The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meet in Indore, Madhya Pradesh via video message today.
Welcoming the dignitaries to Indore, the Prime Minister said that the historic and vibrant city takes pride in its rich culinary traditions and hoped that the dignitaries get to enjoy the city in all its colours and flavours.
Underlining that employment is one of the most important economic and social factors, the Prime Minister said that the world is at the threshold of some of the greatest changes in the employment sector and stressed the need to prepare responsive and effective strategies to address these rapid transitions. In this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Prime Minister said, technology has become and will remain the core driver for employment. He highlighted India’s capability in creating countless technology jobs during the last such technology-led transformation and also touched upon the host city Indore which is home to many startups leading the new wave of such transformations.
The Prime Minister emphasized skilling the workforce with the use of advanced technologies and processes and said that skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling are the mantras for the future workforce. He gave examples of India’s ‘Skill India Mission’ making this a reality, and ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana’ which has trained more than 12.5 million of India’s youth so far. “Special focus is being laid on Industry ‘Four Point O’ sectors like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, and Drones”, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister highlighted the skills and dedication of India’s frontline health workers during Covid and said that it reflects India’s culture of service and compassion. He said that India has the potential to become one of the largest providers of skilled workforce in the world and a globally mobile workforce is going to be a reality in the future. He emphasized G20’s role in globalizing the development and sharing of skills in the true sense. The Prime Minister commended the efforts of member nations to initiate the international referencing of occupations by skills and qualifications requirements. He said that it requires new models of international cooperation and coordination, and migration and mobility partnerships. He suggested sharing statistics, information and data regarding employers and workers for a start which will empower countries across the globe to formulate evidence-based policies for better skilling, workforce planning, and gainful employment.
The Prime Minister pointed out that transformative change is the evolution of new categories of workers in the gig and platform economy that has emerged as the pillar of resilience during the pandemic. He added that it offers flexible working arrangements and also complements income sources. He said that it has immense potential of generating gainful employment, especially for the youth while also becoming a transformative tool for socio economic empowerment of women. Shri Modi emphasized the need to realize its potential and design new-age policies and interventions for these new-age workers. He suggested finding sustainable solutions to create opportunities for regular work and coming up with new models to ensure social security, health and safety. The Prime Minister threw light on India’s ‘eShram portal’ that has seen almost 280 million registrations and is being leveraged for targeted interventions for these workers. He further added that countries should adopt similar solutions as the nature of work has become transnational.
The Prime Minister pointed out that even though providing social protection to people is a key aspect of the 2030 Agenda, the current framework adopted by international organizations only accounts for benefits that are structured in certain narrow ways while several benefits provided in other forms are not covered under this framework. Shri Modi underlined that in order to grasp the correct picture of social protection coverage in India, benefits like universal public health, food security, insurance and pension programs must be accounted for. He suggested considering the unique economic capacities, strengths and challenges of every country as the one-size-fits-all approach is not suitable for sustainable financing of social protection.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that this meeting will send out a strong message for the welfare of all workers worldwide. He appreciated the efforts being made by all dignitaries in addressing some of the most urgent issues in this field.