BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial meeting held under BRICS India presidency, 2016 concludes


Shri Bandaru Dattatreya briefs media

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya,the Union Minister of State(IC) Labour and  Employment    met   media persons after the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting that concluded here today. Briefing the media ,the Minister said that India  organized the BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi under the Indian Presidency.  Over the course of two days fruitful discussions were held on areas of common labour and employment issues. The BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration has been adopted at the end of these discussions.

India is encouraged by the presence of International Organisations in this meeting of BRICS Labour Ministers. India is also extremely happy that as a presidency initiative and in the best tradition of tripartism and social dialogue ,India  could associate BRICS national social partners to this forum. In a very constructive special session issues of employment generation, sustainable development, social security and decent work which are relevant for India were raised. The Social partners, both from Employers’ side as well as the workers’ side actively participated and made constructive interventions. The Lead Organisations from the Employers’ and employees’ side , i.e. Council of Indian Employers and Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh coordinated with their counterparts from BRICS Nations, had discussions on 26th November to formulate their views.

Other important points made by the Minister include-

  1. BRICS comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are five major emerging economies comprising 43% of the world population, 37% of the world GDP and 17% of the world trade. BRICS began their association primarily with discussions on economic issues of mutual interest. Overtime, the areas of cooperation have widened to include topical global issues.
  2. The First BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers’ meeting held in Ufa, Russia recognized that Employment Pillar is essential and thus laid the foundation of BRICS Employment Working Group (BEWG).
  3. For India, BRICS is about practical cooperation. Indian Presidency is working with a five pronged approach for cooperation. Its about Institutionalising cooperation; implementing and integrating our previous decisions and commitments while innovating new areas of cooperation and finally ensuring the continuity of these initiatives.
  4. The BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial meeting took place in New Delhi on 27-28, September, 2016.  Delegates from all the BRICS nations participated in this meeting and discussed diverse issues which are being collectively faced by these nations in their national circumstances.  The deliberations included “Employment Generation”, “Social Security”, and “Inclusive Development including Formalization”.  BRICS Ministerial Declaration was adopted by the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers.
  5. The BRICS Ministerial Declaration is action oriented statement. Strong interventions and actions have been proposed in the areas concerning employment generation, social security and formalization of labour markets leading to inclusive and sustainable development.
  6. Member countries agreed to pursue bi-lateral social security agreements amongst the BRICS member states. They  also acknowledged the need to develop a network of lead labour research and training institutions in BRICS member states for undertaking joint research and training activities, capacity building of various stakeholders and exchange of information in areas of expertise.
  7. Thought provoking Interventions were made by the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers where they talked about the best practices in their countries, reforms undertaken to promote employment generation and the challenges faced. International organisations, ILO and ISSA appreciated the policy initiatives of BRICS member states and also suggested ways to overcome the hurdles faced by the BRICS countries. The discussion took place in an atmosphere of openness and countries showed a keenness to discuss their concerns and challenges. India’s  initiatives and transformative decisions particularly the recent amendment to child labour act for putting complete ban on employment of children below 14 years of age, the enhanced paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, revision of minimum wages, and broad  initiatives at employment generation were acknowledged by BRICS nations as well as ILO.
  8. The forum acknowledged the centrality of employment generation to the overall policy objective of sustainable  development. A broad consensus was reached on “encouaging social security agreements” and “networking of labour institutions of BRICS member states” and these have been included in the BRICS Labour and Ministerial Declaration. Now  the Labour and Employment Ministers' Declaration and conclusions and agreements  will be placed for consideration by  leaders  of member nations and  find appropriate mention in the BRICS Leaders Declaration which would be adopted in Goa in October 2016 and will pave way to strengthen the cooperation and collaboration along these lines.