‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas’ Report launched to protect workers’ welfare

ISLAMABAD   –  To commemorate Labour Day 2021, Ehsaas hosted a webinar on Saturday to e-launch, ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas (MKE) Report’ that recommended every labour worker in Pakistan should be provided with the social protection and minimum standard of living. 

The webinar was co-chaired by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) Syed Zulfikar Bukhari.

Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Dr. Sania had established the Ehsaas Labour Welfare and Social Protection Expert Group (LEG), in a tripartite arrangement. The mandate of LEG was to propose evidence-based practical recommendations to safeguard workers’ welfare. 

The LEG brought together distinguished experts representing the government at the federal and provincial levels, employers, trade unions, academia, private sector, development partners and NGOs. The Expert Group made strenuous efforts to widely consult, deliberate and realistically propose crucial areas of interventions for expanding social protection with maximum multiplier gains for the labour class.

The MKE Report recommends that as a first step towards providing social security coverage for every worker under ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’, a mechanism needs to be devised to register all informal sector workers, including those in the agricultural sector. To this end, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) is setting up a dedicated MKE Unit to continuously work for the welfare of informal sector workers, agriculture sector workers as well as workers in the formal sector who are not protected by current social security measures.

Formally welcoming findings of the report, SAPM Dr. Sania said, “Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the first to stand for the rights of workers when he said to pay the worker his wages before his sweat has dried.” 

The MKE Report is the first of its kind that will help the government to focus on universalising the social protection system in Pakistan and with a particular emphasis on including informal economy workers in the fold of social protection. 

She said, “Labour Force Survey 2017-18 microdata suggests that 24.89 million workers are at-risk for jobs disruption and income losses. The government has taken unprecedented steps to minimise the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash 2020 is an example of that, which largely protected over 14.8 million daily wage earners and their households whose livelihoods had been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Endorsing the finding of the report, SAPM Zulfiqar Bukhari said, “The Ministry of OPHRD is committed to PM’s vision of Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas to ensure equitable distribution of resources in the society and giving all our workers a right to a basic standard of living. The government will do its utmost to ameliorate and improve the socio-economic conditions of workers both in Pakistan and overseas. I also urge the provincial governments to accelerate their efforts to protect rights of workers.”

The webinar offered a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to sit together and deliberate on avenues for action on policy recommendations of MKE Report. 

The panel included Dr. Aliya Khan, Labour Economist, and representatives from Ministry of OPHRD, ILO, Employers Federation Pakistan, Pakistan Workers’ Federation, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. 

The panel of experts widely lauded and endorsed the insightful findings of the MKE Report and its recommendations for implementation.

 

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