On 1 November, the fifth Indo-German intergovernmental consultations took place in New Delhi. State Secretary Björn Böhning was there to represent the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in India and spoke with Heeralal Samariya, Secretary at India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment, about managing change in the world of work in India and Germany.
Secretary Samariya reported on current government plans in the field of labour and employment, in particular the reform of labour legislation in India, underlining India's interest in a closer bilateral exchange of ideas with Germany and inviting State Secretary Böhning to continue the dialogue in the coming year.
As a result of their constructive and lively discussions, both sides agreed to work together more closely on three issues: occupational health and safety, decent work in the platform economy and migration of skilled workers.
For over ten years now, Germany and India have enjoyed strong cooperation on the issue of occupational health and safety. The DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) and its Indian partners have implemented a number of initiatives at national and state level in India. State Secretary Böhning and his Indian counterpart both praised the cooperation and welcomed the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the intergovernmental consultations. The new MoU extends the existing cooperation between the two countries to include the fields of rehabilitation, occupational reintegration and the management of occupational diseases.
An important topic both in Germany and in India is how to deal with new kinds of jobs in the digital age, such as work in the platform economy. Both sides agreed that in the platform economy there must also be fair regulations, decent working conditions and adequate social protection. State Secretary Böhning reported on the ongoing work to develop approaches to ensuring decent work in the platform economy in Germany. The two countries planned an in-depth exchange of ideas on this issue, in particular, moving forward with data collection in the platform economy.
Secretary Samariya and State Secretary Böhning also reaffirmed their interest in strengthening cooperation between Germany and India on the migration of skilled workers to Germany against the background of the new legislation on the immigration of skilled labour to Germany. Talks on this issue are to commence in the coming months. This fits well with the principles for an Indo-German mobility and migration partnership agreement adopted during the intergovernmental consultations.
Both countries will also continue to work together to promote decent work and social justice worldwide as partners in the G20 and in the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
You can find the joint statement of the fifth Indo-German intergovernmental consultations here.