New Delhi (ILO News) -The International Labour Organization and the Indian Ministry of Labour and Employment hosted a day long event on 20 April 2012 in New Delhi to raise awareness on the issue of youth employment in India.
The meeting brought together representatives from governments, employers and workers, as well as a broad spectrum of over 160 stakeholders working on youth employment issues. The consultation was chaired by the Minister of Labour & Employment, Mallikarjun Kharge, and focused on the challenge of creating decent work for youth in the country.
Kharge stressed that the meeting “underlines the Government’s commitment and priority attached to the issue and its potential for advancing the objective of inclusive economic growth and development”. He stated that the Government was providing the nation’s youth with suitable and relevant skills to meet the requirements of industry and that the Ministry of Labour and Employment was working towards a target of training 100 million individuals, tripling the training capacity since 2006-07.
ILO Country Director for India, Ms. Tine Staermose, stressed that youth employment was a priority issue for all countries and the ILO, particularly in light of the impact of the global financial crisis. “Youth around the world are particularly vulnerable to marginalization in the labour market because they lack skills, work experience, job search abilities and the financial resources to find employment.”
Y.K. Modi, Employers Representative, said the critical role of entrepreneurship, while pointing out that incentives are needed to encourage employers to hire young people. While noting the skills challenge, Mr. N.M. Adyanthaya, Workers Representative, emphasized the importance of participation of workers in policy processes. He also indicated the need to revise the apprenticeship scheme to avoid abuses.
Sucheta De, President of the Jawarharlal Nehru University Student’s Union, called on the government to review policies in order to tackle the challenges facing youth, including the dominance of low paid and precarious work and the lack of jobs with dignity.
India has the largest youth population in the world; around 66 per cent of the total population is below the age of 35 or over 808 million. According to 2010 population figures, one in five young people in the world is an Indian.
The consultation in New Delhi is among 45 national events organized by the ILO around the world throughout March and April 2012 to hear young people’s views on the alarming youth employment situation.