SARNET at 56th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Labour Economics-International Symposium on ‘Women, Work and Structural Transformation In South Asia’, 17 December 2014, Ranchi
The Symposium was organised by Institute for Human Development, New Delhi; International Labour Organization (ILO), New Delhi; UN-ESCAP SSWA Office, and International Develop-ment Research Centre (IDRC),Canada in collaboration with Ranchi University under the auspices of South Asia Research Network on Employment and Social Protection on Inclusive Growth (SARNET)- The Symposium was chaired by Professor Nirmala Banerjee, Former Professor, Centre for Social Sciences, Kolkata. The Welcome and opening remarks were given by Professor Alakh N. Sharma, Director, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi Dr. Sher Singh Verick, Senior Employment Specialist, ILO, New Delhi and Professor L. N. Bhagat, Vice Chancellor, Ranchi University. The country perspectives on the theme were presented by Dr. Simeen Mahmud, BRAC University, Centre for Gender and Social Transformation, BRAC Development Institute, Bhaka(perspective from Bangladesh); Dr. Bandita Sijapati, Adjunct Professor,Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Kathmandu( perspective from Nepal); Dr. K. P. Kannan, Chairman, Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies and Former Director, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram (perspective from India);and Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, Visiting Faculty, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo and Independent Consultant (perspective from Sri Lanka). The panelists in the session included leading economists like Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud, Chairman, Economic Research Group, Dhaka; Member of UN Committee on Development Policy; Chairman, South Asia Network of Economic Research Institute, Dhaka; and Former Professor, Dept. of Economics, Dhaka University; Dr. Sher Verick, Senior Employment Specialist, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia; Professor Nisha Srivastava, Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Allahabad and Proressor Ritu Dewan, Director, Department of Economics University of Mumbai.
This Symposium on the whole highlighted that women did not gain from the neo-liberal growth and structural transformation that is witnessed in South Aisan countries. Dr. Sher Singh Verick explored the importance and implications of structural transformation for women and work in South Asia in general and with a focus on Indian situation based on evidence in the last decade. He presented evidence that suggests a decline in Female Labour Force Participation Rates on the whole for Asian countries. He pointed out that the pattern of growth in different sectors has specific implications for women's participation in work. Further, "there are many demand and supply-side factors driving participation and work status of women, he added. Prof. Kannan presented both an overall scenario of women's employment and disaggregated narrative for different socio-religious sections of women within India. He emphasised that, while on the whole women lost out in the neo-liberal growth context, it is the most vulnerable groups that experienced significant marginalisation and on the other extreme, the wealthier caste/class women with better education gained in the emerging markets like IT, Banking etc. Ramani Gunatilaka elaborated on the disappointing outcomes from neo-liberal growth for Sri Lankhan women despite their better initial standing compared to other South Asian countries. This, she pointed out, was because the emerging sectors did not benefit women which is reflected in their "weak representation" in these sectors.



International Conference on Meeting the Challenges of Employment and Social Protection in South Asia
14-16 December 2014, New Delhi

As part of country-based and comparative research, a South Asian network of researchers and institutions is being created under SANET. The countries involved in SARNET are Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SARNET organised a Regional Conference on “Employment and Social Protection in South Asia” during 14-16 December 2014 at New Delhi. The main objective of the Conference was to discuss ways to make growth in South Asia more inclusive.
The agenda of the Conference included: Introduction to SARNET; Presentation of Country Papers on Employment; Presentation of Country Papers on Social Protection; Panel Discussion on “Regional Cooperation in South Asia”; Discussion on Concept Note and Outline of South Asia Labour and Employment Report.
About 100 leading experts, scholars and development practitioners, from the member countries and other South Asian Countries like Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan participated in this high-profile event. The relationship between job creation and inclusive growth and the importance of social security policy of the country were broadly discussed during the three days Conference.



2nd SARNET Training Programme for Young South Asian Scholars on Labour Economics: Theories, Methodologies and Research Issues
2 -13 December, 2014, New Delhi

