Press Release of Govt of India – Meeting of Indian Labour Conference 43rd Session

Employment generation and Agriculture Sector should be given top
importance: ILC recommends
Under MNERGA, employment be increased from 100 days to 200 days
New Delhi: November 24, 2010

[Emphasis supplied]

The two day 43rd Session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), the apex
national tripartite body that discusses key issues affecting labour and employment
and provides policy perspectives and recommendations, concluded in New Delhi
today. The Conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on
Tuesday 23rd November 2010. Senior level representatives of the three pillars of
the tripartism, Trade Unions, Employers‟ Associations and Government, participated
in the deliberations of the two days conference. The conference deliberations
focused on three key concerns relating to the world of work, namely, Global
Financial downturn – its impact – job losses – comprehensive package for protection
of labour force, etc.; Problems of contract labour – social security, wages, etc. and
amendments in the contract labour legislation; and Employment generation and skill
development. In his concluding address Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister of
Labour & Employment, emphasized that we have to make our millions productive
and ensure some form of social security net to them. These are the two pillars for a
sustainable growth model. Deliberations by the Workers‟ Parliament provided new
ideas in the areas related to economic slowdown, contract labour and skills to help
the government‟s efforts in working towards improving the conditions of workers in all
The ILC noted that the economic slowdown has still not been overcome at the
global level. The recommendations of the Committee included strict implementation
of the Labour laws on layoffs, retrenchment etc. Broad based social security
provisions should be devised. Employment guarantee schemes and Public
Distribution System should be further strengthened. Training and retraining of
workers is important in the present situation. The benefits of stimulus packages
should percolate to micro, small and medium enterprises also.
As regards the issue of contractualisation of labour, the ILC recognized the
need for preventing the exploitation of contract labour wherever it exists. The
Conference noted that the provisions relating to the Contract Labour (Regulation and
Abolition) Act, 1970 need to be reviewed in the context of the propositions articulated
by the different social partners. The Conference Committee stressed on the need for
proper implementation of the existing Act and also came out with many other useful
suggestions like strengthening of labour enforcement machinery, payment of
contract workers through bank accounts etc. The Workers‟ and the Employers‟
Groups endorsed their views of their respective representatives contained in the
report of the Tripartite Group.
In the areas of skill development, the ILC listed out a set of pragmatic action
points to be pursued by different social partners for ensuring appropriate skill
development for employability. The recommendations included assessing training
needs for various sectors, increasing the seats in ITIs, skill mapping and coordinated
effort by different Departments dealing with training and employment. The committee
also brought forward the need for increasing the number of trainers and improving
training infrastructure in the country.
The Conference Committee on „Problems of Contract Labour, Social Security,
Wages, Etc. and Amendments in the Contract Labour Legislation‟ recognised the
pressing need to protect the interests of contract workers. A Tripartite Group had
been constituted by the 42nd Indian Labour Conference to suggest amendments to
the Act. The report of the Tripartite Group was considered by the Group. After
deliberating upon a variety of issues relating to contract labour the following
resolutions were passed unanimously:
1. All efforts should be made to ensure that the existing provisions of the
Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and Rules made there under
are implemented in letter and spirit.
2. The labour enforcement machinery in the Centre and the States should be
strengthened by providing requisite manpower and other logistic facilities so as to
ensure effective implementation of labour related legislations.
3. States are mandated to constitute Tripartite State Advisory Boards under the
Act. However, it was pointed out that a number of States do not have such Boards
constituted. It was unanimously resolved that such States should be asked to
constitute such Boards under the Act at the earliest.
4. Payments should be made to the contract workers through banks. Necessary
amendments should be made in the Act/Rules.
The following proposals were also considered by the Group:
1) In case where the contract labour perform the same or similar kind of work as
the workmen, directly appointed by the Principal Employer, the wage rates, holidays,
hours of work, social security and other conditions of service of contract labour shall
be the same as are available to the workmen on the rolls of the Principal Employer.
This provision exists substantially under the existing Rules. This needs to be
incorporated in the principal Act.
2) The threshold limit of 20 workers for applicability of the Act should be
dispensed with.
The aforementioned proposals were supported by the workers‟
representatives as well as those from the State Governments. However, the
representatives of the Employers did not agree with regard to both the
aforementioned proposals on the basis of the documents submitted by them.
A suggestion was also given by the Workers‟ Group that in the event of
abolition of contract labour under section 10(2) of the Act, the workers should be
absorbed/regularised. This was agreed to by the State Governments but disagreed
by the Employers‟ Group.
Apart from the above, the Workers‟ Group endorsed the views of its
representatives contained in the Report of the Tripartite Group. The Employers‟
Group endorsed the views as given by their representatives in the Tripartite Group.
The Conference Committee on “Global Financial Downturn – its impact- Job
losses – Comprehensive Package for Protection of Labour Force, Etc.” was of the
unanimous view that the recommendations made in the 42nd ILC Session including
short-term and long-term strategies should be followed more vigorously particularly
in areas of:
 Strict implementation of labour laws on lay-offs, retrenchment, job losses,
closures etc.

