15 June : The Union Minister of Labour & Employment Shri Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the global financial crisis calls for international cooperation for reform in financial architecture. He said that we have been actively participating in its fashioning and look forward to its early institutionalization. The Minister was addressing the ILO Global Summit today on the issue of “Financial Crises & Job Losses” currently underway in Geneva.
Shri Kharge said that the financial crisis and its adverse implications for international migrant workers provide a timely opportunity for the social partners to discuss issues relating to the provision of social security benefits for the migrant workers including its portability. He said that the crisis has put to test the relevance of multilateral institutions and added that decent work and sustained employment are central to the recovery. ILO has an all important role creating conditions for a fair globalization, he pointed out.
The Labour Minister said that the major social costs of this crisis are borne by the innocent. Welcoming the proposed Global Jobs Pact, Shri Kharge said that it is an important initiative, which can deal with this global challenge.
Referring to the impact of the crisis in India, he said that it has not been as critical in India as in some developed countries primarily because “our banks and financial authorities all along followed prudent and balanced policies”. He however said that the export intensive manufacturing and service sector are affected badly but added that the overall business confidence is coming back progressively.
He said that mindful of the magnitude of this still deepening crisis, Government of India has taken counter cyclical measures and at the national level, Indian Government’s response has been swift and, as recent developments indicate, beneficial. He said that the Reserve Bank of India took special measures and there has been an expansion of liquidity in the banking system. Shri Kharge informed the participants that the reflationary package administered through the record increase in Central Government expenditure and relaxation of prudential norms to assist employment intensive, infrastructure and housing sector, has had a desirable impact.
Shri Kharge said that India has also taken several measures to protect the most vulnerable by extending social protection and unemployment benefits, facilitating additional training and targeted safety nets. In this context, the Minister mentioned the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Scheme which has been lauded and recognised by ILO and said that this scheme is coupled with Government initiatives to provide a cashless smartcard based health insurance scheme for the poorest families in the unorganized sector. He said that the Government has enacted a special law to provide social security to informal workers and a New Pension System (NPS) has also been introduced which is voluntary and universal to provide a massive social security net.
Shri Mallikarjun said that the skill development is an important policy tool and the Prime Minister is leading this initiative. The recently promulgated National Skill Development Policy aims to train 500 million workers by 2022, he informed and said that a National Skill Development Corporation has been set up to channelize Corporate Sector support for skill building.