The 2nd SARNET Labour Economics Training was organized by the Institute for Human Development and the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the South Asia Research Network on Employment and Social Protection (SARNET) initiative, which is a collaboration of IHD, ILO with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP) with support from International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.
As many as 112 applications were received in response to the call for the training programme from across the South Asian countries namely; Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Maldives and from across states in India. 30 trainees including participants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Myanmar other than India were selected for the training programme.
The main objectives of the Training programe were: to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the latest theories of labour markets, econometric techniques and research methodologies, and key issues in the field of labour economics; to promote research on labour economics in South Asia; and to foster partnerships among young academics across the region. The course covered topics such as Theory of labour markets; Research methodologies; Growth, structural transformation and employment; Labour market institutions and policies; Earnings, inequality and labour market segmentation; and Emerging issues for labour economics research in South Asia.
The 11-day course was based on lectures by leading Indian and international experts, namely; Duncan Campbell, ILO, Sher Verick, ILO,J. Krishnamurty, IHD and former Senior Economist, ILO, E. Madheswaran, CESP, Bangalore Badri. N. Rath, IIT-Hyderabad, Sandip Sarkar, IHD and Balwant Singh Mehta, IHD, G.C. Manna, CSO, Ministry of Statistics and Programnme Implementation, Government of India, Anushree Sinha, NCAER, New Delhi, Arup Mitra, Institute of Economic Growth, Rizwanul Islam, former ILO Special Adviser, Iyanatul Islam, ILO, Selim Raihan, University of Dhaka, and Balwant Singh Mehta, IHD and Akhilesh K. Sharma, IHD who took the stata tutorial. A special lecture on Global Value Chains and Labour titled ‘The Who, Why and When of Decent Work (and who gets paid what…?) was delivered by Professor Raphael Kaplinsky, Development Policy and Practice, The Open University, University in Milton Keynes, England during the training programme.
The lectures were supplemented by group and practical activities. In addition, guest lectures and a policy panel session provided an opportunity for participants to interact with other experts, including those responsible for policy formulation and implementation. The trainees participated actively during the sessions. As a group activity participants were divided into groups and were required to prepare a presentation on a research proposal, which was reviewed by a panel of experts. The practical exercise drew a very encouraging response.
The course was coordinated by Dr. Sher Verick of ILO. The facilitation and the logistical support were provided by team from IHD.

SARNET Panel Discussion: Manufacturing in South Asia – The Way Forward, 17 December 2013 at 55th ISLE Conference Event
In the morning of 17 December during 55th ISLE a panel discussion on Manufacturing in South Asia – The Way Forward was organised jointly by ILO, IHD with support from IDRC, Canada. The chairperson for the session was Dr. Sher Singh Verik, Senior Employment Specialist, ILO-DWT. The country presentations in this session were made by Dr. Selim Raihan of University of Dhaka, Bagladesh (perspectives from Bangladesh), The country presentation on Sri Lanka was made by Dr. Sunil Kandambige Chandrasiri of University of Colombo and the Indian perspective on the me was presented by Professor Dev Nathan of IHD. The Discussants for the session were Dr. Rana Hasan, chief economist , Asian Development Bank and Professor T. S. Papola of ISID.

SARNET Symposium on “Youth Bulge in South Asia: Meeting the Employment Challenge, 15 December 2013 at 55th ISLE Pre-Conference Event
Prior to the formal commencement of the 55th ISLE conference, a pre- Conference SARNET symposium was organised on 15 December 2013. The Symposium was organised by IHD, ILO, UN-ESCAP SSWA with support from IDRC, Canada. The Symposium was chaired by Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Director UN ESCAP, SSWA office, New Delhi who emphasised the importance of various issues ranging from skills deficit in the global economy, employment and investment in education, health and capacity building. In his opening remarks Prof. Alakh N. Sharma , Director, IHD, elaborated upon the incidence of unemployment among youth in general and among educated youth in particular. Dr. Edgard Rodriguez, Senior Programme Specialist, Supporting Inclusive Growth, IDRC set the tone of discussion by talking about differences in labour market across South Asian region and meeting the challenge of integrating youth in the labour market of the region.
Various eminent scholars and economists from South Asia made their country presentation on the the theme of the Symposium. A global perspective on Youth employment was presented by Dr. Sher Singh Verick, Senior Employment Specialist, ILO, DWT, South Asia. Dr. Dilliraj Khanal of Institute of Policy Research and Development, Nepal talked about the meeting the employment challenges focussing on Youth labour market. Dr. Asasd Sayed of Collective for Social Science Karachi questioned whether the Youth Bulge in Pakistan was a dividend or curse? The Sri Lankan Perspective on the theme was presented by Dr. Ganaga Tilakaratna, Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo who stressed on improvement in quality of tertiary education, skills and training and argued that these improvements are essential to understand the situation of Youth labour market. Visiting Professor, IHD, Dr. J. Krishnamurty suggested for investment in education programmes specifically designed for youth a with new innovative tools like training vouchers and value chains. The presentations were followed by an open discussion.



