According to a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, around 6.8 million daily-wage earners lost their jobs in India since April 2020. In the absence of better career opportunities, the report also said that 14.9 million people took to farming during this period. From the report, it is evident that there is no synergy between the industry, workers, and the government. The Singapore government recently said that they are creating advantages for the country by following a strict tripartite pact. Following the same footsteps, it is now time for India to revisit this old but discarded consultative process of tripartism.
Tripartism is a social dialogue between the workers, employers, and the government, which became obsolete in India in the lack of a long-term vision. The flaws in the current economic system have now become greatly evident in the pandemic, and so, it is the need of the hour that uniformity of understanding comes in between the employees, employers, and the government. Till now, this engagement has only been limited to legislative consultation.
In a developing economy like India, the gum line has two possible motives to interfere in the market economy. One is the consideration of the impact of the government’s actions on a specific stakeholder, i.e., consequentialism. The other is the understanding of principles like laissez-faire (economic doctrine in which transactions between private parties are controlled through economic interventionism such as regulation and subsidies) or dirigisme (economic philosophy in which the state plays a strong directive role over a capitalist market economy). Even the state governments can do their part like the Kerala government that has introduced a minimum wage of Rs. 600 to workers, both local and migrants.
The employer-led initiatives are mostly taken by big groups and aim to create a non-exploitative workplace for employees at the bottom of the supply chain. There are also initiatives in the form of positive actions taken for the welfare of the consumers and employees. The National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental, and Economic Responsibilities of Business’ (NVGs) also advocate the employer’s responsibility towards different stakeholders.
The workers are the most important part of any business structure, and their voice is of immense importance. There are two main reasons why their voices matter the most. Firstly, they know the industry from its most fundamental part. Secondly, the inclusiveness of the workers in decision-making can help boost productivity. For example, the Cashew Workers Union and the Cashew Processing Unit Owners in Palasa (Andhra Pradesh) have an agreement to revise the wages every two years. There have been conflicts on the percentage of increment, but the pact remains intact. Such responsible actions from all three units can help create a revived economy, and the growth shall be embraced by the country, wholeheartedly.
Suggestions by the Policy Times
- It is high time now that the Indian economic system revises its objectives and makes the agenda more inclusive.
- All sections of the business need to communicate with each other and work towards an inclusive and better future.
- An effective tripartite system will also lead to sync between the demand and supply, which will potentially enhance economic growth.