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Ehsaas Labour Expert Group’s report in the pipeline

By Our Correspondent
December 12, 2019

Islamabad :The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group (LEG) in its 10th meeting held afforded an opportunity for all stakeholders to sit together and flesh out avenues for ensuring that every worker in Pakistan is provided protection and minimum standard of living as pledged in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The expert deliberations were held around key findings of draft report furnished by LEG for extension of social protection services to the informal labour sector in the first phase of its working.

Under the Ehsaas framework, LEG had been mandated with a unique opportunity to draw together federal government departments, provincial governments, international development partners, researchers, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), labour rights groups, and representatives of workers and employers from across Pakistan for expert deliberations on the draft report furnished by a writing committee of LEG so that practical steps can be taken to commence registration of informal workers. It was agreed that the draft report of LEG will be disseminated to the provinces for inputs before it is released in the public domain next month.

The LEG is concerned that the overwhelming majority of workers in Pakistan’s informal sector, as well as in the agricultural sector, do not have any social security coverage. As a first step towards providing social security coverage for every worker under the ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’ programme, the Expert Group has presented its recommendations that the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and OP&HRD devise a mechanism to register informal workers and open their bank accounts to ensure minimum wage rate.

During the course of nine meetings held in three months, representatives of provincial government departments and stakeholders presented progress achieved in their provinces, with 15 presentations delivered during the Expert Group meetings. The Expert Group is co-chaired by Secretaries of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Division (OP&HRD).

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar concluded, “Ehsaas believes in dignity of labour and has undertaken a holistic plan for the welfare of workers and their families, including domestic workers.” She appreciated the work of LEG and reiterated that preliminary findings will help to address elite capture on the one hand and will help to formalize the informal sector on the other.

The Ehsaas Programme is Pakistan’s largest ever social protection and poverty alleviation initiative. ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas,’ literally ‘compassion for workers,’ is about reducing inequality and investing in people.