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Updated: May 7, 2010 03:09 IST

‘Action plan will give thrust to national policy on HIV/AIDS'

Staff Reporter
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“A committee could be formed to come up with an action plan to implement the national policy on HIV/AIDS and World of Work,” said Ramesh B. Zalki, secretary, Department of Labour.

“The committee, which could include experts and representatives from unorganised sector trade unions, could help us create a road map,” he added while speaking at the State-level workshop on National Policy on HIV/AIDS and World of Work, organised by Department of Labour and Population Services International's Project Connect, here on Thursday.

Welcoming the national policy, Mr. Zalki said the committee should come up with an action plan in one month's time.

What is needed

“Through the action plan, we could ensure that workers with HIV do not lose their jobs, and help create a conducive environment and support systems for the workers.

The labour officials should spread the message in their respective areas. The recommendations of the committee could be implemented in July,” he said.

Social fabric

Mr. Zalki said the policy is based on the 10 guiding principles of the International Labour Organisation's Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and World of Work.

“Due to the social culture here, people, even those who use contraceptives, are not open about it. Even purchasing contraceptives from medical stores is done with some hesitation and awkwardness,” he said. He suggested that Condom Vending Machines could be installed in hotels and dhabas (eateries) across the State. Divya Verma, Senior Programme Officer, ILO's Sub-Regional Office, said that effective collaboration and implementation of the national policy would protect the Indian working population and mitigate its social and economic impact. She later spoke about the relevance of workplace policies and lessons from policy development, dissemination and implementation.

What firms can do

M.S. Ravishankar, Commissioner, Department of Labour, said that it was now time to draw a road map with definite milestones to ensure non-discrimination of workers and continued care and support.

He also suggested that larger companies, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, should adopt certain towns and take up active programmes, such as opening of ART centres and prevention programmes.

Partners

Atul Kapoor, programme director, PSI, spoke about Project Connect.

He said the ILO and Revised National Tuberculosis Control Project (RNTCP) are technical partners on the project, which is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Anand Rudra, project management specialist, USAID and Gurudas M. Bhat, chief executive officer and secretary, Karnataka Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board, spoke at the workshop.

Framework

Later, group work was undertaken to create a framework for developing a detailed action plan to be implemented by the Department of Labour in collaboration with ILO, PSI and KSAPS in Karnataka.

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