The Ministry of Labour has lifted the time bar on the employment of women in mines across the country.
In exercise of the power conferred under sub-section (1) of Section 83 on the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952), the Ministry of Labour notified rules that allow employment of women in mines across the country. As per the latest notification, women can seek a job in mines without time bar. Previously Section 46 of the Act prohibited the employment of any women in any part of a mine which is below-ground and on ground, except between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The notification also provided that every woman employed in a mine above ground shall be allowed an interval of not less than 11 hours between the termination of employment on any one day and the commencement of the next period of working.
As per the notification, the mine owner can deploy women between 7 pm and 6 am in mine above ground, including opencast workings, and the employer has to obtain written consent of women employer before deploying her in the field. It is also the duty of the master to provide adequate facilities and safeguards regarding occupational safety, security and health of women employed.
The Chief Inspector of Mines has been conferred with the power to frame and implement the Standard Operating Procedures regarding the deployment of women.
The mine owner can deploy women for underground work between 6 am and 7 pm in technical, supervisory and managerial work where continuous presence is not required.
The Ministry of Labour & Employment took the decision following recommendations of the Section 12 committee set up under the Mines Act, 1952 and in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to allow the employment of women in above ground mines including opencast workings and in below ground vide Gazette Notification No. 393 ( S.O. 506(E)) dated 29 January 2019.