Speech of Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge, Hon’ble Labour & Employment Minister, Government of India – June 6, 2012
101st Session of ILC (Geneva)
Theme - Future strategies, activities and programs of ILO
1. The journey of ILO over the last more than nine decades has been eventful and full of important milestones. The last eleven years have been particularly effective under the stewardship of Mr. Juan Somavia and India wishes to place on record its deep appreciation of his contribution to the world of work. We are also confident that under the experienced leadership of Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO will achieve new heights of excellence in the years to come
2. The primary function of ILO is standard setting and their application. Many of the ILO Conventions are outdated and need to be revised as identified by Cartier Working Party. Even the core conventions have failed to achieve universal ratification due to lack of flexibility. ILO should undertake in-depth analysis to put in place a standards strategy which encourages steps like progressive ratification of a Convention. The choice of topics for future standard setting should be widened according to the requirements of all ILO member states having diverse socio-economic conditions.
3. In the years to come, ILO must maintain its leadership in the subjects related to labour since it has the unique advantage of tripartite structure, transparency and the ability to obtain inputs from real economy. In the recent years we have seen moves by various organizations to enter into the area of labour standards. Mushrooming of various types of voluntary standards and CSR standards are a clear indication of attempts to marginalize the role of ILO. Moreover, in the area of labour inspection several accreditation agencies and third party inspections are being encouraged whereas ILO Convention No. 81 clearly states that labour inspection is the responsibility of Governments. ILO should be very watchful of this situation.
4. While we welcome coordination of ILO with other international organizations for protection of workers’ rights, ILO should keep away from areas of operation which are the principal mandate of other international organizations. The international labour scenario is facing new challenges in the form of reduced job opportunities on account of the financial crisis coupled with jobless growth. We urge that ILO should concentrate its limited resources on these challenges and its core areas of operation.
5. Technical cooperation projects to be sustainable and effective must be planned and executed by recipient countries reflecting their priorities.
6. ILO should continue to make labour markets work better by assisting in improving information and analysis, provide technical advice on skills and employability, promote freedom of association, collective bargaining, social dialogue and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. India has always encouraged the policy of live and let live and believed in furthering the interests of both workers and employers through a healthy tripartite mechanism. I take this opportunity to firmly reiterate India’s commitment to the ideals of ILO and assure our full cooperation in this partnership.