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Indian Economy

G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting

  • 24 Jun 2021
  • 8 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Union Minister for Labour and Employment has said that India is making collective efforts to reduce gender gaps in labour force participation.

  • He was delivering the Ministerial Address on Declaration and Employment Working Group Priorities at G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting.

G20

  • It is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.
  • Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union.

Key Points

  • Issues Discussed:
    • The Employment Working Group deliberated upon key issues, including women employment, social security and remote working.
      • In 2014, G20 Leaders pledged in Brisbane to reduce the gap in labour force participation rates between men and women by 25% by 2025, with the aim of bringing 100 million women into the labour market, increasing global and inclusive growth, and reducing poverty and inequality.
  • Initiatives Highlighted by India:
    • Educational and Skilling Efforts:
      • New National Education Policy, 2020:
        • It aims for reforms in school and higher education systems.
        • India is strengthening its educational and skilling efforts to ensure quality education from preschool to senior secondary stage.
      • National Skill Development Mission:
        • It aims to create convergence across sectors and States in terms of skill training activities.
      • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana:
        • It enables the youth to take up industry related skill training to assist them in securing better opportunities.
      • Digital educational content has been made available on various e-learning platforms like DIKSHA, SWAYAM.
    • For Employment Generation:
      • Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana:
        • The government is paying up to 24% of wages towards EPF contributions for new employees as well as those who lost their jobs in the pandemic and are being re-employed.
    • To Ensure Women Participation:
      • New Code on Wages, 2019:
        • It will reduce gender-based discrimination in wages, recruitment and conditions of employment.
      • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana:
        • It provides financial support to women entrepreneurs to start small enterprises.
        • Collateral free loans worth Rs 9 lakh crore have been disbursed under this scheme.
        • There are around 70% of women in this scheme.
      • New Code on Social Security:
        • It may now include even self-employed and all other classes of workforce into the folds of social security coverage.
      • Others:
        • Women can now work even during night hours and the duration of paid maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
  • G20 Roadmap Towards and Beyond the Brisbane Target:
    • This has been developed for achieving equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men in the labour markets as well as societies in general.
    • The G20 Roadmap Towards and Beyond the Brisbane Target has been set as:
      • Increasing the quantity and quality of women’s employment.
      • Ensuring equal opportunities and achieving better outcomes in the labour market.
      • Promoting a more even distribution of women and men across sectors and occupations.
      • Tackling the gender pay gap.
      • Promoting a more balanced distribution of paid and unpaid work between women and men.
      • Addressing discrimination and gender stereotypes in the labour market.

Labour Force Participation

  • The labor force participation rate indicates the percentage of all people of working age who are employed or are actively seeking work.
  • India continues to struggle to provide its women with equal opportunity.
  • In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, female labor force participation in India was 23.5%, according to ILO estimates.
  • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2018-19, the female labour force participation rates (LFPR) among women aged above 15 years are as low as 26.4% in rural areas and 20.4% in urban areas in India.

Constraints in Female Labor Force Participation

  • Stereotyping in Society: India’s societal norms are such that women are expected to take the responsibility of family care and childcare. This stereotype is a critical barrier to women’s labor force participation.
    • Due to this, women are in constant conflict over-allotment of time for work and life is a war of attrition for them.
  • Digital Divide: In India in 2019, internet users were 67% male and 33% female, and this gap is even bigger in rural areas.
    • This divide can become a barrier for women to access critical education, health, and financial services, or to achieve success in activities or sectors that are becoming more digitized.
  • Technological Disruption: Women hold most of the administrative and data-processing roles that artificial intelligence and other technologies threaten to usurp.
    • As routine jobs become automated, the pressure on women will intensify and they will experience higher unemployment rates.
  • Lack of Gender-Related Data: Globally, major gaps in gendered data and the lack of trend data make it hard to monitor progress.
    • In India, too, significant gaps in data on the girl child prevent a systematic longitudinal assessment of the lives of girls.
  • Impact of Covid-19: Owing to Covid-19, global female employment is 19% more at risk than male employment (ILO estimates).

Way Forward

  • Work opportunities for women are restricted to a few sectors. Policies are needed to promote access to employment across the spectrum of sectors and occupations, investments in diversified sectors and upgrade to high-end activities, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas along with infrastructural support like transport, housing, sanitation facilities, lights and so on.
  • Encouraging female entrepreneurship can promote a broader dynamic economy, elevate the economic role of women, and therefore distribute the benefits of growth more equitably.

Source: PIB

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