Competitive Call for Papers by Young South Asian Scholars: Symposium on Labour Markets, Employment and Inclusive Growth in South Asia; 14 Dec, 2013
SARNET issued the first competitive call for papers on ‘Labour Markets, Employment and Inclusive Growth in South Asia’ for Young South Asian scholars (below the age of 35 years) of nationality (working either in the region or outside).
The topics and issues included, Pace and pattern of employment creation in South Asia during the last few decades and the kind of linkages that can be seen with growth performance; Reasons for a high level of informalization of jobs in South Asia; Policies and institutions needed to promote formalization; Constraints to manufacturing growth in South Asia; The dynamics of the emerging patterns of labour market inequality and social exclusion in South Asia and Changes required in labour market institutions to generate high quality jobs that lead to growth for the promotion of inclusive development.
Young South Asian scholars were invited to submit proposals for empirical papers, covering any or all of the major South Asian economies, including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. A total number of 134 proposals were received. The proposals and submitted papers were reviewed by a committee of international experts and 10 top quality papers were selected. The selected candidates presented the papers in the symposium on ‘Labour Markets, Employment and Inclusive Growth in South Asia’ on 14 Dec, 2013 and labour economics awards were announced for the best papers. The papers are now being revised by respective authors for final publication. SARNET reserves the right to publish accepted papers in some reputed journals and/or in a book.

Training programme for Young South Asian Scholars on ‘Contemporary Issues in Labour Economics’, 2-13 Dec 2013, New Delhi
A two-week long training programme for Young South Asian Scholars on ‘ Contemporary Issues in Labour Economics ‘ was organized from 2-13 Dec 2013, New Delhi by IHD in association with ILO with support from IDRC, Canada. The programme organized under SARNET had participants from the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Srilanka and India.
It covered a wide range of labour market issues including macro-economics of employment; population and labour force; markets and wage determination; labour market institutions; inequality and labour market discrimination and labour market policies. The programme was inaugurated by Prof S R Hashim, Chairman/ President, IASSI, and Prof Alakh N Sharma, Director, IHD delivered the welcome address. A set of internationally-renowned experts in labour economics like Prof. Ajit Ghosh, Dr. Iyanatul Islam, Dr. Gerry Rodgers, Dr. Kamala Sankaran, Dr. Sher Verick , Prof. T.S Papola and others conducted the training. Prof. J Krishnamurty, Visiting Professor, IHD was the lead resource person for the training. Proceeding

Inception Workshop for the Project: ‘Toward Inclusive Growth: Employment and Social Protection in South Asia’; 21-22 May 2013; IIC, New Delhi.
A two day Inception Workshop was organized by IHD on 21-22 May 2013 in collaboration with UN ESCAP, ILO with support from IDRC at the India International Centre, New Delhi for the project ‘Toward Inclusive Growth: Employment and Social Protection in South Asia’. The participating countries were Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the host country India. The objective of the workshop was to discuss the scope and modalities of the project, talk about the research issues of each participating country, identify research gaps in relation to the above theme, and come to a common understanding about the structure of the report and the activities to be done within the project period of three years. Spread over two days, representatives of the participating countries discussed the labour market situation and social protection issues in their countries, research issues and sub themes that could be taken up for study within the project and modalities of functioning of all participating countries of the network. It was decided that a data warehouse would be set up for the project and a portal would be designed where all data and necessary information would be available.

Launch of SARNET Project and Panel Discussion on "Challenges of an Employment and Social Protection Agenda for Inclusive Growth in South Asia";21 May 2013; IIC, New Delhi.
SARNET project was formally launched in a panel discussion organized by Institute for Human Development on 21 May 2013 in collaboration with UN ESCAP, ILO with support from IDRC at the India International Centre, New Delhi. In the Panel discussion experts and eminent economists discussed the high rates of growth and growing openness in South Asia that have raised expectations of better livelihoods and employment conditions. However, economic growth has not brought about the expected corresponding improvement in employment conditions, with a very large proportion of the work force remaining in poor-quality, low productivity employment in the informal part of the economy. A large majority of workers face insecurity of livelihood and vulnerability to contingencies, which reflects both the poor quality of the jobs they have and the absence of any institutionalized social security system. Deliberations on the variations in this situation in the different economies of South Asia also took place.The session was chaired by Prof. G.K. Chadha, President, South Asian University, New Delhi. Opening remarks were given by Professor Alakh N. Sharma, Director, Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi , Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist and Director, UNESCAP, New Delhi, Ms. Tine Staermose, Director, International Labour Organization (ILO), New Delhi and Dr. Anindya Chatterjee, Regional Director, Asia Regional Office, IDRC. Dr. Dilli Raj Khanal, Institute of Policy Research and Development (IPRAD), Kathmandu, Dr. Asad Sayeed, Senior Researcher, Collective for Social Science Research, Karachi, Dr. Rushidan Islam Rahman, Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Dhaka and Dr. Ganga Tilakaratna, Research Fellow and Head of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy Research, Institute of Policy Research, Colombo were the panelists.