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Linking funds to labour standards concerns India

The move may restrict financing of important projects

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: May 14 2016 1:16PM | Updated Date: May 14 2016 1:16PM

Linking funds to labour standards concerns India

India is under pressure from developed countries, which are seeking to connect multilateral development funds to labour standards.

 
According to ‘The Economic Times’ report, the move may restrict financing of important projects.
 
For decades, West has sought to use labour standards in emerging and developing countries, trying to link trade with the issue. 
 
Developing countries have avoided such attempts but some of Asian Development Bank (ADB) members are now trying to get labour standards to once again occupy the centre stage. 
 
While no formal proposal has come to the board of ADB, large donors to the multilateral development have kicked off the move to link labour standards to funding. 
 
At annual meeting of ADB in Germany recently, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said it is pushing to get the internationally recognized core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) firmly established in the financing conditions of all multilateral development banks and will continue to push this topic in G20 circles. 
 
"The proposal has not come to the board formally. We will try to convince them not to bring in new standards. It is a kind of non-tariff barrier," said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified. 
 
International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by ILO's constituents — governments, employers and workers — setting out basic principles and rights at work, according to a document of the ILO. 
 
"They are either conventions, which are legally binding international treaties that may be ratified by member states, or recommendations, which serve as non-binding guidelines," the ILO document said. 
 
These standards cover basic human rights at work, respect for safety and health, and make sure that people are paid for their work.
 
Indian officials appreciated the move to link loan condition to vocational training which they said will help in bridging skill gaps and develop standards.