To encourage the establishment of large manufacturing units and boost generation of employment opportunities in the state, the Punjab Government has decided to amend the law and the rules to change the definition of such units, while ushering in a host of other reforms to make such industries to operate with ease.The state cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday approved the necessary amendments in Section 45 (4) of the Factories Act, 1948 and in Rules 2(A), 3 (A) and 70 (5) of Punjab Factory Rules 1952, to raise the threshold limit for defining a large factory from ‘more than five hundred workers’ to ‘more than one thousand workers’.The change was necessary to encourage the establishment of large manufacturing units, which industrialists were at present shy of doing on account of the conditions laid down years ago, many of which were no longer implementable in the current scenario. For instance, under the existing Section 45 (4) of the Factories Act, 1948, an Ambulance room is mandatory for factories employing more than 500 workers. When such provisions were envisaged, the factories employing such large number of workers were located away from the cities. Moreover, the modes of transport and communication were negligible. Further, provisions of ESI Act were not applicable to such factories due to non-implementation area as pe the ESI Act, and private hospital facilities were not available nearby. This necessitated the provision of having an ambulance room on the premises, which is no longer the case in view of the better means of transportation and communication that exist today, with a number hospitals/nursing homes also available around such factories. According to a government spokesman, the rights and liberties of workers will remain fully protected even after these amendments, aimed at facilitating quicker revival of the industry.Meanwhile, with a view to facilitating the industry, and to make optimum use of the facilities and manpower available with the leading technical institutions, the Cabinet has also approved amendment in rule 2 (A) to declare such leading technical institutions as competent persons for the purpose of section 6 of the Factories Act, 1948. The said amendment has declared reputed engineering institutes viz PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh College of Engineering & Technology, Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College as ‘competent person’. With the amendment, certification done by these institutions would be accepted only when such certification is signed by the head of the Civil/Structural Engineer Department and Head of the institution.In yet another amendment, the Cabinet has decided to change Rule 3 (A) to allow certain changes, like office construction, car shed, boundary wall etc, without the need for prior approval to be taken by the factory. At present, the industrial units are required to get the Building Plan approved again and again, which results in lot of harassment to the industry.