Thursday, October 20, 2011

Union Minister of Labour & Employment Shri Mallikarjun Kharge has emphasized the need to speedily implement programmes for harnessing its 'demographic dividend' of estimated youth population of 51 crore persons by 2016 in the age group of 15-35. Addressing the 44th Session of Labour Standing Committee here in New Delhi today the minister said if not done so the same may turn into a liability.

Shri Kharge said a well-structured mechanism has evolved with the establishment of the Indian Labour Conference, the Standing Labour Committee and various other tripartite bodies to deal with issues such as minimum wages, social security benefits, education, training, safety and health. Initiatives like MGNREGA, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, Right to Education, Food Security measures and Right to Information have provided a proper foundation for development for our disadvantaged countrymen. Improving the living and working conditions of our workmen has always been the cornerstone of our Government policy. These measures under taken by Government of India have been appreciated at various fora world over, including the G-20 Labour Ministerial, which I attended recently.

He said Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development. Quality employment and appropriate skilling of the work force are the major challenges before us. We need to create a huge infrastructure for skill training and certification. Imparting training to the informal sector and keeping pace with the demands of the industry is equally important. He said we have arranged resources for upgradation of all our Government ITIs. Most of these ventures have been undertaken through Public Private Partnership and we have also received enthusiastic response from the State Governments. Our next major initiative is going to be the establishment of new ITIs and Skill Development Centers. Another significant step undertaken is Skill Development Initiative under which informal workers will be trained in short term courses certified under Modular Employable Skills framework. This will be especially helpful for the school dropouts and unskilled workers. Till now, curriculum for 1200 courses has been developed. Government is also focusing on sectors like construction, real estate, tourism, Small and Medium Enterprises, transport, etc., which are labour intensive. The minister said Special attention is being given to the 'Gender dimension' and 'Employability by increasing IT literacy'. Our Mission Mode Project for upgradation of Employment Exchanges is going to be one of the most important E-Governance initiatives.

Referring to the earlier discussions on the rationalization of Labour Laws in the past in the meetings of National Commission on Labour, State Labour Minister Conference, Indian Labour Conference, etc the Minister said the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) has also reiterated that there is need to formulate a National Labour Code in the form of basic law which should lay down a floor of substantive labour rights or standards such as Minimum Wages, Maximum Hours of Work, Minimum standards of safety and health at workplace and so on. Also, 'Recognition' of trade unions is and Verification of the membership of trade unions are the issues gaining a lot of importance in the Industrial Establishments. He said the present system of verification like secret ballot, check off, etc., needs to be closely examined further for evolving an improved system which is more transparent and brings out the proper representation.

On the demand of Trade Unions to amend the Contract Labour Act, 1970 to provide for automatic absorption of contract labour in the event of prohibition of employment of contract labour and opposition by the employers' organizations Shri Kharge said his ministry has been making efforts to protect the interests of all stakeholders and try to extend the same benefits to contract workers which are otherwise available to permanent workers. He expressed the hope that present Session of Standing Labour Committee will be quite productive and will lead to selection of Agenda items for the next Indian Labour Conference which are relevant and touch upon the core issues related to the 'World of Work'. The views of the various stakeholders present in the meeting will act as precious inputs for facilitating Government's decision making for formulation of Schemes and bringing in important legislation.

The detailed the agenda for to days meeting included five items, namely-(i) Verification of membership of Trade Unions (ii) Improvements in the working conditions of Contract Labour (iii) Ratification of ILO Core Conventions (iv) Enhancing employability and employment and (v) Rationalization of Labour Laws.

During the meeting 3 vice chairman were selected. They are Shri C.K. Sajinarayanan (Workers representative), Shri Shyam Bang (Employers representative) and Shri Shibu Baby John, Minister of Labour, Government of Kerala (State Governments representatives).The State Minister of Labours Participating in the session were: Shri Janardan Singh 'Sigriwal' from Bihar, Shri Chandra Shakher Sahu from Chattisgarh, Shri Rama Kant Goswami from Delhi, Pndit Shiv Charan Lal Shrma From Hariyana, Shri P. Parijat Singh from Manipur, Shri B.N Bachegowda from Karnataka, Shri Shibhu Baby John from Kerala and Shri Manik Dey from Tripura.

The Central Ministries participating in the meeting were Agriculture & Cooperation, Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Coal, Commerce, Economic Affairs, Environment & Forests, Financial Services, Heavy Industries, Health & Family Welfare, Home Affairs (Inter State Council), Industrial Policy & Promotion, Khadi and Small and Medium Enterprises, Mines, Overseas Indian Affairs, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Planning Commission, Posts, Power, Public Enterprises, Railways, Revenue, Road Transport & Highways, Rural Development, Social Justice & Empowerment, Steel Telecommunications, Textiles, Urban Development and Women & Child Development. From Employers Group Council of Indian Employers, All India Manufacturers' Organization, Laghu Udhyog Bharati, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India. From Workers Group Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre, Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trades Union Congress (UTUC) and National Front of Indian Trade Unions –Dhanbad (NFITU-DHN).

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