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Women in informal workforce needs reorganization, says experts

New Delhi, October 27 (G’nY News Service): Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) organized a National Symposium on ‘Women in Informal Workforce: Prospects and Challenges’ between 27th and 28th of October, 2015. The program was directed by Dr. Nupur Tiwari who is also an Assistant Professor – Political Science, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in IIPA. The conference was funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).

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Ms. Annie D. Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women in the keynote address of the conference flagged some of the most relevant issues, which would be further discussed as the conference proceeds. She provided valuable inputs about how the government is going to try to tackle the issue of women’s involvement in Informal Sector. She said, “There was not just one answer to all the problems – the most important factor being that majority of farmers as well as agricultural workers/labourers do not own land”.

In a brief conversation with G’nY correspondent Ms Raja added that the majority of the workforce, which have small or medium amount of land, needs to have land reformation with gender equality. She also pointed out that, pooling land and work force between small and medium landowners would be necessary as they can help each other out and share profits, which might not be possible if they work independently. All these steps, she said, will in turn produce sustainable income generation. The main focus of her discourse was on promoting allied activities between women workers in these sectors.

Following the keynote address, a special address by Dr. Iyanatul Islam, Chief of the Employment Policies Branch, ILO, Geneva, was riveting, followed by a thematic address by Dr. Sudhir Krishna, Former Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India.Vandana Gupta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India, also provided valuable insights in her speech.

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The eminent panelists for the Conference included Prof. Madhu Kishwar, Professor, Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), who identified the problems as the archaic mindset of the general population and the government and the problem in implementing even the good policies; Dr. Mahipal, Director (P&P), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), who recognized the problems as the lack of skills to build social capital and turning induced mobilization into organic mobilization; Prof. Preet Rustagi who pointed her discourse towards women providing household services in urban areas adding that everyone wants a good, trained and skilled labour but are not ready to pay the price that they demand; apart from others such as Prof. Sonalde Desai,Senior Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi (NCAER), Prof. Ratna Sudarshan, Former Director, Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST), Prof. Ujjwal Singh, Head, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, Prof. Preet Rustagi, Professor, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi (IHD); and, Ms. Jyotsna Chatterjee,  Director, Joint Women’s Programme, New Delhi (JWP).

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