Surendra Kumar Jain

Interview for the Oral Archives of the ILO Century Project by Gerry Rodgers

Surendra Kumar Jain was born on 22 December 1922 in Multan, India. He was a lecturer at the University of Delhi in 1946 when he was recruited by the ILO. He started working in the Co-operation and Handicrafts Service in 1946 and was transferred to the ILO New Delhi branch as secretary three years later. In 1951, Mr Jain was sent to Geneva as a member of the Technical Assistance Division of the Advisory Missions. He was attached to the Director-General’s Office in 1955 and became an Executive Assistant (Chief of Cabinet) to the Director-General in 1957. He was appointed Director of the ILO Field Office for the Near and Middle East in Istanbul in 1959, and then started his service as Director of the ILO Field Office in Bangalore and the Asia Field Office in 1963. Three years later he was appointed Regional Coordinator for Asia and the Far East. In 1967 he was transferred to headquarters in Geneva and became ILO Regional Coordinator for Asia Bangkok. In 1975 he was appointed a Deputy Director-General of the ILO. He retired in 1987 after more than 40 years of service at the ILO.

1938 − B.A. in Economics, University of Lahore, Pakistan
1944 − M.A. in Economics, University of Lucknow, India
1944 − LL.B., University of Lucknow, India
1946 − LL.M., University of Lucknow, India

Surendra Kumar Jain, former ILO Deputy Director-General (1975–1987), reminisces about the ILO expanding its activities in Asia during the 1950s and 1960s and about his recruitment, which was part of ILO’s efforts to diversify the geographical origin of its staff. He provides details about his work on collecting labour laws at national level, as well as his missions in Asia in connection with the development of technical cooperation, in particular accelerated vocational training. Mr Jain explains how technical cooperation brought immediate benefit to the region and talks about tripartism being a “novelty” in Asia at the time.

Key words
Asian Labour Law, Cooperative Service, economic growth, employment, external affairs, ILO Bangalore, ILO Bangkok, ILO decentralization, ILO Governing Body, Asian Advisory Committee,
ILO India, ILO institutional history, ILO standards, ILO technical cooperation, Indian Public Civil Service, Indian Public Service Commission, labour inspection, labour law, skills, social justice, social security, trade unions, training, tripartism, vocational training.

Names mentioned
Ali, Aamir; Blanchard, Francis; Colombain, Maurice; Jenks, Wilfred; Johnson, G.A.; Menon, V.K.R.; Morse, David; Phelan, Edward; Rens, Jef; Riches, John.

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