginning The Indian National Congress Party had a dominance of prominent Hindu leaders which led to a negative notion amongst the prominent Muslim citizens of the country. Moreover the ordinary population of India was not at all concerned about the organization. Any issue addressed, may it be the social oppression or the prejudiced negligence of the peoples’ concerns by British Authority, lack of health care and poverty, was not heard and The Indian National Congress Party was perceived as an institution of then educated and wealthy people.

But it did not take Congress long to gain popularity. The members of The Indian National Congress understood the need to have a voice in the ruling British Government without which no changes can be brought about by the party. Among the very early members who understood the need and embraced the idea of Swaraj were Lokmanya tilak and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. There was an emergent need of voice in the government and this nationalist sentiment of being a part and representing the government bodies was personified by a prominent member Dadabhai Naoroji who successfully contested an election to the British House of Commons, thus becoming the eldest Indian statesman. He was aided in this election campaign by aspiring young students of India like Muhammad Ali Jinnah who later became the first prime minister of Pakistan. The Indian national Congress played the most important role under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in the liberation of India from the British rule. The Indian National Congress acted as the main platform for the National Freedom Struggle, beard the torch for secular politics and unified the divergent forces in the country. The Indian National Congress also laid the foundation for national parliamentary democracy.

On 15th August, 1947 India became independent with the Indian National Congress Supreme at center and in all state legislatures. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of India who described independence for the country to be freedom for her people. India under his leadership eventually emerged as the exemplar for all humanity with unity based on the celebration of diversity. From the very beginning of its independent existence, Indian government was reeling with poverty problem, rising unorganized labour sectors, rural illiteracy, extreme lack of infrastructure and basic amenities. While the main organized force behind making the Indian National Congress successful was the working class, distinctly. The historic dimensions of labour and employee legislations date back to the times of Indian freedom movement, when the Indian National Congress focused on the poor state of the labour class under the British rule. The struggle for freedom of India was mainly supported by civil disobedience which meant that no worker would work inflicting loss to the British Government.

Background of labour legislation by the Indian National Congress in India

After Independence, naturally, the labouring class of India kept high hopes from the Indian National Congress and wanted much preference. But the early prime ministers of India representing the Indian National Congress were unable to recognize this fact which led to rise to unpopularity among them. When Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India from the Indian National Congress, she recognized the issue and galvanized the party with a slogan “Garibi Hatao�. This established an integral and dynamic link with the downtrodden, poorest of the poor and the underprivileged giving impetus to economic growth, social justice and combined industrialization with technological development, agriculture and self reliance.

This era can be marked in the history of the India by significant labour legislations to cope up with the growing industrialization in the country. The primary employee of an industry is its labour force. The labour force in India migrated from the rural areas to the urban areas and was classified as arrogant, illiterate, uncontrollable, undisciplined, untrained and unskilled; this assessment was made on the organized labour which constituted only 8% of the country’s total labour force. The rest fell under the category of unorganized sector who were not totally taken care of.

The then Indian employee legislation, oriented to the safeguarding of employees and protecting them against all exploitation. These government controlled legislation were bannered under labour commissioners, labour officer conciliation, inspectorates, enforcement officers and others.

The Indian National Congress also aimed by these legislations to the grooming of employees by industrial training. On the contrary, it was natural on the part of the Indian employer to extend his arms towards maximum profits, who invested money, in setting up and running an organization, through their own sources or by joint venture or by loans from different financial institution. This resulted in the exploitation of human resource and reduced quality of production under the wrong notion of more production at low cost. Simultaneously, the employers were surrounded by “Yes Sir� officers who were unable to give proper advice when a crisis emerged. All the managers namely labour, personal or the human resource managers were ill-equipped to achieve industrial harmony and peace or industrial democracy. The executives thus needed urgent training in labour legislations, sociology, psychology etc. The trade unions, a necessary evil, stood as a headache for the government. The trade union movement dates back to the pre independent era in India and is still a ripe and proper source for the working class to get themselves heard by the authorities and government.

The Indian National Congress tried its level best to codify the labour laws. To guarantee protection and social security to the labouring class the Indian National Congress led government enacted several labour laws, such as:-

The Factories Act of 1948

The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948

The Minimum Wages Act.

The Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

The Payment of Bonus Act,1965

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1962

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Each and every Act above listed had specific purposes.


Though the reformatory labour legislations by the Indian National Congress have brought forward economic boom in India. The main purpose of it was to secure the interests and well being of the labour class and encourage more people to work in industries hence promoting speedy industrialization of the nation. Over the years, the main agenda and purpose behind those legislations have lost their significance. The labour legislations have significantly shown parallel dimensions, one detrimental another betterment and advancement of lives of the working class along with the socio-economic condition of the country respectively.

A review on Indian labour laws consisting rights of labours is urgently needed, particularly keeping in mind the growth of industry and services. The most important issues which were identified over the years in the area of labour reforms are multiple and parallel labour legislations, issues relating to appropriate government and jurisdictions, multiplicity of authorities, lack of uniformity in definition, minimum wages and malicious inspection reports. There also are some loopholes in legislations on recently evolved industry times like the SEZ’s.

In the recent years it has been witnessed that the ruling government i.e. the Indian National Congress party is losing its tracks of labour welfare and drifting towards globalization of the economy, whilst the working class is getting exploited as new scopes of legislations are evolving which have less or no governing labour legislations to facilitate them. This work will investigate the problems encountered by the different sectors of the labouring class, the discrepancies in labour legislations and try to find solution to the emerging problems and loop holes in the legislations.

