‘NEED’ for STPC to benefit unrecognised labour

‘NEED’ for STPC to benefit unrecognised labour

October 10, 2005, The Indian Express

The Network of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (NEED) a voluntary development organisation, has requested Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to expedite the process to set up a pro-poor State Trade Policy Council (STPC). The argument is that a large number of women participated in Self Help Groups (SHGs), farmers’ interest groups, production and cooperated groups. They play a very important role in trade practices at the local level. But still they are deprived of adequate benefits as they constitute unrecognised labour force.

Chief Executive of the organisation, Anil Kumar Singh, told the Indian Express that a letter in this regard was sent by Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, to all the Chief Ministers a few months ago. But it could not be constituted due to the reasons best known to the State Governments.

“Going by the social structure and poverty, due to unorganised women force in cottage industries, the need for such a council was most required in Uttar Pradesh. We are ready to provide all the logistic support to the government.

Since we already have done grassroots work among women who are directly involved in the process of production, but are getting peanuts. Our expertise would be an assets to the government”, he said.

“Our motive is to ensure direct participation of women in world trade. For example, they constitute a major work force in the production of chikan, which is exported to many countries.

The organisations involved in the production earn heavy profit from export, but we have not seen any improvement in the quality of life of women artisans. Similar is the case with Banarasi Saree weavers. So we strongly advocate a State Trade Policy Council”, he emphasised.

The basic concept is to monitor trade practice in the state and mainstreaming agricultural products from the developing countries into the framework of World Trade Organisation.

Besides STPC, NEED had requested the government to take initiatives for establishing a World Trade Organisation’s cell in Uttar Pradesh. “A large part of rural population in UP, including Panchayat functionaries, media and other stakeholders need to have direct access to the information and its mechanism about WTO. The cell can coordinate with local groups”, a letter written to state government read.

Singh said there was an urgent need for promoting handmade items, extensive promotion of handicrafts and a code of conduct to ensure fair trade.