Social security for workers on anvil: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the UPA government was actively considering a universal social security cover for workers in both organised and unorganised sectors.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 18, 2013 2:03 am

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the UPA government was actively considering a universal social security cover for workers in both organised and unorganised sectors. The Prime Minister also sought to reach out to trade unions who have been critical of his government and said the recently formed Group of Ministers would look into the whole gamut of demands raised by them.

Inaugurating the Indian Labour Conference,the biggest gathering of employees and employers’ organisations,Singh underlined the need to develope the skills of India’s youth,which he said was a pre-requisite to achieve rapid and inclusive growth.

The efforts of the government need to be supplemented by the private sector,he said. Skills need to be closely matched with emerging job requirements and for this there is a need for setting up national standards for skill formation which should be of global standards,he added.

Singh,whose government has often been criticised by trade unions,made an attempt to reach out to them. He said his government has paid “very serious attention to the issues” they have been raising and mentioned about the two-day strike they had enforced in February. The strike,he said,focused on a “number of issues relating to the welfare not only of the working classes but also the people at large”.

Referring to their demands for concrete steps to contain inflation,generation of employment opportunities and strict implementation of labour laws,he said there can be no disagreement on these issues. In fact,they are “unexceptionable”. “There can,however,be differences on the best ways of fulfilling these demands and we are willing to engage constructively with the trade unions in this regard,” he said.

He said some of their other demands like a universal social security cover for organised and unorganised sector workers,creation of a National Social Security Fund and provision of minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month under the Employees’ Pension Scheme were already under an advanced stage of consideration by the government.

Expressing his government’s willingness to enter into a dialogue with trade unions,he said the recently formed Group of Ministers under the Finance Minister would go into the whole gamut of demands raised by the trade unions. “Many of the demands reflect the concern that our growth and progress should be inclusive and should particularly benefit the under-privileged sections of our society. This is a concern that has been very dear to our government,” he added.

Talking about the government’s decision to set up the National Skill Development Agency,he said it would anchor and operationalise the national skills qualification framework which would play a vital role in transforming the quality of training in India.

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