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Labor and Social Protection

Announcing the winners of the 2018 #OneSouthAsia Photo Contest

World Bank South Asia's picture

Home to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, South Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

It's also one of the least integrated.

A few numbers say it all: Intra-regional trade accounts for only 5 percent of South Asia’s total trade; Intra-regional investment is smaller than 1 percent of overall investment.

Has Bhutan’s growth been jobless?

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Bhutan's youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016
Bhutan continues to maintain solid growth and macroeconomic stability but job creation is lagging; its  youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016. This indicates that high growth has not been able to generate enough jobs for youth. 

“The main driver of growth in Bhutan continues to be the hydropower sector, but electricity generation does not create job,” said a senior government officials attending the presentation of The World Bank’s South Asia Focus on Jobless Growth on June 28th in Thimphu. The report was presented by Martin Rama, World Bank South Asia Region Chief Economist and was attended by senior government officials, parliamentarians and development partners. The presentation alongside the launch of Bhutan Development Update was a great opportunity for the policy makers to better understand and synthesize Bhutan and the South Asia region’s development opportunities.

In the case of Bhutan, it seems clear that growth alone will not allow it to attain higher employment rates as enjoyed by some other developing countries.

"More than 1.8 million young people will reach working age every month in South Asia through 2025 and the good news is that economic growth is creating jobs in the region,” said Martin Rama,. “But providing opportunities to these young entrants while attracting more women into the labor market will require generating even more jobs for every point of economic growth.”

The report informs that the fall in employment rates has been much faster in the region particularly in India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and especially for women, risking foregoing the demographic dividend. While it is evident that the number of working age people is increasing, the proporation who are at work has declined owing to prioritization of the households to education, health and other commitments with increasing level of income.

How to boost female employment in South Asia

Martin Rama's picture
What's driving female employment in South Asia to decrease

South Asia is booming. In 2018, GDP growth for the region as a whole is expected to accelerate to 6.9 percent, making it the fastest growing region in the world. However, fast GDP growth has not translated into fast employment growth. In fact, employment rates have declined across the region, with women accounting for most of this decline.

Between 2005 and 2015, female employment rates declined by 5 percent per year in India, 3 percent per year in Bhutan, and 1 percent per year in Sri Lanka. While it is not surprising for female employment rates to decline with economic growth and then increase, in what is commonly known as the U-shaped female labor force function (a term coined by Claudia Goldin in 1995), the trends observed in South Asia stand out. Not only has female employment declined much more than could have been anticipated, it is likely to decline further as countries such as India continue to grow and urbanize.

The unusual trend for female employment rates in South Asia is clear from Figure 1. While male employment rates in South Asia are in line with those of other countries at the same income level, female employment rates are well below.
From the South Asia Economic Focus
Source: South Asia Economic Focus (Spring 2018).

If women are choosing to exit the labor force as family incomes rise, should policymakers worry? There are at least three reasons why the drop in female employment rates may have important social costs. First, household choices may not necessarily match women’s preferences. Those preferences reflect the influence of ideas and norms about what is women’s work and men’s work as well as other gendered notions such as the idea that women should take care of the children and housework. Second, when women control a greater share of household incomes, children are healthier and do better in school. Third, when women work for pay, they have a greater voice in their households, in their communities, and in society. The economic gains from women participating equally in the labor market are sizable: A recent study estimated that the overall gain in GDP to South Asia from closing gender gaps in employment and entrepreneurship would be close to 25 percent.

It’s time to end malnutrition in South Asia

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across South Asia as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.

In Sri Lanka, as in the rest of South Asia, improving agricultural production has long been a priority to achieve food security. 

But growing more crops has hardly lessened the plight of malnutrition. 

Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices. 
And children and the poorest are particularly at risk.

South Asia is home to about 62 million of the world’s 155 million children considered as stunted-- or too short for their age. 

And more than half of the world’s 52 million children identified as wasted—or too thin for their height—live in South Asia. 

Moderate-to-severe stunting rates ranged from 17 percent in Sri Lanka in 2016 to a high 45 percent in Pakistan in 2012–13, with rates above 30 percent for most countries in the region.

Moderate-to-severe wasting rates ranged from 2 percent in Bhutan in 2015 to 21 percent in India in 2015–16, with rates above 10 percent for most countries in the region. 

