July 21, 2012

Agewell's Oral Statement at 2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment


2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment on

“Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs"

Respected President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the years we at Agewell Foundation in India have realized that the right to work assuring both the income security and dignity should be available to all who are capable of working. Large part of the world, even in 2012 remain dominated by manual labour. This is low income occupation and poverty persists for a majority of the people.  While looking at employment and decent work in the context of both rights and employability, we invite governments to factor in the issue of AGE. Most countries in the world today are experiencing a gradual demographic transition from younger to older in their population pyramid. This is the time to project value that we all place on Ageing as a continuing resource.

Changes in economic policy and shifts in both public and private sector demands, challenge a workforce whose existing skills and capabilities may be losing value. In today’s world re-tooling opportunities are not available to everyone and even change of work does not guarantee a ‘decent’ work alternative. Most people in the world have to settle for whatever they can get. In today’s scenario where material resources are not assured, can the older worker be the ‘part’ of the resource rather than be regarded as a liability or a welfare recipient?

Among those driven to compromise is the older generation of workers. Their foothold in inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth is precarious, with both age and out-paced skills going against them. 

Pledged to inclusive social and economic justice for all, most of the world is shifting towards liberalization, and the private sector – industry and commerce – operates in a market it increasingly controls…. Still a larger proportion of people remain poor, with work and income security at a subsistence level.  With most old people seeking income security and viable occupation in the unorganized sector, the essential question may not be retention but redesigned utilization. Developing countries must pursue this possibility as an investment doorway, not as ‘kindness’

Billions in the world today are working with very poor returns, and the  worst-off, with the least bargaining capacity, are ageing workers

In bypassing the continuing potential of older workers, nations may be losing an available resource. There is a need for both realism and creativity in national strategy for productive employment. India and other countries should be encouraged to consult the very generation that is silently witnessing a period it could actually enrich.

Thank you very much.

www.agewellfoundation.org  +91 98100 30979
Himanshu Rath : - Founder – Agewell Foundation 

Agewell's Written Statement at 2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment


 2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment on
“Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs"

The right to work –assuring both income security and dignity – should be available to all who are capable of working. India in 2012 remains dominated by manual labour, with agricultural labour preponderant. This is a low-income occupation, and poverty persists for a majority of the people.

Changes in economic policy and shifts in both public and private sector demands challenge a workforce whose existing skills and capabilities may be losing value. Re-tooling opportunity is not available to everyone; change of work does not guarantee a ‘decent’ work alternative. Many in India have to settle for whatever they can get.

Among those driven to compromise is the older generation of workers. Their foothold in inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth is precarious, with both age and out-paced skills going against them. Where the village shoemaker was valued for locally handmade leather footwear, the plastic or rubber sandal now prevails. What is the re-tooling potential? The issue is not of productive capacities per se, but of their market relevance, even in their home base.

Can mere employment raise productive capacity? India’s flagship employment assurance scheme under the Minimum National Rural Employment Guarantee Act targets the rural workforce, offering 100 days of low-skill employment annually to people in their native location. This leaves 265 days a year income-insecure. It also does little to change or upgrade skills.

Pledged to inclusive social and economic justice for all, India has shifted towards liberalization, and the private sector – industry and commerce – operates in a market it increasingly controls. A large proportion of the people remain poor, with work and income security at a subsistence level. Despite 11 five-year national development plans, extensive unemployment, and ‘under-employment’ persist; the neediest lack the abilities now in demand. A shortage of ‘decent’ work for the most vulnerable is predictable fallout of this situation. India should be encouraged to revisit the aim of equitable job security.

Of millions in India working at demeaning tasks for poor returns, the worst-off, with the least bargaining capacity, are child workers and aging workers. Children -- under-age for employment -- should be safeguarded against labour. The old get classified as over-age while they still have much to offer and contribute. They should be safeguarded against being discarded.

The current age profile of vulnerable workers in India needs investigation. Official estimates put child workers at 11 million; other projections are higher. Children, being 40% of everyone in India, vastly outnumber the old. Of India’s 100 million aged over 60 years, 65% have ‘no source of income.’ Official data puts workers aged above 60 at 28 million. So most of the old are without work, and indigent, even if they are capable of working. They deserve a better deal.

In bypassing the continuing potential of older workers, nations may be losing an available resource. There is need for both realism and creativity in national strategy for productive employment. India and other countries should be encouraged to consult the very generation that is silently witnessing a period it could enrich.

July 3, 2012

Agewell Foundation at UN Conference


AGEWELL FOUNDATION AT UNITED NATIONS ECOSOC HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT DURING 2012 ANNUAL MINISTERIAL REVIEW 

Being in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC at United Nations, Agewell Foundation has been invited to participate in 2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment, starting from 2nd July to 9th July 2012  at United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.

The theme of the high level segment is - “Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs"

Mr. Himanshu Rath, Chairman, Agewell Foundation will deliver an oral statement on the subject in Indian perspective during the session.