Statement by Hon’ble Minister of Labour and Employment, Government of India, at the meeting of Ministers of Labour of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) (Geneva, 12 June 2012)
1. Your Excellency, Minister of Labour of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Chairperson of the Ministerial meeting of the NAM Ministers of Labour, Honourable Ministers, Heads of Delegations and distinguished delegates.
2. On behalf of Government of India, I would like to express our whole-hearted appreciation to Your Excellency for upholding the tradition of organizing this important meeting of NAM Labour Ministers on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference. As a founding member of NAM, once again I would like to reaffirm India’s firm commitment to the values, philosophy and principles of the Non-aligned Movement.
3. The developing countries belonging to the Non Aligned Movement are facing common challenges. There are serious problems of unemployment and under-employment due to recession. The growth patterns which are emerging are leading to jobless growth. This is leading to break down of social cohesion. Also there are serious environmental problems due to unsustainable patterns of consumption in the developed economies. We have common challenges of ensuring full and quality employment to our people. We need to ensure that there is a healthy and job rich growth in our respective societies. The fruits of development have to reach at the bottom of the pyramid. The segments which have been worst hit by the recession are the vulnerable sections of the society. These include women, physically challenged, domestic workers, migrant workers and people living on the brink of poverty in the informal sectors. We need to ensure that fruits of development reach them. We need to ensure them assured employment, decent minimum wages, food security, health cover, education benefits and adequate social protection.
4. The developing countries share a number of similarities. We have common problems. Our populations are at similar levels of development. Our circumstances are similar. A number of our people live in informal economies. The problems of agricultural and rural labour are different from those of organized sector. We need to share our experiences of ensuring that the benefits of employment, wage protection measures and social protection schemes reach the unorganized sector. The demographic dividend of the developing countries can best be realized by increasing the employability of the work force. We need to come out with innovative models to provide skill training to our workers both in the organized and unorganized sector.
5. Recent times have seen an increasing trend of overlapping mandates of UN organizations. Given the budgetary constraints it is important that focus should be on the core mandate. Furthermore, in the times of Global Economic Crisis, it is salient to make judicious use of limited financial resources.
6. Economic & financial stability is a precondition to growth. The recent crisis taught us that a strong balanced growth path requires much more. Building an employment oriented framework is necessary. Our future economic growth depends on greater coordination of policies of our national governments and international bodies. Achieving policy coherence beyond words requires a concrete framework of policy actions. What is at stake is to wisely balance priorities and sequence actions, smartly linking labour market policies with all other economic policy strands. Policy planning with a particular focus on employment is critical to avoid long term structural unemployment and the resulting socio-economic repercussions.
7. It is important that developmental agenda of developing states is taken into consideration for policy formulations in the ILO. The Global Economic Crisis has proved once again the pivotal role of the States. The developing states must feel included in the institutional mechanism of ILO through constructive engagement and inclusive process. The role of States should be that of stakeholders rather than one of prescriptive accountability.
8. All of us in NAM share a common vision of a world free from hunger, poverty and malnutrition. We aspire for a more inclusive and equitable global order where the bottom billion are not left behind. We compliment ILO that it has taken up the agenda of social dimension of globalization in the right earnest. This would ensure that the benefits of globalization are not restricted to a chosen few but reach everybody. In the new economic scenario, I feel that there is a need to further strengthen the relevance of NAM. The coming together of the NAM countries on the sidelines of the ILC will pave the way for setting our shared interests and priorities.