ILO and India
India assumed the role of chair of the International Labour Organisation’s governing body for the period of October 2020 till June 2021. It is taking up the role after a gap of 35 years.
• India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization, which came into existence in 1919.
• At present the ILO has 186 Members. A unique feature of the ILO is its tripartite character.
• At every level in the Organization, Governments are associated with the two other social partners, namely the workers and employers.
• The three organs of the ILO are:
o International Labour Conferences: - General Assembly of the ILO – Meets every year in the month of June. It adopts biennial programme and budget, adopts International Labour Standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations and provides a forum for discussing social, economic and labour related issues.
o Governing Body: - Executive Council of the ILO. Meets three times in a year in the months of March, June and November. It is the executive wing of the Organization.
o International Labour Office: - A permanent secretariat.
• The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up the International Labour Standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations. Conventions are international treaties and are instruments, which create legally binding obligations on the countries that ratify them. Recommendations are non-binding and set out guidelines orienting national policies and actions.
India’s engagement with ILO
India is the founding member.
India has regularly and actively participated in the Conference through its tripartite delegations.
The Conference has so far had 4 Indian Presidents and 8 Indian Vice Presidents. Four Indians have so far been elected Chairmen of the Governing Body.
Indians have chaired the important Committees of the Conferences like Committee on Application of Standards, Selection Committee and Resolutions Committee.
The approach of India with regard to International Labour Standards has always been positive.
The influence of ILO Conventions as a standard of reference for labour legislation and practices in India, rather than as a legally binding norm, has been significant.
Ratification of a Convention imposes legally binding obligations on the country concerned and, therefore, India has been careful in ratifying Conventions.
It has always been the practice in India that we ratify a Convention when we are fully satisfied that our laws and practices are in conformity with the relevant ILO Convention.
India has so far ratified 41 Conventions of the ILO, which is much better than the position existing in many other countries.
There are only two conventions which are not ratified by India, namely, Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention.
India argues that a better course of action is to proceed with progressive implementation of the standards, leave the formal ratification for consideration at a later stage when it becomes practicable.