“While the education system in India will shift drastically towards technical or skills-based education even at the school level, however, the change will not occur overnight and will take a while. “Here we need to remember that our focus should be on creating entrepreneurs who will create jobs apart from imparting skills to make the job easier,” said Satyajeet Rajan, Secretary of Labor. , Powers and Excise of the Government of Kerala in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW Businessworld The following excerpts:
How was your last year of pandemic?
The pandemic has had both positive and negative aspects. On the plus side, we’ve learned new ways to do less expensive business. It has also allowed us to be self-sufficient and at the same time, it has allowed us to instill good healthy habits such as the use of masks and disinfectants. As for the negative aspects, the second phase has had a very big weight.
The pandemic has demanded jobs from many skilled workers and professionals as well over the past year. What key takeaway lesson did you prepare for during this crucial period?
The pandemic, as well as containment and mitigation measures designed to stop its spread, had a significant but heterogeneous impact on skills demand. The total volume of job offers has fallen sharply, with even greater declines in some sectors. However, the demand for specific skills in the healthcare, IT and logistics sectors increased. There is also evidence of an increase in vacancies involving distance work agreements.
How has your department dealt with the problems of migrant workers over the past year, which has drawn massive attention?
The government of Kerala considers all citizens equally. During the pandemic situation, special attention was paid to both domestic workers and migrants. The first priority was to keep them healthy and safe. The Department of Labor, in coordination with other departments, provided shelter, healthy food, food supplies and cooking facilities (if workers want to prepare their own food). Steps were also taken to ensure recreational facilities and address psychosocial issues.
What steps have been taken to restore the work of these people who lost their bread and butter during the last pandemic?
The Kerala government has ensured all measures to ensure that workers are properly reinstated in the jobs. We have given official orders to employers to curb the restriction and have taken action against employers to act against the interests of workers. Our agents carefully dealt with all the problems and worked hard to keep the peace in the labor sector.
Kerala is known to be one of the most educated states in the country. As a state skills development authority, what are the key steps you have taken to improve skills development among citizens?
The structure of skill and education will face a rapid change of face and a complete change in the coming days. In the current scenario, people are required to do multiple tasks and most skills and education are taught through online materials. Teaching most skills online meant a huge drop in the endemic. The use and application of computer and IT-based education is of utmost importance for everyone to adapt.
As the Indian education system is becoming intensely focused on creating work-oriented knowledge even for schoolchildren, how do you think it will affect the education system in general?
While India’s education system will shift drastically towards technical or skills-based education even at the school level, however, the change will not happen overnight and will take some time. to impact the system. Here we need to remember that our focus should be on creating entrepreneurs who will create jobs apart from imparting skills to make the job easier.
With the second wave of Covid coming to the states, what steps is your department taking to manage Covid and migrant workers?
Due to the start of the second wave of COVID 19 in the state, the Labor Commissioner has issued a circular to ensure the safety and well-being of interstate migrant workers. An emergency meeting was convened by the Labor Commissioner, including all additional Labor Commissioners, the Joint Regional Labor Commissioner and the District Employment Officers, to assess the current scenario on the working conditions of workers in the ISM and native state workers in the context of COVID. The first priority was given to give awareness and confidence to ISM workers. The Labor Commissioner instructed all officers to ensure the correctness of the data while entering the data of the ISM workers in the spreadsheets provided. The decision was also made to obtain details of ISM workers traveling in and out of Kerala either by starting the registration center at the district railway stations or by seeking that the railway administration share the prescribed details with the Department of Labor. Necessary steps were taken to obtain permission from the divisional manager of Southern Railway, to collect data from the state railway stations. For the effective functioning of the Department during this crisis, he asked the Government to declare the Department of Labor as an essential service and to create a control committee at the Commissariat of Labor. The government was also asked to conduct exclusive vaccination camps for ISM workers in each district and to award € 3 million of the ISM program for the Department’s effective containment activities.
He started the telephone helpline / call center in all districts and together with the Labor Commissioner telephone helpline, working 24×7 to resolve the grievance of migrant workers. An adequate number of multilingual staff has been deployed to call centers to talk to workers and deal with their complaints. The Department organized call centers in 14 district offices with support people with multiple language abilities to provide adequate help and support to migrant workers. Circulars / instructions issued to all officials of the department to manage the operation of control rooms, containment activities, publicize ISM workers, distribute protection measures, etc.