Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister of Labour and Employment, met US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis in Washington on 22nd April, 2010. Also present at the meeting were: from the US side, Deputy Under Secretary Sandra Polaski and Senior Advisor, Ms. Sudha Haley; from the Indian side, Ambassador Meera Shankar and Labour Secretary, Mr. P.C. Chaturvedi
Shri Kharge congratulated his counterpart on the initiative and leadership shown by her in organizing the G-20 Labour Ministers’ Meeting and in bringing them together and fostering discussions that had led to valuable inputs to their leaders in the shape of the Recommendations of the meeting.
Secretary Solis thanked Shri Kharge for his participation in the event which was appreciated by the participants.
The two Ministers discussed the impact of the economic downturn on employment and spoke about some of the key measures that the two governments had taken to mitigate the social impact of the crisis. They agreed that policies for providing social protection also created jobs.
The two Ministers agreed to follow up on the recommendations developed by the G-20 Ministers this week. They also discussed future bilateral cooperation, including ways that the two countries could share technical expertise on a range of issues, including skill-development.
The Indian side impressed upon the need to recognize that India had achieved significant progress towards comprehensive social security coverage and to commence negotiations on a bilateral Totalisation Agreement, pointing out that Indian professionals were paying huge amounts as social security contributions without being able to draw any benefits as they were not allowed to stay long enough to
qualify. It would be mutually beneficial to work out a suitable reciprocal arrangement to avoid the hardship of double payment of social security.
Shri Mallikarjun Kharge invited Secretary Solis to visit India and see some of the social programmes that the Ministry of Labour & Employment was implementing.