Union Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said the under employment in terms of productivity and income was of great concern to the government.

Addressing the 43rd session of the standing labour committee held here on Friday, he said as per 2004-05 estimates, the unemployment figure touched 10.8 million besides the problem of the working poor. But open unemployment in India was not high when compared to the size of the population, he said.

During the 11th Five Year Plan, 58 million new job opportunities would be created. This plan provided an opportunity to restructure policies to achieve a new vision based on faster, more broad-based and inclusive growth, Mr. Kharge said.

The Minister also launched the “National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work” brought out by his Ministry. The policy aims at preventing the transmission of HIV among workers and their families; protecting the rights of those who are infected; providing access to available care, support and treatment facilities; dealing with issues relating to stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS by assuring them equity and dignity at the workplace and ensuring safe migration and mobility with access to information services on HIV/AIDS.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Harish Rawat said social security mechanisms had emerged as the saviour at the time of crisis. He added that the government planned to provide social security benefits in a sequential manner to the vast unorganized sector.

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