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From the compiler

Ravi Kumar

Greetings. I am sure it has been an exciting beginning of the New Year and after all it has always been a time for fresh starts and hope for beautiful times ahead! May all your aspirations unfold exceedingly in the present year!

At REEDS, the beginning has certainly been more than exciting! We are able to get a significant and valuable attention to our Skills Development advocacy. His Excellency President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, has consented to inaugurate SKILLS2013 Conference!

Considering his exalted status and the value that his association would lend to the whole endeavor, while we wait for the exact dates from President’s secretariat, it is now decided to reschedule the conference in April / May 2013.

SKILLS2013 Conference On the occasion of inviting His Excellency President of India Shri Pranab Mukarjee to inaugurate SKILLS2013 Conference. - 21 December 2012.

While we are conscious of the inconvenience may have caused to you to this change, we are sure that you appreciate the considerations behind the decision and count on your continued active involvement.

While we talk on our skills development initiative, I wish to share the following interesting and enlightening remarks that drew my attention in the latest International Finance Corporation‘s report on JOBS STUDY [JANUARY 2013]:

The world is facing a double jobs challenge: creating a large number of jobs and creating better jobs. The economic crisis has added 27 million new unemployed, leading to a total of 200 million unemployed worldwide in 2011. More than 600 million jobs, (mainly in Africa and Asia, largely due to demographic trends) must be created in the next decade to ensure that unemployment does not increase even further as millions of young people enter the workforce.

Almost a third of workers are still poor, and about half—particularly women— are informal workers. In some of the poorest countries, informality and underemployment, rather than unemployment, are the main issues. Vulnerable employment, often in the form of informal employment, is frequently associated with poor productivity, and has barely decreased worldwide in the last decade—from 52.8 percent to 49.1 percent.

Approximately 45 million job seekers join the labor force every year in the current challenging macroeconomic environment, yet more than one-third of companies in 41 countries around the world report an inability to find the workers they need. This suggests a mismatch between the workforce skills demanded and supplied within countries and in the global economy.

By 2020, it is estimated that there will be a global surplus of 90 to 95 million low-skilled workers. By 2020, advanced economies will face a surplus of 32 to 35 million workers without a college education; while in India and developing economies, this number could be approximately 58 million. The mismatch of skills is expected to grow, both in advanced economies and in developing countries.

 

The gender participation gap and wage gap between men and women persist. Women comprise 49.6 percent of the world’s population but make up only 40.8 percent of the formal global labor market. This is untapped economic and productive potential. More broadly, equality of employment opportunities for men and women is associated with poverty reduction and higher GDP levels. Globally nearly half (48.4 percent) of the available productive potential of females is underutilized or unutilized, compared to 22.3 percent for men. Barriers preventing women from fulfilling their economic potential are estimated to have cost the Asia-Pacific region somewhere between $42 and $46 billion in GDP losses.

These alarming facts surely demand and justify our skills development advocacy and particularly the issue being global, the need and challenges in International Cooperation. Nothing new under the sun? If yes, why are these factors still not sufficiently taken into consideration? Is it because they are not explicitly understood? Or is it because the conditions under which the programs are carried out do not permit these factors to be sufficiently considered?

It is our profound desire that SKILLS2013 deliberate these challenges and deliver applied and correlated solutions in achieving humungous targets in the right 'scale' and 'speed'.

We have had another satisfactory enterprise in the New Year! REEDS, as a National Level Monitoring Agency for Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, was assigned with monitoring of their eight rural development programs including the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – MGNREGS at three of the districts – Tirrupur, Pudukottai and Sivaganga in Tamilnadu.

This prestigious assignment has given us an opportunity to visit 30 villages at these districts to comprehend communities’ awareness, reach of programs, implementation environment, community involvement and role of local body institutions of these rural welfare programs.

Thanking you for your continued support in all our endeavors and let’s together make 2013 more purposeful.

With best regards,


Ravi K Reddy
January 17, 2013

 
   
 
 

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