India's labour woes
First, the need is to understand the present woes of the
Second, the issue of having a low self-esteem of people employed as labour needs to be tackled at all levels. It calls for changing the societal mindset that forces labour to have and maintain a low self-esteem. Often people employed as labour are looked down upon which results in this flawed outcome. It also has to do with the fact that there is often a mentality of non-recognition of employee and overt dependence on the employer leading to exploitation at the workplace. Recognising this through certification that the government is keen on pursuing is thus a step in the right direction.
Third, there needs to be a simplification of laws in the labour domain. Post independence some of the labour laws are enshrined in the Indian Constitution. However, culling of unnecessary laws and simplification from the present labour law is necessary. It is one of the major reasons why India has such a massive workforce in the unorganised sector. Employers often find it exceedingly difficult to hire. They also stay small in scale precisely to not come under the ambit of laws that apply to bigger enterprises. A plethora of laws has resulted in a situation where often it is difficult to decipher the precedence of what applies where. The laws rather than acting as an enabler for better employment often end up producing precisely the opposite result. The laws thus require a careful relook and will have to be simplified at both the central and the state level.
Fourth, the need is to provide skills to people who are not employed at present. There is often a mismatch between skill sets imparted at the educational institutes and the industry requirements. The company often asks for previous work experience, while the employee often asks for being given the work experience. The situation can be resolved by upgrading the curriculum and training methodology as well as providing more apprenticeships. The need is also to provide career-counseling services to students. This is where the recently dedicated national career service that plans to connect the 978 employment exchanges through IT will go a long way in improving job-related services for job seekers.
In the years ahead the opportunities for labourers needs to grow. The tripartite system of government, labour unions, as well as industry, needs to ensure that the opportunities expand at a rapid pace. They along with citizens also need to ensure that there is societal acceptance of people who work as labourers and there is the dignity of labour. Skilling of people in India holds the key for a
(The article is co-authored with Sankalp Sharma, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Competitiveness, India.)
(Image credits: Indiatimes)