9th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)

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Human and Social Development
Sectoral Overview || Basic Minimum Services || Education || Health || Family Welfare || Indian System of Medicine and Homoepathy || Housing, Urban Development, Water Supply and Civic Amenities || Empowerment of Women and Development of Children || Empowerment of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups || Social Welfare || Labour and Labour Welfare || Art and Culture || Youth Affairs and Sports

3.11 Labour and Labour Welfare

3.11.1 One of the major concerns of the Government has been the improvement of labour welfare with increasing productivity and provision of a reasonable level of social security. The planning process attempts to create conditions for improvement in labour productivity and for provision of social security to supplement the operations of the labour market. The resources have been directed through the Plan programmes towards skill formation and development, exchange of information on job opportunities, monitoring of working conditions, creation of industrial harmony through an infrastructure for healthy industrial relations and insurance against disease and unemployment for the workers and their families. The achievements of these desirable objectives in the areas of labour and labour welfare have been determined primarily by the kind of labour market that exists. The situation of surplus labour, coupled with the employment of most of the workers in the unorganised segments of the economy, has given rise to unhealthy social practices like bonded labour, child labour and adverse working conditions faced by the migrant labour. Within the available resources, a limited effort at handling these problems has been feasible.

3.11.2 Many of the initiatives taken by the Government for labour welfare and the role of the Plan in supplementing the efforts of labour, employer and the Government have to be reviewed regularly in the context of an evolving economic and social background. The social, economic and political conditions that existed in the initial years of planning in the country have changed. The trends in demographic, social and economic developments, that have taken place, are not always the same as expected and the Government policies have to be adjusted to the changing situation.

3.11.3 The diversification of economy away from agriculture, as measured by the sectoral pattern of employment, has been much slower than expected. The Second Plan had projected a decline in the workforce engaged in agricultural activities from 70 per cent in 1956 to about 60 per cent in 1976 , i.e. by 10 percentage points over 20 year period, but the actual decline has been much slower. Even in 1991, 64.9 per cent of the workers were in the agriculture sector, representing a decline by only 5 per cent from 70 per cent of 1976.

3.11.4 The share of the organised sector in employment has continued to be low and has been declining, accounting for 7.82 per cent of total employment in 1991. Within the organised sector, the private sector's share in employment reduced from 42 per cent in 1961 to 30 per cent in 1995.

3.11.5 The proportion of self-employed in employment has reduced but still it accounts for 56 per cent of those employed in 1992. The proportion of casual labour has increased from 19.7 per cent in 1972-73 to 28 per cent in 1992 among the male employees and from 30.7 per cent to 36.4 per cent among the female employees. The regular salaried employees constituted only 16 per cent in the case of male employees and 6.8 per cent in the case of female employees.

3.11.6 Employment per enterprise, enumerated in the economic census, has reduced from 2.92 to 2.88 persons between 1980 and 1990. Nearly three-fourths of the establishments enumerated in the 1990 economic census had less than five employees each and 90 per cent had less than 10 employees each.

3.11.7 Given the large share of those employed in the primary industries, outside the organised sector, in very small establishments and at casual status of employment, the strategy for benefiting the workforce in general has to be based on an increase in productivity rather than on attempting labour welfare through a frame-work of multiple regulations.

3.11.8 The labour movement in the country took shape when textiles, mines and plantation industries were the principal employers in the organised sector and when these industries were almost entirely in the private sector. A mutually acceptable independent third party used to arbitrate in the case of disputes between the employees and the employers prior to independence. After independence, the role of the arbitrator has been assumed increasingly by the Government. A system of labour tribunals with associated fora came into existence. Such a system can be effective only in the case of labour in the organised sector.

3.11.9 With 70 per cent of organised employment being in the public sector, a peculiar situation has developed in which the Government assumes the role of an employer as also of an arbitrator. In the public sector, there exist very effective, industry-specific associations of workers, which negotiate directly with the managements of the public sector enterprises. The role of the Government as an arbitrator in the public sector industrial disputes should, therefore, reduce drastically. Both the employers and the employees can select a mutually acceptable arbitrator, independent of the Government, on a case to case basis. The resources of labour administration infrastructure should become available increasingly for studying the working conditions of the unorganised sector.

3.11.10 In recent years, following the initiation of economic reforms in 1991, the rate of expansion of employment in the private sector has been higher than in the public sector. The rate of growth in private sector organised employment during the period 1987-88 to 1993-94 was 1.18 per cent as compared to 1.00 per cent rate of growth in the public sector employment. This is a welcome reversal of the relative situation that prevailed in the eighties. The gains from economic growth accrue to the labour force from the expansion of all-round employment and an increase in the real output per worker. The labour market in India, being for the most part outside the regulatory frame-work, has adjusted itself without much strain to the process of reform of economic policies. In labour disputes, the settlement can be much quicker if the rewards are linked with productivity improvement that comes from cost reduction and higher output.

3.11.11 Changes in the work culture can sometimes bring in a much larger all-round benefit than resistance to such changes. For example, resistance to changes in the structure of an industry will not benefit the workers. The services segment of the organised sector covering insurance, finance, trade, communication, transport and a variety of public services concerning health and welfare, is the largest segment of organised workforce. The benefits from the reforms in trade and fiscal policy to the consumer depend very substantially on a more flexible structure of the firms in these industries. During the Ninth Plan it is envisaged that the Trade Unions will contribute to promoting changes in the work culture. The contribution from the Trade Unions is also required for creating an environment that encourages linking of rewards to labour with productivity improvement in a more flexible structure of the firms that deliver such services. The trade unions have undertaken research studies on issues relating to improvement in labour productivity in the past utilising the insights acquired by them through the labour movement. The forum of Indian Labour Conference, where the labour representatives, employers and the Governments at States and Centre mutually interact, can make useful contributions by guiding research focussed at labour productivity.

Labour Laws

Review of Labour Laws

Benefits from existing labour laws reach a :minor part of the workforce because of administrative difficulty in implementation. Ninth Plan will aim at reducing the number of laws which determine relations between workers and employers, with the objective that a much smaller number of laws can reach the entire workforce.

3.11.12 The labour laws encompass areas like industrial disputes, wages and minimum wages, security measures like Workmen's Compensation Act, Equal Remuneration Act, Maternity Benefit Act, Child Labour Act, Factories Act, Mines Act, Contract Labour Act, Welfare Fund related legislation etc. The basic objectives of all these laws are to create a safe work environment, provide the mechanism and the procedure to settle industrial disputes and ensure minimum wages, payment of provident fund, gratuity and bonus etc. besides other statutory benefits, to the worker.

3.11.13 To maintain its sanctity, any particular law requires to be reviewed in the context of the changes that have occurred in the conditions that govern employment and industrial relations. The basic objective of initiating the process of economic reforms was to correct certain distortions and imbalances which had crept into the economy, to overcome the crises arising out of macro economic imbalances and to lay the foundation of an economic regime characterised by de-licensing, de-regulation and de-control, besides removing all irritants and stumbling blocks to the production system in order to make it competitive on the one hand and to integrate the national economy with global economy on the other. Radical changes have been made in the licensing system, in the mechanism governing import and export, in the foreign exchange regulations, and in the procedures for foreign direct investments. It is imperative to bring about corresponding changes in the labour laws.

3.11.14 It may be seen, however, that in the changed economic scenario, where displacement of labour is inevitable and existing labour force is expected to get retrenched, the workers thus retrenched are not affected adversely. With this in mind, the National Renewal Fund has been created out of which payments are made to the workers who are voluntarily retiring and funds are also provided for retraining and redeployment of the retrenched workers. Steps need to be taken so that the loss out of reform process is minimum for the labourers.

3.11.15 The labour laws enforcement machinery in the States is under a severe strain. The number of cases pending before the courts is too large to be handled. Any miscarriage of justice is difficult to avoid in such a situation. An effort to drastically reduce the number of labour laws from the present 150 or so, and devise a single labour code is necessary. This task is enormous. During the Ninth Plan period, action will be taken to (a) identify the laws which are no longer needed and repeal them; (b) identify the laws which are in harmony with the climate of economic liberalisation and hence need no change; (c) amend the laws which require changes and (d) revise the rules, regulations, orders and notifications etc. The Ministry of Labour has taken the preparatory steps in this direction.

3.11.16 At present, labour laws are targetted towards the organised labour force. The unorganised sector does not get much benefit out of the existing labour laws. Particularly vulnerable groups among the unorganised sector are urban informal sector, agricultural labour, migrant labour, women and child labour and poor landless workers who are poverty stricken. One of the laws which is widely applicable to this vulnerable groups is enforcement of minimum wages. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is primarily applicable to unorganised sector/sweated sector and empowers both Central and State Governments to fix/revise the minimum rates of wages in respect of scheduled employments under their respective jurisdiction. The minimum wages have been fixed at different levels by the different State Governments.

3.11.17 The subject of national minimum wages has been considered by several bodies in the past. The National Commission on Labour (1969) was of the view that such a wage in the sense of uniform minimum monetary remuneration for the country as a whole is neither feasible nor desirable. The 28th Indian Labour Conference (1985) also discussed the need for national minimum wage. It was felt that till such time the national minimum wage is feasible, it would be desirable to have regional minimum wage for which the Central Government may lay down the guidelines.

3.11.18 In the 33rd session of the Standing Labour Committee, it was suggested that measures should be taken to evolve a uniform floor level minimum wage for all unorganised establishments. The need for so fixing and notifying minimum wages that no wage is fixed below Rs.35 per day was felt. It was also suggested to the State Governments that the existing benefits should not be reduced and wherever the current level of minimum wages are more than Rs.35, they should be allowed to continue. The State Governments were also requested to take measures to reduce inter-state and intra-state disparity in minimum wages.

3.11.19 If properly enforced, minimum wages can offer greater potential for income transfers then special employment generation schemes. There may be opposition to this from rural oligarchy resulting in labour substitution through mechanisation, but Government must stress on enforcing minimum wages at least in short term periods like sowing/harvesting season. If minimum wages are properly enforced, it will reduce migration of population from rural areas to urban areas.

Social Security

3.11.20 The present approach to providing social security to the population has been framed in the context of a low recorded unemployment ( less than 3 % of labour force) but high incidence of poverty (more than 30% of households). A large number of those employed are getting wages that do not provide them an acceptable minimum level of living. The attempts at providing social security are targetted at the poor through special employment generation programmes on the one hand and provision of free or heavily subsidised basic needs like health, nutrition, housing and education on the other. Though 20 per cent of the Plan and the non-Plan expenditure of the Governments at the Centre and the States is directed towards the creation and maintenance of social infrastructure, the gap between what is needed and what can be made available within the available resources of Governments is too large.

3.11.21 The other effort of the Government to guarantee social security is through a set of laws, but such legal measures can tackle only the symptoms of a deeper malady underlying the economic and social situation, and that too to the extent the measures are enforceable. The administrative and legal infrastructure can not secure for all those in the unorganised workforce what the laws seek to provide for them.

3.11.22 Given the situation where the provision of social security encounters fiscal constraints and administrative limits to the enforcement of laws, the only feasible approach to reach social security to the population is by creating conditions wherein the "economically active" segment of population gets a reward for its labour, which affords a reasonable level of basic needs.

3.11.23 The working conditions of labour in those parts of the country where agricultural productivity is high and where the per capita income levels, in general, are high are by and large satisfactory. In these parts, the market wage is well above the statutory minimum wage. At some of the locations it is difficult to find the beneficiaries eligible to get benefit under poverty alleviation schemes because there are few households identifiable as below poverty line. The policies that enable high growth in output do reduce the burden on the planning process of providing social security.

3.11.24 However, the situation is not as good in the States characterised with low productivity and high level of poverty. There are inter-State variations in the levels of Minimum wages fixed. This calls for a periodic revision of minimum wages in all the States, which will ensure a level of income above the poverty line.

3.11.25 The Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme, framed under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, provides for medical care and treatment, cash benefit during sickness, maternity, employment injury and pension for dependents on the death of the insured worker due to employment injury, besides meeting the expenditure on the funeral of an insured person. The scheme is not applicable to non-power-using factories employing less than 20 persons now but efforts will be made to extend it to all factories employing 5 or more persons.

3.11.26 Health aspect is very important for an average worker, who is poor and can not sustain himself unless work is available. Unless he is fit, his earnings get directly affected. In these circumstances stress should be laid on proper health care arrangements for the workers in general and workers in the unorganised sector including urban informal sector in particular.

3.11.27 The agricultural labour which constitutes majority of workforce, is exposed to many potential risks at the work location. The hospitals receive a large number of cases of accidents at work in the field. The health, hygiene and industrial safety set up, which has so far remained confined mainly to manufacturing sector should allocate a substantial part of its resources to providing services to agriculture sector.

3.11.28 The Governments of Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have insurance schemes for the landless agricultural labourers. This needs to be extended for the entire country. The Welfare Boards for Mine Workers, Beedi and Cigar Workers etc. are financed by the cess levied on these commodities. A Cashew Workers Welfare Board exists in Kerala. In the Ninth Plan, a strong research and development effort will be mounted to facilitate the extension of social protection to all sections of the working population. A scheme of social security for the unorganised rural labour would be designed to provide for protection during the stoppage or diminution of income. The existing welfare schemes of the unorganised sector which are widely scattered and fragmented, will be integrated properly. Institutions and arrangements for providing group insurance to the rural poor across the country need to be made more effective and their coverage increased.

3.11.29 Any scheme that has to benefit the working population in the unorganised sector has to be employer-friendly. Identification of a prospective beneficiary is possible only with the active involvement of the employer.

3.11.30 The purpose of the National Scheme of Social Security is to explore the most appropriate institutional mechanism for distributing among the working population, what has been earned by its labour, rather than financing the full cost of social security.

3.11.31 A scheme of social security to the working population at a particular location can be effective only if the number of people who are to be reached through the scheme is manageable. The benefits of a uniform country-wide scheme cannot reach effectively all the locations. The requirements of the working population and resources that can be pooled from the workers, the employers and the State or national level institutions differ from place to place. Thus, the design of the efforts for providing social security has to be promoted on a location-specific basis.

3.11.32 Resources from the Plan can be used for demonstrating the viability of such efforts. Certain conditions need to be fulfilled. Resources should be raised primarily by the employees and employers. The Government can provide a token support but cannot meet the full expenditure incurred on social security. In the long run such location-specific schemes should invest their resources in, and earn from, the capital market. The schemes will have to be operated and managed jointly by the employers, employees and representatives of the local authority. The support from the Government, in the initial, and for a specified number of, years can be on a matching basis to the resources pooled by the employers and the employees. The support from the Government needs to be shared by the State Government and the Central Government. The primary purpose is to test and demonstrate the viability of a location-specific, and largely self-financing, effort to provide social security at a rate that broadly matches the market wage rate of an average worker at that location.

3.11.33 Such a scheme, to be owned by the local beneficiaries, has to have a strong location-specific character. The task of identification, in association with the employers, can be managed for a reasonable size of population unit. Hence, the formulation of location-specific social security schemes for a unit size of say 20,000 households or one lakh persons, under the supervision of local authority, will be encouraged.

3.11.34 The social security set-up as it exists among industrial countries is not applicable for India. Firstly, nearly half of those employed are the self-employed , which is a very small category in the industrial countries. Most of the self-employed are in the informal sector, in contrast to the industrial countries, where formal sector employs bulk of the workforce. Secondly, the incidence of poverty is high here and persistent over time. It is rooted in several structural features of the economy. These include low wages, their irregular payments and irregular employment.

3.11.35 A few states in India, namely, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu demonstrated the viability and potential of old age pension scheme. Some form of social assistance is also given to the workers in the unorganised sector. This could be considered by the other states. However, social security must be targetted to particular vulnerable groups like informal urban workers, migrant workers, women and children etc. However, multiple social assistance schemes will not be effective. It will be meaningful to choose the most cost effective ones among them for application across the board. Formal social security system can not be exclusively relied upon in a developing country like India. It is necessary to reform and to extend their applications where and when appropriate. However, there is considerable scope for improvement in most of the promotional and protective social securities programmes in efficient utilisation of funds through better administration.

3.11.36 Urban informal sector is a sector where mostly migrant workers are found. They are landless poor who come to the cities and find themselves in a difficult situation, staying in most unhygienic conditions. They do not have support of the trade unions. Steps may be taken to improve their lot with social security measures. The disabled workers are also in a disadvantageous position for whom special schemes are needed.

3.11.37 An effort at providing social security to the poor was initiated in the Eighth Plan period in the form of a National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). The programme comprises (i) Old Age Pension, (ii) Maternity Benefit and (iii) Family Benefit for the girl child in particular. This has been implemented mainly as a programme for the poor under the broad head 'Poverty Alleviation in Rural Areas'. In the Ninth Plan, an effort will be made to extend the coverage of NSAP to the casual and the self-employed workers in informal sector both in the rural and the urban areas. The objective will be to cover the economically active population outside the organised sector. To begin with, the beneficiaries will be those having income at a level below the average income. As discussed earlier, such a scheme will have to have requisite contribution by local authorities and the State Governments. Since the objective is to cover economically active population, the role of employers and the local authorities is crucial in identification of beneficiaries.

Employment Service

3.11.38 The employment service, set up under the Government comprises Employment Exchanges which register the job seekers and use this information for two purposes; (i) to send the names of the job seekers to organisations where the jobs arise and (ii) to present the data on job seekers and job placements as employment market information. Promotion of self employment is also achieved by providing information on the opportunities available. Registration of some special groups of job seekers like physically handicapped, professionals and executives, besides the demand for labour in specific industries like the coal mines and the plantations, is also attempted.

Towards a National Employment Service :

* Present Employment Service set up took shape at a time when the public services were expanding and there was a sharp increase in urbanisation linked with expansion of the organised services sector. There is a need for reorientation of Employment Service in the context of emerging markets.

* Employment Exchanges should be organised under a local society which can raise resources from the beneficiaries -the employees and the employer in return for the information provided.

* Area specific studies to assess the manpower needs of both the organised and informal sectors at district levels to be carried out.

* The ability of the existing employment service set up to identify the job seekers can be utilised for determining those eligible to get benefits related to unemployment.

3.11.39 This set-up took shape at a time when the public services rendered by the Government were expanding, the supply of educated manpower was increasing and there was a sharp increase in urbanisation linked with expansion of the organised services sector. The legislation on compulsory notification of vacancies, enacted in 1959, sought to bring the information on private sector job demands into the employment exchange information system. The function of identifying the job seekers has been assumed now primarily by the organisations where jobs arise. The private sector does not, practically, use the employment service provided by the Government. A number of placement agencies function outside the Employment Exchange set-up. Within the Public Sector, the personnel selection function has been strengthened, reducing sharply the reliance on Employment Exchanges. The Governments now reach the job seekers directly when a sizeable job demand arises. The number of jobs that arise in the public sector has reduced sharply with the reorientation of the role of economic planning. A number of special employment promotion schemes in small scale industry, khadi and village industries, animal husbandry and rural development do not have any linkage with this employment service. Within the public sector, including the Government administration, the role of employment exchanges in personnel selection has, therefore, practically vanished.

3.11.40 Some of the State Governments have attempted to enhance the utility of the employment service set-up. The efforts have been made in two directions, one is in extending the reach of the employment service set-up by taking the service closer to the people with the help of the available infrastructure facilities. The second is in helping the identification of the persons who are unemployed and can be considered for support. The Government of Gujarat has attempted to utilise the employment service set-up at the Taluka level by bringing the job seekers and the job providers together in Bharti Melas. The Maharashtra Government, in its programme of State-wide employment guarantee, intends to use the employment exchanges to identify the beneficiaries. The West Bengal Government has provided unemployment allowance to those registered, and in the process has generated some information on the number of unemployed persons in the State, by identifying them.

3.11.41 The strength of the present employment service set-up lies in its ability to function close to the job seekers at the field level. It is difficult to expect this set-up to provide "intelligence" on the labour market as this function requires strong technical capabilities. Such intelligence has to be gathered on "sample basis" rather than on "enumeration basis", which is the normal approach to data collection used by the Employment Exchanges. Most job seekers, registered at the Exchanges, are those looking for a change and are not necessarily unemployed. Efforts at streamlining the capabilities for the identification of the actual unemployed have been made by using computers to maintain and update the information on the job seekers.

3.11.42 National Employment Service in the context of newly emerging market scenario has to be reoriented. The employment Service must accept its enhanced role and pay greater attention to compilation and dissemination of comprehensive Labour Market Information, Employment Promotion and Vocational Guidance and give up excessive reliance on traditional registration and placement activities for the organised sector. Unorganised sector needs to be covered and focus to be shifted towards employment generation taking shape in the private sector, particularly in the services sector and not traditional manufacturing sector wherein growth of jobs has moderated downwards . Regular flow of data in respect of employment in the informal sector of economy needs to be generated through strengthening of Employment Market Information Programme.

3.11.43 The Employment Service needs to contribute towards employment management by providing reliable data base generated through surveys on the labour market process and skill needs by assuming the role of coordinator of promotional activities undertaken by different agencies. Area specific studies to assess the manpower needs of both the organised and informal sectors at district levels are required to be carried out.

3.11.44 If the Employment Exchanges are to function as placement agencies meeting the needs of the private sector, they should not function as a Department of the Government. These should be organised under a local society, which can raise resources from the beneficiaries - the employees and the employer, in return for the information provided. Wherever the management of an existing Employment Exchange is transferred to a local society, the State Government can consider offering a subsidy, equivalent to the revenue expenditure of the Government on running the employment exchange. The subsidy given to the society managing the employment promotion function, thus will be at no additional cost.

3.11.45 The ability of the employment service set-up to identify the job seekers can be utilised for determining those eligible to get benefits related to unemployment. At present, an "unemployment allowance" is not feasible. However, any effective scheme of social security to the working population has to be eventually based on an unemployment benefit, replacing the large number of schemes through multiple Central and State departments, which use multiple criteria to identify the beneficiaries namely poverty, backward class, minority status, gender, physical handicap, rural artisan, backward area etc. Each of these schemes seeks to benefit some one who needs employment and attempts to devise its own criterion and procedure for "identification" of the beneficiary. In the long run, the resources of Plan for social development will increase. But it is not possible to fulfil the entire needs of social infrastructure through public finance. Ultimately, the resources for this will have to come from the purchase of the service by the consumer in need of the service. An employment service set-up that functions close to a small population unit size can be an effective arm for providing social security benefits to those facing temporary spells of unemployment. A beginning in this direction will be made in the Ninth Plan.

3.11.46 Presently, the employment service mainly caters to the needs of jobseekers and requirement of the employer is not so much looked after. The Employment Service should provide quick and good quality service to the employers as well as employment seekers. The educational and training needs for entry in emerging establishments of private sector having large employment potential must be identified. Employment service should also cater to the needs of the persons seeking to pursue avenues for self-employment.

3.11.47 There is need for a coordinated action between Centre and States for evolving an effective employment service so that the existing gaps in the system are narrowed down. The gaps which already exist in the field of vocational guidance and in terms of computerisation of employment exchanges may be reduced. Employment Market Information Programme run through the employment exchanges needs to be strengthened.

Vocational Training

3.11.48 The National Vocational Training System (NVTS) seeks to provide training for developing the skills for production in those entering the labour force. Two major resources for such training are the Industrial Training Institutes, (ITIs) and the 25000 industrial establishments that take part in Apprentice Training. The National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT), a tripartite body under the Ministry of Labour, supervises this work. Vocational education and technical education are under the purview of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The intake is 4.74 lakh trainees in the 3083 ITIs in the public and the private sector and another about 2.59 lakh under the Trade Apprentice Scheme. Within the public sector, the States operate the ITIs and the Central Government trains the instructors at the Advanced Training Institutes (ATIs) and has a few ITIs for women. The Director General of Employment and Training (DGE and T) in the Union Ministry of Labour co-ordinates the activities among the Centre and the States.

3.11.49 The institutional set-up under DGE and T has evolved over a fifty year period with a clear definition of functions and responsibilities among different agencies for imparting training, curriculum development, and technical approval of the institutes. Training is imparted mainly in the engineering trades as a response to the requirements during the period of rapid expansion of engineering and capital goods industries in the manufacturing sector.

3.11.50 A few trades outside the engineering field are also covered but the bulk of the services sector, and the training needs of industries other than manufacturing, are handled by agencies other than DGE and T, such as the electronics establishments, agricultural institutions and medical institutions. For many of the large services sectors, such as transport and construction, much of the training skills are acquired on job. Since the DGE and T has concentrated on the provision of training of a reasonable standard, it has not been able to extend its area of operation beyond engineering into the services sectors.

3.11.51 Some of the existing difficulties in the system of vocational training are uneven spread of ITIs in different regions, small coverage out of the total school pass outs and drop outs, trade obsolescence, lack of training infrastructure, shortage of experienced staff etc. Training programmes being standardised on a national basis lack the desired flexibility to meet the regional and local needs. The procedural requirement for affecting changes are time consuming. Existing instructional packages in different trades need to be updated and made more attractive.

3.11.52 Women constitute a significant part of the work force. The National Vocational Training Institute in NOIDA (UP) and the Regional Vocational Training Institutes for women in different parts of India impart basic and advance levels of vocational training to women. Special attention is given to the modernisation and establishment of women Industrial Training Institutes under the World Bank aided Vocational Training Project. A women's Cell under the Office of Director General of Employment and Training is also coordinating with the States in the matter of Vocational Training for Women. The employment exchanges take special care to cater to the job needs of women registered with them. Proper linkage in respect of women training may be established between Director General of Employment and Training (DGE and T), Ministry of Labour and other Ministries like Department of Women and Child Welfare etc. and the training facilities available in the Institutions created or to be created under the education, health, agriculture, welfare, tourism sector plan programmes. DGE and T (Women Directorate) should be provided a role in making such linkages effective.

3.11.53 In the Ninth Plan, the Central Government will seek to strengthen the accreditation facilities for the training institutes on the pattern of the All India Council of Technical Education. Since the States have had the experience of actual training activity over a long period, they should also take up such functions through the State Councils for Vocational Training. In the Central Plan, the DGE and T may reduce its role on imparting training to the trainees and the instructors and extend its institutional expertise to the services sector, modern as well as traditional. As a leading agency for training those entering labour force, the DGE and T can co-ordinate the activities for the development of training courses in the fields of health, instrumentation, transportation, agriculture, rural industries, handicrafts, etc.

3.11.54 Enrolment of students at class X level is of the order of 75 lakh. The intake of the Vocational Training System is less than ten per cent of this. The position will not be very different even if the training facilities outside the NVTS set-up are included. Proper training being an essential input for improving labour productivity, a comprehensive view of the training facilities across all types of trades deployed in the production of goods and services needs to be taken by one agency. It is only through such an exercise that an appropriate choice in the distribution of public resources between academic education and training for production activities can be made. This will be attempted in the Ninth Plan. The DGE and T could be a suitable resource centre for this purpose.

3.11.55 In those parts of the country like the Southern States where industrialisation has taken place much earlier, the intake capacity in the non-Governmental ITIs is more than twice of those in the Government ITIs. In other parts of the country, the non-Government ITIs have less than one fourth of the Government intake. If the training needs of all the entrants to the labour force are to be met, the Government alone cannot deliver the goods. The training cost per seat has to be reduced and the course content made responsive to the needs of the local industry. The training institutes, that generate resources by way of fees, are better equipped, institutionally, to respond to the needs of the industry. In the Ninth Plan, the effort will be to increase sharply the intake in non-Government ITIs in the Northern and the Western States. Institutional set-ups, such as the Societies, with none or only a token input of public resources will be encouraged.

