Sunday, May 19, 2013

Govt firmly committed to partnering with unions, industry for growth: PM

Aditi Nigam
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Mallikarjun Kharge during the 45th Session of the Indian Labour Conference in the Capital on Friday.
    PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Mallikarjun Kharge during the 45th Session of the Indian Labour Conference in the Capital on Friday.
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. File Photo.
    PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. File Photo.
The Government is firmly committed to building a partnership with trade unions, industry and State Governments to strengthen the economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here on Friday.
Addressing the 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference, Singh appealed for co-operation from both industry and trade unions to steer the economy out of the “difficult circumstances”.
Trade unions’ demands
Referring to the recent two-day strike by trade unions, the Prime Minister said his Government was “willing to engage constructively” on various demands that were “unexceptionable”, such as the need to contain inflation, generation of employment opportunities and strict implementation of labour laws.
He said some other demands were already under advanced stage of consideration by the Government, such as universal social security cover for workers in both the organised and unorganised sectors and creation of a National Social Security Fund, fixing a national floor level minimum wage and provision of minimum pension of Rs 1,000 a month under the Employees’ Pension Scheme.
He said a Group of Ministers had been set up under the Finance Minister to go into the trade unions’ demands and assured forward movement on these soon.
Skill development
Stressing on the importance of skill development for providing decent employment opportunities to the growing young population, Singh said: “A skilled workforce is also a pre-requisite for the achievement of our objective of rapid and inclusive growth”, and called upon the private sector to supplement the efforts being made by the Central and State Governments.
“Skills need to be closely matched with emerging job requirements. This calls for setting up of national standards for skill formation benchmarked to global standards, development of appropriate curriculum design for specific skills and formation of new assessment and certifying bodies besides strengthening the existing ones,” he said.
The Prime Minister also urged the conference to pay special attention to vulnerable groups, especially migrant workers, domestic workers and those working in unsafe conditions.
“These groups not only need special legislative support but also a more effective implementation of the existing laws that have been made for their protection and wellbeing. We need to bring in the best international practices for bringing about improvements in their working conditions,” he added.

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