ILO’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific meets Labour Minister and key constituents in India

The RD visited India on her first mission and met the Labour Minister, constituents and the UN India team to strengthen the ILO’s Decent Work for All mandate in the country.

News | New Delhi, India | 30 July 2022
Ms Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, Regional Director, ILO Asia and the Pacific, visited India on 27-29 July 2022. Being home to one-seventh of the world’s population and a diverse culture, India has a complex set of challenges to overcome in the world of work, to achieve the mission of Decent Work for All, which the Regional Director was apprised of in her short mission. Ms Asada-Miyakawa met with the tripartite constituents, beginning with the Minister for Labour and Employment and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mr Bhupender Yadav.
The RD congratulated the Minister on 75 years of Indian independence, which was celebrated on 15 August, and thanked him for the India’s support to the ILO, by way of participation at the World of Work Summit at the International Labour Conference in June 2022 and for the national tripartite conference on the global call to action for a human centred recovery from COVID-19, in the context of India, in December 2021. The Minister spoke about the initiatives India has undertaken for the workforce in the country, with 280 million people registered on the e-SHRAM portal, 130 million registered with ESIC and the Provident Fund corpus size being INR 17 lakh crore, which other developing economies can emulate. The Minister and Regional Director also discussed India’s strengthening position in the global landscape, with India taking over the G20 presidency in 2022.
This strengthening position is made possible by several factors, one of which is also the multilateral and UN system. Ms Asada-Miyakwa met with the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Shombi Sharp and with the UN India Country team. The meeting discussed the opportunities to support national priorities as per respective mandates of the UN agencies and as ‘One UN’.
The mission continued with meeting all three EBMOs of the Council of Indian Employers (CIE) along with the Governing Body member from Employers Mr Rajeev Dubey. The EBMOs expressed in unison, their satisfaction and appreciation of their engagement with the ILO, especially during the pandemic. They mentioned that the activities undertaken clearly responded to their needs and augmented capacity building. Additionally, they also mentioned their appreciation for their engagement in the UNDSCF process and wished to be engaged in a more effective manner, moving forward. An important matter mentioned was the need to position the ILO with the strength of its Employer constituent, highlighting some positive initiatives taken by them in promoting decent work in India.
Ms Asada-Miyakawa met with the ILO constituents representing workers’ organizations. The workers’ organizations appreciated the efforts of the ILO in engaging the trade unions with the office’s activities in India, at the central and the state level. They especially supported the ILO’s initiative to involve the trade unions in the broader UN processes in India, starting with the preparation of the UNSDCF 2023-27. At the same time, they expressed grave concern regarding the weakening of the tripartite social dialogue process in various platforms. They also recommended a review of India’s compliance with the requirements of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other ratified ILO Conventions.
Ms Asada Miyakawa also participated in the two-day “Consultation on Labour Migration- Advancing resilient, inclusive and sustainable policies and institutions in India: Promoting Decent Work for All”, which Minister of Labour and Employment and Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Mr Bhupender Yadav inaugurated. The UN Resident Coordinator, along with other key functionaries of Government of India, and senior representation from Employers’ and Workers organizations attended the consultation. In her address, the Regional Director reinforced the ILO’s commitment towards fair, effective and ethical recruitment, strengthening partnerships for better migration governance and advancing SDG 2030 goals. Over the course of the two days, panelists and the audience highlighted the challenges migrant workers faced through the COVID-19 pandemic and how governance reforms and collaboration are imperative to protect worker rights.
The mission ended with an interaction with union workers, who have been working with the ILO’s Work in Freedom programme and the Regional Director issued a statement to mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons.