Fifty five years ago, India attained independence and stood on the threshold of progress and innovation. The vision for the country was industrialization through socialism. Thus evolved the massive public sector which, it was believed would create enormous employment opportunities.
The public sector, however, could not meet the demands and expectations of the people and soon, the private entrepreneurs entered the industrial arena, and the local indigenous industries faced competition from the international giants. Employment opportunities gradually declined as saturation levels were reached in industry. Then, the late 1980's an era of liberalization was ushered in, bringing in its wake, regeneration of employment opportunities albeit for a short span. The Indian industry fell short of achieving any substantial measure of success in the international market because of a dearth of skilled labour. The major global players, in this era are the communications and IT industry -both have created an enormous demand for skilled workforce. The Government and public sectors being ill equipped to provide the requisite training and development, resorted to utilizing the experience and expertise of the private and non-governmental institutions to develop and equip the large human resource of the country with the requisite skills. Sadly, there has been negligible development of the vast human resources at the grass root level, the unskilled workers. This is due in large part to the extent of illiteracy in the country, which has increased the level of unemployment in the unskilled sector. This large sector has been most threatened with the advent of globalization and it is being perceived that their level of unemployment will further increase.
It is against the backdrop of this scenario, that the Delhi Government has taken the initiative to ameliorate the employment opportunities and socio-economic status of the substantial workforce in the city. It has substituted the Employment Generation Program by numerous Self-help Employment Short Term Courses". There would be in all initially, 49 self-help Employment Courses for the unskilled labourers, which would be conducted under the aegis of the Delhi Labour Welfare Board, under the dynamic leadership and benevolent guidance of the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dikshit.
The Delhi Labour Welfare Board has also formulated 25 Labour welfare schemes for implementation during the X Five Year Plan. These schemes have been meticulously formulated keeping in view the needs and requirements of the workforce in Delhi. The schemes would go a long way in improving the living conditions and economic status of the workers and their families. The Board has initially started implementing schemes viz.
- Setting up of a "Shramik Blood Bank" which will be operated in collaboration with the Red Cross Society. In case any worker or a member of his family requires blood in any emergency situation, it would be accessible as the scheme envisages that both, the donor and the recipient would be a worker or his/her relative.
- Launching of Mobile Labour Welfare Van with facilities such as emergency medical aid, health checkup, childcare, education, library, tailoring & cutting classes and other self help employment vocational courses for the women and children of the working class.
- Setting up of free legal aid cell. Delhi Legal Authority's patron-in-chief, Hon'ble Justice-S. B.Sinha Chief Justice, Delhi High Court has very kindly acceded to the board's request to set up "Free Legal Aid Centers" at Karkardooma Court and Eight (8) Welfare Centers in Delhi.
All the above schemes can only be effectively implemented through the active and collective participation (Bhagidari) of all the stake-holders namely, the workers, the employers, non-government organizations and the state Government. The Board will ensure that the labour welfare schemes, which it undertakes, will be carried through and monitored, so that the beneficiaries receive the optimum advantage and profit which they have lacked due to want of initiative on the part of those concerned.
The above steps will definitely help in making a tangible difference in bringing about social and economic upliftment of the workers in Delhi.