The social and economic cost of malnutrition is substantial, linked to impaired cognitive development, chronic disease, and lower future earnings.

And sadly, much remains to be done to ensure children across South Asia can access the nutritious foods they need to live healthy lives. 

The latest poverty numbers for Afghanistan: a call to action, not a reason for despair

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو

The just-released Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey (ALCS) paints a stark picture of the reality facing Afghanistan today. More than half the Afghan population lives below the national poverty line, indicating a sharp deterioration in welfare since 2011-12.[1]  The release of these new ALCS figures is timely and important. These figures are the first estimates of the welfare of the Afghan people since the transition of security responsibilities from international troops to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in 2014.

While stark, the findings are not a surprise

Given what Afghanistan has gone through in the last five years, the significant increase in poverty over this period is not unexpected. The high poverty rates represent the combined effect of stagnating economic growth, increasing demographic pressures, and a deteriorating security situation in the context of an already impoverished economy and society where human capital and livelihoods have been eroded by decades of conflict and instability.

The withdrawal of international troops starting in 2012, and the associated decline in aid, both security and civilian, led to a sharp decline in domestic demand and much lower levels of economic activity. The deterioration in security since 2012, which drove down consumer and investor confidence, magnified this economic shock. Not surprisingly, Afghanistan’s average annual rate of economic growth fell from 9.4 percent in the period 2003-2012 to only 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2016. With the population continuing to grow more than 3 percent a year, per capita GDP has steadily declined since 2012, and in 2016 stood $100 below its 2012 level. Even during Afghanistan’s years of high economic growth, poverty rates failed to drop, as growth was not pro-poor. In recent years, as population growth outstripped economic growth, an increase in poverty was inevitable.

په افغانستان کې د فقر په هکله د وروستیو ارقامو او شمېرو خپراوی: د عملي او مخنیوونکو اقدامونو لپاره خبرتیا، نه د ناهیلۍ رامنځته کول

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری

د افغانستان د احصائيي مرکزي ادارې لخوا په افغانستان کې د ژوند د وضعیت د څېړنې سروې موندنې په دغه هېواد کې د شته واقعیتونو به هکله یو مشرح انځور څرګند کړی. ترلاسه شوي معلومات دا څرګندوي، چې د افغانانو له نیمایي څخه زیات نفوس د فقر د کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، چې دا حالت د ۲۰۱۱ – ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کلونو[i] په پرتله د ټولنیزې- اقتصادي اوضاع په لا خرابېدلو دلالت کوي. د دغې سروې د تازه ارقامو او معلوماتو خپراوی په ډېر مناسب وخت کې ترسره کېږي، ځکه چې دا ارقام او اړونده تحلیلي ټولګه ېې د افغانستان د خلکو د هوساینې وضعیت وروسته له هغه چې په ۲۰۱۴ کال کې له نړیوالو ځواکونو څخه د افغانستان امنیتي ځواکونو ته امنیتي مسوولیتونو لېږد ترسره شو، په تفصیل سره څېړلۍ ده.
که څه هم د دغې سروې موندنې ناهیلۍ کوونکې دي، خو د حقیقت پربنسټ دي

دې حقیقت ته په پام سره، چې افغانستان په تېرو پنځو کلونو کې له زیاتو پېښو سره مخامخ شو او ډېرې لوړې او ژورې ېې تجربه کړې، نو ځکه په اوس وخت کې د فقر او بیوزلۍ د بې ساري زیاتوالي تمه هم کېدله. د فقر لوړه کچه د اقتصادي فعالیتونوله کمښت، د نفوس د زیاتوالي او د امنیتي وضعیت له خرابېدلو سره مستقیمه اړیکه لري. له بلې خوا د داسې یوې ټولنې جورښټ، چې اقتصادي بنسټونه ېې د اوږد مهاله جګړې او بحران له امله ویجاړې شوې وي او بشري ځواک او معیشتي برخې ېې د ټیکاو او امنیت د نه شتون له امله خورا زیانمنې شوي وي، پرته له کوم شک څخه، چې د فقر ټغر هم پکښې ډیر پراخ پاتې کېږي.

د ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کال په لومړیو کې د نړیوال ایتلاف د ځواکونو په تدریجي وتلو سره، او په ورته مهال د افغانستان د ملکي او پوځي څانګو د مالي مرستو کمېدل، د اقتصادي فعالیتونو او د خصوصي سکټور خدماتو لپاره د تقاضا کچه ېې په شدت سره زیانمنه کړې  ده. له ۲۰۱۴ کال وروسته د امنیتي وضعیت خورا خرابوالۍ د دې لامل شو، څو د پانګوالو او مستهلکینو باور په سیاسي اوضاع باندې را کم شي، او له دې امله یو ستر اقتصادي ټکان رامنځته شو. پرته له کوم شک څخه د افغانستان اقتصادي وده، چې له ۲۰۰۳ څخه تر ۲۰۱۲ کلونو پورې شاوخوا ۹،۴ سلنه وه، وروسته له هغه چېد ۲۰۱۳ تر ۲۰۱۶ کلونو په ترڅ کې امنیتي وضعیتخورا خراب شو، نو له امله ېې اقتصادي وده هم ۲،۱ سلنې ته را ټیته شوه. د نفوس د کچې د ۳سلنې، کلنۍ وده سره جوخت، د ناخالص کورني تولید په حساب د سرانه عاید کچه له ۲۰۱۲ کال راپدېخوا په دوام داره بڼه را ټيته شوې ده، څرنګه چې د ۲۰۱۲ کال په پرتله په ۲۰۱۶ کال کې د ۱۰۰ امریکايي دالرو په اندازه را ټیټه شوې ده. د یادونې وړ ده، چې حتي په هغو کلونو کې چې افغانستان یوه ښه اقتصادي وده لرله، د فقر او بېوزلۍ په کچه کې هراړخیز لږوالی رامنځته نه شو، ځکه، چې د اقتصادي ودې محور د هېواد په بېوزلو سیمو کې د فقر په کموالي تمرکز نه درلود. پر دې سربېره، په وروستیو کلونو کې له اقتصادي ودې څخه د نفوس د کچې د ودې چټکوالی، د دې لامل شوی، څو د فقر لمن نوره هم پراخه شي.

نشر آمار و ارقام اخیر پیرامون وضیعت فقر در افغانستان: هشدار برای اقدامات عملی و پیشگیرانه، نه ایجاد نا امیدی

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو

نشر سروی وضعیت زندگی درافغانستان توسط اداره مرکزی احصائیه یک تصویری کلی از واقیعت های موجود را در این کشور برملا میسازد. آمار و ارقام ارایه شده حاکی از آنست که بیشتر از نصف افغانها در زیر خط فقر زندگی مینمایند، که این حالت نشان دهنده تشدید وخامت اوضاع اجتماعی- اقتصادی نسبت به سالهای ۲۰۱۱-۲۰۱۲ میلادی[i] میباشد. نشر یافته ها و ارقام تازه این سروی در زمان مناسبی صورت میگیرد، چنانچه که این ارقام نخستین بسته معلومات تحلیلی پیرامون چگونگی وضعیت رفاه مردم افغانستان را پس از زمان انتقال مسؤولیت های امنیتی از نیروی های بین المللی به نیرو های امنیتی افغانستان در سال ۲۰۱۴ فراهم میسازد.

باوجود اینکه یافته ها این سروی نا اُمید کننده اند، اما مبتنی بر واقیعت اند

باتوجه به آنچه که در افغانستان در طی پنج سال گذشته اتفاق افتاده و این کشور مسیر پر فراز و نشیب پیموده، افزایش چشمگیر فقر در این مقطع زمانی دور از انتظار نبود. میزان بُلند فقر رابطه مستقیم با رکود فعالیت های اقتصادی، افزایش تراکم  نفوس و بدتر شدن وضعیت امنیتی دارد. از سوی دیگر ساختار های اقتصادی افغانستان طی سالیان متمادی در اثر جنگ و ناامنی از هم فروپاشیده و منابع بشری و معیشتی آن بنابر بی ثباتی و نا امنی به شدت آسیب دیده باشد، بدون شک که ریشه های فقر بستر گسترده دارد.

