Decent Work Country Programme

Next five years: ILO India unveils its decent work country strategy

Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO India, speaks at the launch of India Decent Work Country Programme (2018-2022)

Statement | New Delhi, India | 20 November 2018
Honourable Secretary, Distinguished members of the dais

Our esteemed constituents from government at national and state levels, workers’ and employers’ representatives

Mr Chandrasekharan, Workers’ Member, ILO Governing Body
Mr Dubey, Employers’ Member, ILO Governing Body

Respected Development Cooperation partners and members from the diplomatic community

UN colleagues, friends from civil society organizations, academia and media
Ladies and gentlemen,

A warm welcome to all of you and to Ms Tomoko Nishimoto, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director, of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, who is honouring us with her presence on this important occasion.

Today we are very proud to launch our constituent-led, five-year strategic vision document —the India Decent Work Country Programme covering the period of 2018-2022. It is the third in its series since 2007. These country programmes act as a main vehicle for delivery of ILO support to member States in promoting decent work as a key component of the national development strategies. Meticulously crafted, based on extensive consultations with our esteemed tripartite constituents, this country programme focuses on job-rich growth strategies, sustainable enterprises, providing safety to all workers, extending social protection coverage, transitioning towards a formal economy and environmental sustainability. The strategy shows how in the next five years, the ILO and its long-standing partners will mobilize knowledge, resources, technical competence and capacities to deliver on some ambitious projects and programmes that advance social justice in the world of work in India. Our concerted efforts will help us progress towards ‘Decent Work for All’ and each step will further embolden the Global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

This edition of the Decent Work Country Programme builds on last edition’s achievements and lessons. It also takes into account findings from a 2017 country diagnostic, a series of future of work discussions, ILO’s regional priorities from the 2016 Bali Declaration, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for India.

Let me also acknowledge how the implementation of the 2013-2017 Decent Work Country Programme saw many achievements. To name a few, India ratified the ILO core conventions on child labour which are – the minimum age convention and worst forms of child labour convention. The ILO played a significant role in the delivery of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, an ambitious plan of maintenance of rural roads. It provided technical support to build a pool of barefoot technicians under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Along with its constituents, the ILO drafted a national occupational safety and health profile. It also worked tirelessly to drive entrepreneurship under its ‘Start and Improve your Business programme, and promoted responsible supply chains by promoting better management practices, required for enhancing productivity and working conditions in the Small and Medium Enterprises. We promoted fair labour migration and supported constituents in the development of a National Policy on Domestic Work, to name a few highlights.

We have to keep up with this pace of delivery. We have to be agile, adaptive, and fully-prepared when faced with new challenges in the world of work. I believe this spirit will help us not just to achieve our targets but to go beyond them.

Let me encapsulate what priorities constituents have agreed to pursue with us. We have three key priority areas. One: we look at promotion, adoption and implementation of international labour standards for protection of workers from unacceptable forms of work, two: we aim at creation of sustainable, inclusive and decent employment opportunities, especially for those who are vulnerable to socio-economic and environmental exclusion and are employed in the informal economy. And three: we are advocating for tripartite mechanisms to protect the rights of workers through promoting labour administration, occupational safety and health and social protection. Each of these priority areas are tied to results that are to be achieved by 2022.

The success of these targets will be in its implementation. We shall continue to invest in capacity building, institutional strengthening and evidence-based policy making to support constituents to reach the targets they have set for India.

At a time when the world of work is undergoing far reaching transformations due to demographic shifts, climate change, technological advancements, among others, impacting on working conditions, the nature of jobs, governance of work,— it is critical for us to be well-prepared for the future. This would mean that ILO’s member States will have to continue to develop new ways of coping with future uncertainties, take on timely analyses of their labour markets and solidify governance measures, build stronger tripartite mechanisms, and in particular share knowledge. As India strives towards inclusive development, there’s no doubt that we have to persevere in our efforts so as to ensure that no one is left behind. India is also growing in prominence in global platforms like G20, International Solar Alliance (ISA) and others. It is therefore an opportunity to further strengthen the South-South collaboration.

ILO will mark its centenary next year. We will clock an impressive journey of 100 years. It is a moment in history, which provides us a chance to reaffirm our commitment to shared prosperity, human dignity and social justice. After all, it is social justice in the world of work that drives universal and lasting peace.

ILO’s strength lies in its tripartite structure. To conclude, I wish to acknowledge and thank the timely guidance of the following from Ministry of Labour and Employment - Mr Samariya, Secretary, Mr Gupta, Joint Secretary, Ms Tripathi, Deputy Secretary, and other officials. I also thank our Governing Body members from employers’ and workers’ organizations Mr Dubey, and Mr Chandrasekharan for their insights. The valuable inputs of our trade union friends and friends from employers’ organization, needless to say, have been essential.
Together we thank our Development Cooperation Partners for their strategic support in the implementation of our common goals.

I also thank all ILO colleagues for their intense collaboration.

We are now ready to contribute to a narrative in India that is forward-looking, sustainable, and ambitious.

We look forward to our continued cooperation.

Thank you!