Speech of Shri. Heeralal Samariya, Secretary (Labour and Employment), Government of India made at the 107th Session of International Labour Conference, 2018 on 06 June 2018

Speech of Shri. Heeralal Samariya, Secretary (Labour and Employment), Government of India made at the 107th Session of International Labour Conference, 2018 on 06 June 2018

President of the 107th ILC, Director General ILO, Mr Guy Ryder, Vice Chairs from Workers and Employers, Dignitaries on the dais, Ladies and Gentlemen

  1. It is indeed a matter of great pleasure for me to address this International Labour Conference. I take this opportunity to compliment Director General, ILO for a ;3ttre``tre`very comprehensive and relevant report on “The Women at Work initiative”.

  2. Women are an integral part of our economies. A country’s growth has a direct linkage to the women’s participation in its economy. Low female labour force participation rate is a matter of concern for all of us.

  3. Indian Constitution upholds the principles of equality and no gender-based discrimination. India is taking concerted efforts to change the mindsets and encourage active participation of women in the labour market. We have legislative measures in place to ensure equal wages for men and women.

  4. We have ratified ILO Conventions concerning equal remuneration and no discrimination in respect of employment or occupation. However, we have about 400 million workforce engaged in the unorganized sector, where majority are women. As a result, we also face policy implementation issues.

  5. Beti Bachao Beti Phadao scheme has been launched to ensure survival and protection of the girl child and to ensure her education and participation. India is one of the very few countries where the maternity benefit is as high as 26 weeks. Maternity benefits are also allowed to 'Commissioning mother' and 'Adopting mother'. The Maternity Benefit Act has enabling provisions for facilitating 'Work from home' and crèche facilities.

  6. For encouraging participation of women in work-force, we need to adopt multi-pronged strategy to promote all round equality for women in the labour market. Women face discrimination due to a strong traditional mindset. This also means that any initiative for positive discrimination runs the risk of creating perverse incentive for the market to keep women out of it.

  7. Our overall approach should be to change the traditional gender roles in the labour market. We can have policies to promote and incentivize employment and training of women in the male dominated sectors. We also need to promote the traditionally women dominated sectors in terms of better productivity, wages and working conditions. This will have the impact of attracting women to such sectors for work.

  8. We are taking initiatives for increasing employability of women and women entrepreneurship. The Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) has been launched to provide skills that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs. Dedicated online platform like Mahila- e-Haat have been launched for women for selling their products. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Scheme provides soft loans to the small women entrepreneurs. More than 70% of the borrowers under the scheme are women.

  9. Over the years, Self Help Groups have proven to be a great medium for social and economic empowerment of rural women. These are voluntary association of women, formed with the aim to mobilize savings and to meet their credit needs. They also act as a delivery mechanism for various other services like entrepreneurial training, livelihood promotion and community development programs. Approximately 8.6 million Self Help Groups (SHGs) have saving deposits of over Rs. 161 billion with banks. It is estimated that these SHGs cover more than 100 million rural households.

  10. In order to ensure safety of women at workplace we have enacted the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, which provides for a redressal mechanism in cases of sexual harassment even in the smallest of the unorganized workplace. The Working Women Hostel Scheme has been launched that aims to promote availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facility for their children.

  11. We suggest that the Women at Work initiative of ILO should be further strengthened. ILO should also work on improving the labour statistics to account for women’s contribution in the economy, especially in case of unpaid work. The world community should get together to ensure that the future of work for women should be free from decent work deficits. We look forward to productive deliberations on these ILC agenda items concerning women. Thank you.

Statements made by India in the ILO
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