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Current Affairs

Government allows women to work in underground mines

Date: 05 February 2019 Tags: miscellaneous

Union Ministry of Labour has allowed women to work in underground mines and eased restrictions that prohibited them from working night shifts (7 pm and 6 am) in surface mines or open cast mines. This move is aimed at bringing about greater gender equality and generates more employment opportunities for women in mining sector.

New Rules

  • It amends Section 46 of Mines Act, 1952 which earlier restricted women from working in mines as it was considered hazardous.
  • It allows owner of mine to deploy women between 7 pm and 6 am in any mine above ground.
  • In the case of underground mines, women can be deployed between 7 pm and 6 am in supervisory, technical and managerial work where continuous presence may not be required.
  • Such deployments will be made after obtaining written consent of woman and shall be in a group of not less than three women in a shift.
  • Women will be also provided with adequate facilities and safeguards regarding occupational safety, security and health.
  • In addition, deployment will be subject to framing and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on basis of guidelines issued by Chief Inspector of Mines from time to time.

Background

Earlier, employment of women in opencast and underground mines was restricted under Mines Act, 1952 due to hazardous nature of work. It also restricted employment of women in opencast or above ground workings of mine during night hours between 7 pm and 6 am. There was demand from several women employees’ groups, mining industry and students enrolled with various institutions pursuing mining engineering courses at different forums, requesting government to provide women equal employment opportunity for working in mines.