3.11.56 There is a need for demonstrating to the younger persons the benefits in terms of well-being and career development accruing from industrial training. At present, very few surveys comparing the career development of the youngsters who take to training at the right age vis-a-vis those who continue with academic education, are available. The mistaken notion that vocational training is only for the 'school drop-outs' needs to be dispelled and results demonstrated widely through applied manpower research.

3.11.57 The existing Vocational Training system is more supply oriented rather than demand oriented. It is, thus, less responsive to the changing technological and market requirements. Accurate, timely and sufficient data with regard to the absorption of trained craftsmen and apprentices in different sectors of economy, is largely absent. Such information is necessary not only for those trained under the Labour sector institutions but also for those trained under the Khadi, Village, Small Industries etc. institutions . Without such a database, the feedback for making changes in the system at the policy and operational level is not available and the expected outcome is all the more difficult to anticipate.

3.11.58 In order to bring qualitative improvement in the system, policy making functions on vocational training may be retained by the Director General of Employment and Training whereas delivery functions may be delegated to the All India Council of Vocational Training by formation of statutory boards on trade testing, affiliation, apprenticeship training etc. Ministry of Labour is considering autonomy for some of its institutes to allow flexibility in their day to day work instead of approaching the Government for approval in routine administrative matters.

3.11.59 At present, there is little linkage between vocational training and vocational education both at Centre and at the State level. There should be coordination between vocational education and vocational training imparted by various departments, so that the programme designs, curriculum and service provided are in conformity with each other.

3.11.60 In the available ITI seats in the country, the North Eastern States have a very low share. The employment opportunities in the government offices have shrunk due to constraint of resources faced by the State Governments. In the Ninth Plan, a special effort will be made to expand the vocational training facilities in the North-Eastern States with support from the Central Plan for this Sector, under Ministry of Labour.

Children at work

3.11.61 The framers of the Indian Constitution consciously incorporated relevant provisions in the constitution to secure compulsory universal elementary education as well as labour protection for children. Labour Commissions and Committees have gone into the problems of child labour and made extensive recommendations. The existence of child labour in hazardous industries is a grave problem in India. Efforts will be taken in the Ninth Plan to modify the existing National Child Labour Project. A major activity undertaken under this scheme is the establishment of special schools to provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition, stipend, health care etc. to children withdrawn from employment. Under the existing scheme, there are 76 such projects throughout India. This will help the working children and the children who do not have any access to the formal schools because of parental poverty. Parental poverty and higher birth rate in 1970s were and still are responsible for a large number of children joining work force at an early age. This scheme will partially take care of the existing child labour problem and this will be supplemented by schemes like universal education etc. run by other Departments. Government is also actively involved in generating awareness among the people against employing a child as a labourer, especially in hazardous industries. This programme will continue in the Ninth Plan and the responsibility of education of child labour will be taken up by the Ministry of Labour.

Research in Employment and Manpower

3.11.62 The Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR) is a society carrying out training and research activities. The Institute has conducted training courses for national and international participants. Its infrastructure needs to be strengthened. The Institute is supported by grants-in-aid from the Planning Commission. At present, the five theme areas for research on which the institute is working are: i) Employment and Unemployment, ii) Human Resource Development, iii) Science, Technology and Industry, iv) Social Concerns and v) Manpower Information system. The research capabilities of the IAMR for carrying out research in employment and unemployment will be strengthened further.

3.11.63 The work of the Institute should also contribute towards a better understanding of the effect of various social sector programmes on building up of human capital. Effective networking of research efforts with Labour Bureau, Labour Institutes at Centre and States, Statistical Departments at Centre and States, and the Central and State Departments responsible for social sector programmes can make a significant contribution towards this objective.

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