National Consultation: Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council

The consultation brought together over 40 organizations to discuss and formulate appropriate strategies and approaches for the establishment of the Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council.

A consortium of key stakeholders in the domestic work sector has taken steps to establish a sector-based approach to skills development in the sector through the establishment of a Sector Skills Council for Domestic Workers (DWSSC). Such a sectoral approach will be demand-driven, market-linked, modular and flexible while promoting vertical and horizontal mobility across competency levels for the workers. This sectoral approach will also recognize lifelong learning and provide nationally recognized certification to one of the more significant workforce in the unorganized sector in India. The DWSSC initiative is being actively promoted through a consortium that reflects a unique partnership between a number of committed organizations and Government, which includes leading training organizations, recruitment and placement agencies, civil society and advocacy groups, trade unions and the ILO.

Through this initiative, the consortium seeks support of the National Skills Development Corporation to formally establish an SSC for the domestic workers sector and provide technical assistance to the SSC for 5-10 years of initial operation. Given the diverse and unorganized nature of the sector, the consortium believes that the sector itself will not self-organize to form an SSC, and that technical support to do so will be required from a consortium that brings together long experience in the field and an active programme of work in the sector. Consortium members have requested the ILO to provide technical support in establishing the SSC, and it is on that basis that the ILO is supporting with the development and validation of the DWSSC proposal with inputs from the wider domestic work sector through, amongst other means, a national consultative workshop held in Delhi on 20 August 2014.

The 20 August consultation brought together over 40 organizations on a single platform to discuss and formulate appropriate strategies and approaches for the establishment of the DWSSC. The participants comprised of Government bodies, training providers, industry bodies, trade unions, placements agencies and advocacy organizations. There was regional representation with participants from West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and other States apart from Delhi NCR. The deliberations and perspectives that emerged from the discussion built a strong case for establishment of SSC.

The consultation served as a rich and unique platform to facilitate joint deliberations on skill development in domestic work sector and cemented the need for concerted efforts. The valuable suggestions and inputs from participant stakeholders reflected a strong sense of support to the initiative. The Chairperson, Ms. Gayatri Kalia, Aajeevika Skills, National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, emphasized the importance of this SSC which would have the ability to take steps for improvements in the lives of millions of people, especially women, in India. Expressing the support of Aajeevika Skills, she said that the entry point of skills development would link with many issues for domestic workers such as wages, protection of rights, etc.