106th International Labour Conference, 2017

The 106th Session of International Labour Conference (ILC) was held from 5-16th June 2017. An Indian Tripartite Delegation led by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge), Shri Bandaru Dattatreya participated in the ILC.

Speaking at the Plenary Session of the International Labour Conference on 14th June 2017, Labour and Employment Minister expressed his happiness over the growing coherence between the Sustainable Development Goals and the agenda of ILO and other UN forums. The Minister said that no development was complete unless it benefitted each and every person in the society. Shri Dattatreya further added that Poverty eradication, employment generation and reducing inequality formed the core of the development strategy of India. On ratification by India of two core ILO conventions on Child Labour, the Minister reiterated India’s commitment for a safe, healthy and happy future for children. Shri Dattatreya further added that the government is committed to provide social security for 450 million workforce in the informal sector. The Labour and Employment Minister informed about the amended Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017 that provides for paid maternity leave of 26 weeks which would encourage women into employment. The Minister delivered his speech in Hindi and ended his speech by reaffirming India’s commitment for promoting the welfare of the workers in and outside the country including promoting their skill development and protecting their rights.

Smt M. Sathiyavathy, Secretary, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, addressed the Plenary Session of the 106th ILC and placed on record India’s appreciation for a comprehensive and topical report of Director General, ILO, Mr Guy Ryder on ‘Work in a changing climate: The Green Initiative’. Smt. Sathiyavathy indicated that the Paris Agreement of 2015 had defined the global climate initiative in the changing context of globalization which recognized national contexts, yet respected the principles of shared responsibility and collective commitments. The fact that 195 countries have signed and 147 have recognized it, is a testimony of its importance. She reiterated India’s commitment to cleaner climate and energy transition. The Secretary mentioned about setting up of the international and inter-governmental organization- ‘International Solar Alliance headquartered at National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in India that is dedicated to promotion and for making solar energy a valuable source of affordable, reliable, green and clean energy in 121 member countries. She further added that India has initiated several measures towards achieving sustainable development through green pathway including increasing the forest cover, reducing carbon emissions, river conservation and tackling solid waste and air pollution. She expressed concern over the likely impact of the transition to green jobs in sectors such as agriculture which is the primary sector of many economies and therefore stressed on the need to build responses very carefully keeping in mind not only the limitations of the member states but also ensuring that their strengths are not compromised.

In a historic step towards eradication of Child Labour from the country, India ratified International Labour Organizations Convention No 138 (minimum age for employment) and Convention No 182 (worst forms of child labour) to symbolise its commitment and initiatives for eradication of child labour and attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 related with curbing of child labour. The ratification of both conventions coincided with the International Day against Child Labour expressing country’s commitment along with global partners to fight the menace of child labour and providing the childhood back to them. Shri Bandaru Dattatreya handed the Instruments of Ratification to Mr. Guy Ryder, DG, ILO at the sideline event held in Geneva at the International Labour Conference, 2017 on 13th June 2017.

With ratification of these two core ILO conventions, India has ratified 6 out of 8 core ILO conventions, with the other 4 core ILO conventions relating to abolition of forced labour, equal remuneration and no discrimination between men and women in employment and occupation, thus reaffirming its commitment for promoting and realizing fundamental principles and right at work. This action is in sync with the Government’s broader intent for social equality and growth for all.

Several multilateral meetings were held on the sidelines of the ILC. At the NAM Ministerial Meeting held on 13th June 2017, Labour and Employment Minister, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya said “In India, we have leveraged the technological advancement. Technology forms the basis of many of our programmes, like Digital India, National Career Service (NCS) portal,

extending social security benefits (DBT). NCS portal is our strengthened public employment services platform effectively using the Information technology. The Portal already hosts more than 38 million job seekers and around 1.5 million job providers.

At the ASPAG Ministerial Meeting held on 13th June 2017, The Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya said “India firmly believes that employment generation with assured social protection and greater gender parity are fundamental to create an inclusive society”. The Minister further added that “poverty alleviation strategy must be linked to robust employment generation policies and equally robust wage policies and social protection. Our challenge is to implementing these policies to the informal sector. In a recent massive drive we were successful in opening bank accounts for close to 5 million wage workers across the country in last 6 months. We amended the legislative provisions to enable the payment of wages through banking transactions thereby adding to the transition to formality”.

At the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting held on 14th June 2017, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, expressed his happiness that issues like technology transfers by businesses in the global supply chain and promotion of decent work through capacity building formed the part of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration adopted by G20 Labour and Employment Ministers in Bad Neuenahr, Germany in May 2017. He further urged the G20 countries to explore the possibility of signing bilateral agreements for providing social security cover to our workers and for promoting their skill development.

Indian delegation led by Labour and Employment Minister also participated in bilateral meeting held with Iran and spoke about issues concerning MSMEs, rural employment and vocational training.