BRICS EWG Meeting
17/05/2021

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Context:

Recently, India has chaired the First BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting, held virtually.

  • Participants: Representatives of member nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the representatives of International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Social Security Agency (ISSA).

About Meeting:

  • Gig and Platform Workers’ Role in Labour Market
    • Members discussed how the proliferation of Digital Labour Platforms is transforming the labour processes in the world of work.
    • They also discussed challenges faced by them and various measures being taken by member nations including extension of social protection systems.
  • Formalization of Labour Markets
    • Members discussed various initiatives taken by them towards formalization of jobs.
    • They also discussed how COVID-19 has enhanced informalization risk.
  • Promoting Social Security Agreements (SSA)
    • SSA is a bilateral agreement between India and a foreign country designed to protect the interests of cross border workers.
    • The agreement provides for avoidance of ‘double coverage’ and ensures equality of treatment to workers of both countries from a social security perspective.
    • As on date, India has signed SSAs with 18 countries.
    • SSAwould help the international workers to port their benefit to their home countries thereby preventing loss of their hard-earned money.
      • They will be exempted from contributing both in home as well as host countries.
    • Members resolved to enter dialogue and discussion with each other and take it forward towards signing of the agreements.
    • They also converged on devising a multilateral framework for the same.
    • ISSA and ILO expressed willingness to provide technical support in facilitating conclusion of such agreements.
  • Participation of Women in Labour Force
    • Members resolved to promote participation of women in remunerative, productive, and decent work.
    • There was a consensus on extending social security cover to the women workers engaged in the informal sector.
    • Impact of Covid-19 on participation of women in the labour force was also discussed.

India’s Low Spending on Health:

  • According to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), India's public expenditure on health is the lowest among the BRICS nations.
  • It also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a setback in the journey of SDGs.
  • Also, there is a wide variation in the public expenditure that happens on health as well as on education.

 

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