Address at the ILO/Ministry of Labour & Employment (MOLE)/ILO: Launch of Decent Work Country Programme (2013-17)

By Ms Tine Staermose, Director, ILO DWT for South Asia and Country Office for India at the ILO/MOLE Launch of Decent Work Country Programme (2013-17), New Delhi, India, 17 December 2013

Statement | New Delhi, India | 17 December 2013
  • Mr. Pandey, Joint Secretary, MOLE
  • Mr. Adyanthaya, Workers’ Member, ILO GB
  • Mr. Pant, Representing Employers’ Organisations
  • Representatives from other ministries,
  • Sisters and brothers from our trade unions
  • Friends and partners from the employers organisations and the private sector
  • Representatives from the state level
  • H.E. Ambassador of Norway and other members of the diplomatic community
  • Colleagues from UN agencies and from other international agencies
  • Distinguished old friends and former colleagues of the ILO.

Let me extend a very warm welcome to all of you, our tripartite constituents and to our partners in India. It is indeed wonderful to see that so many of you have come today. We were also expecting our Deputy Director General Ms. Sandra Polaski, but she had to regret due to medical reasons.

Before we focus on the future work, let me thank all of you for the great achievements reached during the last DWCP. An independent evaluation was done and presented to the GB in November last year and is available in the public web.

Today we will present the new Decent Work Programme of the ILO and our partners in India for the period 2013 – 17. This Programme sets out the priority areas of our joint work and sets targets for what we can achieve within a five year period. All over the world the ILO uses Decent Work Country Programmes as the main vehicle to support countries. DWCPs have two basic objectives. They promote decent work as a key component of national development strategies. At the same time they organize ILO knowledge, instruments, advocacy and cooperation at the service of tripartite constituents in a results-based framework to advance the Decent Work Agenda within the fields of comparative advantage of the Organization. Tripartism and social dialogue are central to the planning and implementation of a coherent and integrated ILO programme of assistance to constituents in member States. Here in India, the DWCP has also been developed through a combination of research and analysis and through intense dialogue and consultation with our key partners, the Ministry of labour, the workers and employers organisations taking into account the existing national development frameworks and policies such as the 12th Five Year Plan. As many of you know, the ILO globally is currently undergoing major reforms and new structures are emerging informing our work. At the global level, eight areas of critical importance have been established and the DG Mr. Guy Ryder has also put forward the plans for his centenary Initiatives, as you know we will be celebrating our 100th years in 2019. The areas of critical importance were debated at the global level between representatives from all tripartite constituents and endorsed at the ILC in 2013. They are promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth, jobs and skills for youth, creating and extending social protection floors, productivity and working conditions in SMEs, promoting decent work in the rural economy, formalization of the informal economy, strengthening workplace compliance through labour inspection and protection of workers from unacceptable forms of work.

In addition, a programme like our DWCP in India, spanning five years will invariably have to be revisited continuously in order to remain relevant and forward-looking. This means that change and continuity are intertwined in the programme and presented in a manner that will allow the ILO to use and improve its established systems for results-based management which is crucial for its accountability while still moving forward, promptly and with determination.

We have a lot in common between the ILO and the peoples of India. When Guy Ryder, the attended the Indian Labour Conference in May this year, he highlighted the shared values of India and the ILO reflected in India’s Constitution which is a product of your struggle for freedom and the Constitution of the ILO where you will see common historical commitment to social justice and human dignity.

He also mentioned India’s new and important role on the international stage and called for a further strengthening of our partnership. Pursuing South South collaboration is modality we have already tested but perhaps it would be worth looking into how we can take a step or two further.

He also said that while the world is changing the ILO itself is changing to have the decent work agenda advance more strongly in the world. Our values do not change, but the way we work must change.

The way we work will ultimately be tested in our joint ability to implement this DWCP. The ILO’s strength lies in you: our tripartite partners…the government, the workers’ organisations and the employers’ organisations and all of you have an equal voice with us. The ILO house is like most families….different personalities within the same roof but as family we are committed to find a way to make it work….consultations and consensus building; some formal some informal, are key features, both in terms of how we work and what we assist in building. That is also why you will find these core priorities reflected in the new Five year programme which we present today: International Labour Standards, Employment and decent work generation, Social Protection and Industrial relations, Tripartism and Social Dialogue. The issue of gender and equality are critical for our work in India and they should be part of every single activity we undertake.

The ILO could not do without our knowledge partners, the experts and here in India we are so fortunate to be blessed with excellent researchers and institutions dealing with the labour market and we have strong partnerships that we treasure immensely. We also have strengthened our partnership with UN colleagues and you will see how the Outcome on a Social Protection Floor overlaps with our joint UN commitment under the UN Task Team, which is chaired by the ILO.

I would like to put on record my deep appreciation for a number of friends and colleagues for making it possible for us today to discuss the concrete way forward. Firstly Mr. Pandey, the Joint Secretary of MOLE with whom we have worked side by side for more than three years and who has provided valuable guidance on the shape of the Programme from the Government perspective. The previous Secretary of Labour Dr. Sarangi was a keen supporter and gave us much advise and our new Secretary of MOLE has already attended the GB of the ILO in October and is providing us with excellent support and guidance for the future. At the GB level in Geneva as well as in India, both Mr. Adyanthaya and Mr. Modi are extremely active in supporting the agenda of the ILO and all three constituents are playing a vital role for the ILO as strong and very active members, pushing the agenda of developing countries, something which we find vital for our work to remain relevant in today’s world. Our vast group of trade union friends, every one of you count and have contributed to the new programme and the same is true of our employers’ friends. Your large presence here today show witness of your ownership of the programme. We are very honoured and very privileged to have such a great team across our fields of interests and sometimes our differences. Finally let me thank the team in the ILO Delhi, led by my Deputy Ms. Boonpala, who in collaboration with Dr. Sher Verick, Sr. Employment Specialists and all colleagues from the DWT and Anjana Chellani and Ravichandran together with colleagues from the programming team have with great perseverance facilitated the consultations and drafting process.

We have organised today’s programme so that Dr. Sher Verick will start us off with a presentation of the current economic and labour market scenario in India to contextualize and anchor the presentation, which follows by Mr. Pandey, JS MOLE highlighting the DWCP Priorities and Outputs, and then we will hear statements from our social partners respectively. Panudda will then facilitate a discussion on two key issues mentioned in the document, where we need your ideas and guidance: Institutional arrangements and Partnerships and resource mobilization. Related to institutional arrangements, this relate to work planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; it has been agreed in the DWCP that tripartite constituents will meet on an annual basis to review the work plan of the DWCP and that a high-level tripartite advisory committee will meet on a six-monthly basis to provide policy guidance. The existing project related technical advisory committees continue as they are.

The other area that we would like your ideas, guidance and participation in, is related to strategic partnerships and resource mobilization. As advised by our Independent Evaluation report of the previous DWCP, mentioned just before, we are committed to expand our partnership to a number of other ministries with whom there is a natural thematic match in mandates, in collaboration with MOLE. This has already happened over the last year and we are looking forward to strengthen this further. On resource mobilization, parts of the activities in the DWCP are fully funded whereas others are not. We encourage you to assist in joint resource-mobilization efforts with us and are looking forward to your ideas.

And after all this, we would like to invite you for a reception, to thank you for all the hard work you have done with us in 2013.