Strengthening social protection systems and active labour market policies is the need of the hour given that many people, including the most disadvantaged, “will remain unemployed even after recovery takes hold.”

This was one of the key recommendations made to President Obama by United States Secretary of Labour Hilda Solis and her fellow G20 labour and employment ministers attending a two-day meeting here focussed on helping nations’ leaders coordinate labour market policy.

The ministers additionally recommended that continued attention must be paid to job creation and job preservation, including “vigorous implementation of existing policies and consideration of additional employment measures.” They said that especially in countries with extensive underemployment it was important to target efforts to generate employment for poor households and vulnerable groups, “utilizing lessons learned from recent policy innovations.”

The Department of Labour said that in this context the attending ministers reviewed the “massive programmes” launched in the last year in response to the crisis and discussed additional measures to ensure a sustained recovery that produces enough jobs for workers. They also discussed a 21st-century job skills training strategy, the Department of Labour added.

At the meeting the Indian Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge made a detailed presentation on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, two flagship employment policies of the Government of India.

According to the Indian Minister for Press here, Rahul Chhabra, Mr. Kharge’s presentation “generated discussion among the labour ministers who wanted to learn more about these two schemes which had touched the lives of such a large number of beneficiaries.”

In particular labour ministers of other nations expressed an interest in learning about how technology was used to reach the rural masses in remote areas, Mr. Chhabra said, adding that the Brazilian Labour Minister Carlos Lupi had also praised India’s achievements through such schemes and stated that these initiatives are specially worth replicating for large countries with diverse populations.

Secretary Solis added, “At the end of the day, recovering from the crisis and restoring sustained and balanced growth that creates enough good jobs for our people are goals that we cannot accomplish alone in our own countries. In an integrated global economy, we have to work together.”

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