India to brief G-20 on its successful NREG scheme

India to brief G-20 on its successful NREG scheme

Top officials from the US Department of Labour, organisers of the event, said the innovative 100-day rural employment guarantee scheme has been successful beyond the expectations of almost every one. "India has learnt and has refined the strategy. So there is a great deal of anticipation to hear from Minister Kharge about these policies, how they have worked, and are there lessons that are transferable to other countries at low and middle income levels," Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs Sandra Polaski told foreign journalists.

"The employment minister from India, who is attending the conference, has been asked to speak about that as one of the key innovations that India has made, a policy which has been challenging to implement but at the end of the day very successful. I think successful beyond the expectations of almost everyone," Polaski told reporters. Labour and employment ministers from top 20 economies of the world are scheduled to attend the conference being convened at the instance of President Barack Obama. Recommendations of the conference would be submitted to the next G-20 Summit meeting in Toronto later this year.

"This meeting, as you know, comes at a time of tremendous challenge for workers in the G-20 countries. The prompt actions of many of our governments last year prevented a true global depression. The ILO, estimates that 20 million jobs were saved or created by collective stimulus plans and our social safety nets in 2009 and 2010," US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis said. The unemployment rates were still high, unacceptable in the US and across the globe, she said, adding there was the need for creating more jobs.

"I will take up this mandate, along with the other G-20 ministers, with the hope to accomplish two main goals. The first is to prepare a set of recommendations for measures that countries should consider in order to tackle the job crisis," she said. It would help to set the stage for a sustainable balanced recovery that would create good jobs for all those who want to work or are underemployed, the secretary added.

"The second goal is to develop an understanding among the ministers of the range of labour market conditions and challenges faced by the G-20 countries in order to build a foundation for future discussion and cooperation, so we can in fact learn from each other's experiences," Solis said.

Recommendations and strategies would allow greater progress on employment in each of the countries and at the global level, she said, adding this was a historic opportunity to come up with a concrete set of recommendations. While all the countries are to be represented by their Labour and Employment Ministers, those from France, Germany, Britain and the European Commission were unable to attend because of the current air-travel disturbances.

"However all of the countries that are not able to make it either had already sent senior officials who were in place, vice-ministers or under-secretaries who carry the relevant portfolios. And in other cases, they are sending their ambassadors to the US to represent the country," Polaski said. It was a meeting for the ministers to discuss, among other topics, how they can be sure that the crisis does not lead to a lowering of working conditions and how it does not lead to violations of labour laws, she added.

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