This research will provide a rigorous analysis of the available academic literature, government commission reports and legal reviews combined with primary research into the ways the legal legislations in India brought forward national economic growth and how can this growth be made sustainable by correcting the flaws and loopholes in the legislation of labour laws, making them at par with the present boom in economy and national industrial growth.


“a critical evaluation on the development of Indian economy through labour legislations by the Indian National Congress party.�


A critical investigation on the political and legal development within Indian society during the rule of the Indian National Congress party.

A critical analysis of the impact of the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations on the Indian economy.

Present status of socio economic conditions of India brought forward by the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations.


“A nation may do without its millionaires and without its capitalists, but a nation can never do without its labour�- (Mahatma Gandhi)

India is a federal republic. Constitutionally she is a “sovereign secular democratic republicâ€?. In the eighteenth century, while under British rule, India was not only a great agricultural country but also a great manufacturing country too. The looms supplied by India fed the European and Asian countries. But the British Government as a matter of policy discouraged the Indian manufacturers to encourage the rising manufacturers of England. The British oppression led to the rise and growth of the Indian Nationalism with the Indian National Congress party in the forefront. The urge of economic reforms and industrialization was evident in India from that very era. Eventually planned industrialization became India’s main goal for economic development. After gaining independence the ruling Indian National Congress party immediately understood the need of industrialization to strengthen the economy and bring overall national development. The newly elected to power Indian National Congress party then knew its need to protect, promote and safeguard the interests of the labour and working class to serve both its political purpose and to uphold the country’s economy. In India there have been a number of labour legislations till date for the purpose of promoting the interests of labour keeping in view the industrial development and growth national economy. Before independence, India hardly had any labour welfare schemes. Soon after independence, the government adopted the industrial truce resolution in December 1947. Following this several legislations were enacted like Factories Act 1948, Employees State Insurance Act 1948, The payment of Bonus Act 1965 and Minimum Wages Act 1948.


There is a sea of academic literature on Indian labour legislations and enactments by the Indian National Congress party, so it is especially necessary to ensure that the literature review remains focused on the research objectives. I have trawled academic search engines fairly well for this proposal, but will need to continue this to ensure the pool of academic papers and books available to me is comprehensive.


This research will follow interpretive and positive research philosophy, a deductive research approach along with a qualitative research strategy.

Why a positive and interpretive research philosophy?

The research philosophy adopted for a piece of primary research under pins the way that research is carried out by defining “the way [the researcher] think about the development of knowledge (Saunders et al 2003). Here a positive and the interpretive research philosophy can be applied because the labour legislations done by Indian national congress have had a positive effect on the growth of the Indian economy as a whole. This philosophy can be understood by reviewing the history of Indian national politics, its policies and the enactment of specific labour laws facilitating healthy industrial growth by promotion of labour welfare policies along with safe guarding employer interests.


There is increasing research available on the success and failures of Indian labour legislations, the contributions of the Indian National congress party to the development and upliftment of Indian socio economic standards, labour laws facilitating healthy industrialization and industrial policies etc. While the objectives of this research proposal are clear:- A critical investigation on the political and legal development within Indian society during the rule of the Indian National Congress party, A critical analysis of the impact of the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations on the Indian economy, Present status of socio economic conditions of India brought forward by the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations. This would suggest a deductive approach to the research although, as with the research philosophy, a pure approach of either a wholly inductive or wholly deductive approach is unlikely. So overall, this research will generally follow a deductive approach, with some of the ingredients of induction.


This research will be underpinned by a series of structured interviews with academic persons, leading labour lawyers, sociologists and if possible member politicians of the Indian National Congress Party. A quantitative approach is not being taken as the type of research questions and the time available for the research would suggest that a small number of in-depth interviews are likely to provide sufficient information to the insight of the issue.


Secondary research

Critical examination of the existing academic literature will be an important element of the dissertation and will help in the formulation of questions to ask in the primary research. In essence, I will research and critically analyze published literature on labour legislation in the pre and post independence era of India, Indian national Congress party’s popularity and growth due to labour support, the Indian national Congress party’s attempts to organize the work force in the nation through labour legislation, positive effects on the Indian economy due to good and timely labour and industrial law enactments. Efforts will also be made to identify the problems in labour legislations with the attempt to underline the loop holes in the laws enacted. Finally the review will consider literature which identifies the qualities of a good evaluation checklist.

Primary research

The Primary research will in the first instance compare the existing labour laws in India with the industrial growth. Attempts will also be taken to compare the political success of the Indian National Congress relating to the legislations it brought forward. A comparative study on the legislations of labour policies and economic boom in India will also be done.

Approaches will then be made to potential interviewees from the following groups :-

Academic personalities

A few leading labour lawyers


And possibly a handful of member politicians of the Indian National Congress Party

A structured questionnaire for use in interviewing the above will be drafted for comment from my dissertation supervisor,

Interviews will then be arranged and carried out using a structured interview approach to determine views on (a) on the political and legal development within Indian society during the rule of the Indian National Congress party (b) on the impact of the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations on the Indian economy. (c) on the present status of socio economic conditions of India brought forward by the Indian National Congress party’s labour legislations.

Based on the above research produce conclusions, recommendations and a discussion paper for outlining the further labour legislations scopes in less legislated labour issues in India.


Firstly, I do not intend to interview many sociologists and member politicians of the Indian Nation Congress party. This is due to the reason that this group of men are not easily accessible and the data that can be extracted from the politicians will be inadequate as they were not in activity in the past years of pre independence to immediate post independence era.

Secondly, the time available to me for completion of this research will be a factor. I would get only 3 days a week to concentrate on my research work as a whole.

Third of all there should be great difficulty to gain access to the sources interviewed as all of them have busy schedules and facilitating me with an appointment to answer my questionnaire will be difficult and problematic for them.

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