Cabinet approves MoU amongst BRICS nations regarding cooperation in the social and labour sphere

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa, regarding Cooperation in the Social and Labour Sphere. The MoU was signed on 3rd August 2018 during BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers (LEM) Meeting.

The parties including India have agreed to cooperate and hold mutual events in the prominent areas viz. labor legislation and enforcement, protection of workers’ rights with a focus on vulnerable groups, Employment and labor market policies, Professional education, skills and training, and Social Protection.

The member countries may utilize the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutes and BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework for cooperation on Social Security and other labor issues.

However, the Memorandum is not an International Treaty and does not create rights and obligations for the parties governed by international law.

Significance and major Impacts:

The MoU provides a mechanism for cooperation, collaboration and maximum synergy amongst BRICS member countries with the common objective of inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the new industrial revolution.

This would facilitate member countries to share knowledge and also implement joint programmes on the matter of Labour and Employment, Social Security and Social Dialogue.

This would also ensure networking of international Training Centre of International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the BRICS Network of Labour Institutes which includes V.V. Giri National Labour Institute of India. This network would specifically focus on the theme of youth employment and research on new forms of employment. This network will also explore new learning technologies, including virtual network to deepen cooperation, exchange of information and capacity building.

The BRICS Social Security cooperation framework will deepen social security cooperation among BRICS nations and would facilitate cooperation for the improvement of social security systems and social security agreements among member countries.

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The BRICS Leaders’ Summit has convened annually with discussions representing spheres of political and socio-economic coordination, in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities, and areas of cooperation.

The Chairship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S. Over and above the summit, BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings. Cooperation among members is predicated on three levels or “tracks” of interaction, namely:

Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.

Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.

Track III: Civil society and “people-to-people” engagement.

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