 The broad based social security including unemployment insurance should be
 The availability of credit at concessional rate of interest to micro, small and
medium enterprises besides traditional and export oriented industries by
banks/financial institutions.
 Consideration of Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme.
 The scope of Public Distribution System be extended to all unorganized
workers in terms of commodities and coverage.
 Skill Training/re-training of workers affected by economic slowdown etc.
The recommendations as long term strategies such as:
 Statutory fixation of National Floor Level minimum wage to cover all
 More investment in infrastructure, non conventional, renewable source of
energy, agro based industries so as to stimulate domestic demand.
 Extending employment guarantee from 100 days to 200 days.
Further, the Committee was of the view that the stimulate and financial
assistance packages should continue and provide more focus on employment
generation to compensate their loss in wages or job losses due to economic
 It should be ensured that stimulate packages also percolate to micro small
and medium enterprises.
 The ILO code on Multi National Corporations (MNCs) should also be strictly
followed in India.
 The labour intensive industries can be provided with some incentives, which
will enable them to create more employment.
 The investment should ensure job creation and job retention.
 There is need to provide adequate funding to the Unorganised Workers Social
Security Fund so that the social security schemes can be implemented.
 To extend social protection to all workers in the informal sectors as well as for
migrant workers.
 To take appropriate measures on “Jobless Recovery” and “Unequal
Development” in order to curtail the number of working poor.
 The recommendations of the Tripartite Expert Committee Report given on 30th
June, 2009 constituted by ILO, Delhi may also be followed up.
 The adequate steps to be taken for investment in Education, health care in
rural area.
 Comprehensive package for workers who lost jobs on account of economic
 All steps to be taken in order to strengthen the Tripartite Social Dialogue for
alleviating the difficulties caused on account of the crisis.
 The Standing Tripartite mechanism to be devised to implement and monitor
periodically the recommendations of the various conference committees due
to economic slowdown as well as ongoing global financial crisis.
 Due to the effects of economic slowdown in construction industry, welfare
schemes devised for Construction Workers Fund should be implemented so
as to benefit the construction workers to provide benefits such as housing,
scholarships, maternity benefit etc. to construction workers.
 The workers/employees who return from home from other countries on
account of job loss due to recession should be protected by appropriate
The Conference Committee on Employment Generation and Skill Development
recommended that for employment generation, agriculture sector should be given
more importance. Agriculture based industries and cold storages should be set up at
village levels. More industries and skill training centres should be set up in rural
areas so that people don‟t migrate to cities. For MNERGA, payment to the workers
should be made on measurable work and the work should be socially and
economically useful like so much road length in so many days etc. Employers should
take responsibility to provide skill training. Small scale industries may be roped in to
provide skill training. MNERGA be extended to urban areas, small scale industries
could tap in MNERGA beneficiaries and provide them training. Under MNERGA,
employment be increased from 100 days to 200 days. Backlog vacancies of SC/ST
be filled in time bound manner and reservation in private sector may be considered.
Ban on recruitment in government sector may be lifted, SC/ST vacancies be filled
up. Wages of Anganwadis workers be increased and they should be provided social
security and pensionary benefits. Minimum wages be linked with price index. Skill
training programmes be implemented through school‟s infrastructure wherever
On Skill Development the Conference Committee suggested that
Assessment of Training needs in Agro-based industries for introduction of
training programmes for benefit of people living in rural areas. Training programmes
could be offered under various schemes of Central Government and State
government. Keeping in view the target of training 500 million persons by year 2022
there is a need for expansion of the skill development infrastructure in country.
Expansion is required both in terms of increasing seating capacity and also coverage
in terms of sectors including new and emerging areas. There is need to
strengthening Central and State government /NCVT/SCVT etc. offices dealing with
skill development activities. Skill development activities have been increased
manifold at state level and presently being handled by different organisations. For
effective coordination there should a mechanism at State and Central level. In order
to maintain the quality along with expansion of skill training, there is a need for
continuous monitoring and timely course correction. Country is facing acute shortage
of trainers in various sectors. There is need for expansion of trainers training
infrastructure in the country. Available infrastructure of higher secondary schools
could be utilized for imparting skill development training programmes. The
infrastructure may also be used as skill development centres by providing additional
infrastructure for training activities.
In order to facilitate match making in demand and supply, it is essential to
conduct exercise of skill mapping starting from district level which are culminating to
identification of persons skill sets and gap at district level. This will help in assessing
the need of skill development and this will help in identification of skill gaps at various
levels and will help in better planning; identification of existing/new trades and
facilitate infrastructure development. Stress may be given on line mile training like
soft skills. Training may be given in vernacular language and the examination may
also be conducted in this language, however, they should also be given training in
English language which will help them at the time of placement. In states like J&K
and North East PPP mode may not work as industry is not coming forward so they
may be allowed to operate through government funding. Though there is lot of
investment in skill training, but research and study programmes are given less
priority. Therefore, these areas should also be given priority. There is felt need to
integrate ITI courses with other courses of higher education. For vertical mobility of
ITIs passed there is a need to equate 10th pass and National Trade Certificate holder
in trades of two years duration with 12th standard so that they have avenues for
higher studies. Special focus including marketing skills is required for artisans
working in clusters like handloom, Handicraft sector etc.