Indian delegation led by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour & Employment participated in the BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ Meet, held on 26-27th, July, 2017 at Chonqging, China. China is the chair for the BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ Meet for the year 2017. The delegation included M Sathiyavathy, Secretary( Labour and Employment), Manish Gupta, Joint Secretary, Anuja Bapat, Director and Prof Sasikumar, Sr. Fellow, VVGNLI.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration by the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers on 27th July 2017 in Chongqing, China. The Declaration covered a variety of areas that are of critical importance to all BRICS countries including India and called upon strengthening collaboration and cooperation on these through appropriate institutionalisation . These areas consisted of : “Governance in the Future of Work”, “Skills for development in BRICS”, “Universal and sustainable social security systems”, “BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutions”, “BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework” and “BRICS entrepreneurship research”.
On this occasion, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya said that the BRICS countries should collaborate to address the challenges of the ‘Future of Work’ emerging in the area of non-standard forms of employment like part-time work, temporary work, fixed term contracting and subcontracting, home based work, etc. that are changing the character of the labour markets in the BRICS countries. Networking of labour institutes of BRICS nations could create mechanisms for regular exchange of information and creating further areas of cooperation in this and other common areas.
Labour & Employment Minister reiterated that India has always adhered to the principle of CBDR in Global Supply Chain and was pleased that the BRICS countries echoed this policy stand. Shri Dattatreya added that technology could be a critical enabler for creating efficient and transparent labour governance structure and that in India ICT has been deployed to ensure effective, timely and efficient delivery of services and for creating simpler and transparent compliance structure in all areas including financial inclusion, social security, employment generation and skilling.
The Minister emphasized that skilling not only increases the employability of the workers but also the productivity of the employers which leads to a cycle of increased production, increased revenue stream and increased GDP of the country. India endorsed the BRICS Action Plan for Poverty Alleviation and reduction through Skills which inter alia includes policy recommendations to integrate poor into overall national plan for vocational training, improving lifelong vocational training and learning systems, promoting high quality apprenticeship systems, strengthening collaboration between Governments, sectors and enterprises for research initiatives, and leveraging the network of BRICS National Research Institutes for creating such alliances.
India complimented the Chinese Presidency for taking forward the commitments made collectively by BRICS during the previous presidencies in a very articulate manner. India supported the proposed institutionalization of Social Security Cooperation Framework for BRICS as it will help us understand strategies being followed by fellow BRICS countries towards universalisation of social security especially in respect of on standard forms of works. Minister said that asymmetry in labour market information is big challenge for all of us. In this context the network of National Labour Institutes presents significant possibilities for integrating research and information sharing. Shri Dattatreya said that the network will also help us to form common positions on relevant labour and employment issues. Encouraging innovation and Entrepreneurship is a key priority for India. India expressed her desire to work with BRICS partners in strengthening the BRICS Entrepreneurship Initiatives.
The BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration would now be presented to the Leaders/ Head of the State summit scheduled to be held on 3-5th, 2017 Xiamen, China.