با شروع تدریجی خروج نیرو های بین المللی در اوایل سال ۲۰۱۲ میلادی، و کاهش همزمان کمک های مالی به بخش های نظامی و ملکی، میزان عرضه و تقاضا به خدمات و فعالیت های اقتصادی و سکتور خصوصی نیز به شدت کاهش یافت. بدترشدن اوضاع امنیتی پس از سال ۲۰۱۴؛ باعث کاهش اعتماد سرمایه گذاران و مسهلکین نسبت به اوضاع سیاسی گردید و این وضعیت بالنوبه یک شوکه اقتصادی بزرگ را ایجاد کرد. بدون شک میزان رُشد اقتصادی افغانستان که طی سالیان ۲۰۰۳ الی ۲۰۱۲ همه ساله در حدود ۹،۴ درصد بود، در اثر بدتر شدن اوضاع امنیتی در جریان سالهای ۲۰۱۳ الی ۲۰۱۶ به ۲،۱ درصد کاهش یافته است. همزمان با رُشد ۳ درصدی میزان نفوس در سال، میزان درآمد سرانه به حساب تولید ناخالص داخلی از سال ۲۰۱۲ بدینسو به طور دوامدار کاهش یافته است، چنانچه که  در سال ۲۰۱۶ به اندازه ۱۰۰ دالر امریکایی کاهش در مقایسه به سال ۲۰۱۲ گزارش گردیده است. شایان ذکر است که حتی در طول سال های که افغانستان رُشد اقتصادی مطلوب را تجربه کرد، کاهش قابل ملاحظۀ در میزان فقر رونما نگردید، زیرا محور رُشد اقتصادی در کاهش فقر بر محلات فقیر این کشور متمرکز نبود. رویهمرفته با پیش افتادن افزایش رُشد نفوس از رُشد اقتصادی در طی سال های اخیر، افزایش میزان فقر غیر قابل اجتناب بود.

Delivering rural justice through community-owned courts in Bihar, India

Jorge Luis Alva-Luperdi's picture

In June 2017, a long-running land dispute was settled in just six days in a community-owned court in Bihar.
Returning to his village after many years, Ramashish had received a rude shock. His cousins had deprived him of the 5.90 acres of land he’d inherited. Over the last 20 years, Ramashish had approached villagers, policemen, and civil court judges to resolve the dispute, but without much luck. Ultimately, Ramashish approached Pushpanjali Singh, the woman Sarpanch (head of the village) of the Wari Panchayat.
This was no easy case, but Pushpanjali summoned the 3 disputing parties — Ramashish and his cousins’ descendants — to the Gram Katchahri (Village Court - a judicial forum for resolving disputes locally). Pushpanjali helped the parties realize how much money they were wasting on their legal squabbles, and convinced them to withdraw their cases against each other. With the help of her husband, she measured the disputed property and allocated plots to each party. After 6 days, the parties agreed to her proposal. 
Though this case might be one of Pushpanjali’s more recognized achievements, she has settled more than 100 cases over the last two years. While ensuring speedy justice, Pushpanjali is known by the locals as a fair Sarpanch

இலங்கை மகளிர் முன்வர தயங்க வேண்டுமா?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.

நான் பணிபுரியும் நிறுவனத்தில் பணியில் அக்கறையற்ற நபர்களிற்கு  இடமில்லை என்ற கடுமையானகொள்கையை பின்பற்றுகின்றோம் .தங்கள் சக பணியாளர்களை வம்பிற்கு இழுக்கும் கேலி செய்யும் நபர்களிற்கு இடமில்லை என்பதே இதன் அர்த்தம்.எங்கள் பணியாளர்கள் ஏனையவர்களின் தனிப்பட்ட விடயங்களிற்குள் தலையிடுவதில்லை. அழைப்பில்லாத தனிப்பட்ட தொடர்புகளை ஏற்படுத்துவதில்லை.இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.ஆனால் இது போன்ற கொள்கைகள் ஒரு பாலினத்திற்கு மாத்திரம் சார்பாக காணப்படுவது இல்லை.ஆண்கள் இதன் நன்மையை அனுபவிக்கின்றனர்.

துரதிஸ்டவசமாக எனது நிறுவனத்தின் கொள்கை என்பது விதிமுறை என்பதை விட தனித்துவமானது.சமீபத்தில் பெண் பொறியியலாளர்களை சந்தித்து அவர்களின் அனுபவங்களை கேட்பதற்கான வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது.ஒருவர் களப்பணிகளிற்கு செல்வது எவ்வளவு கடினமானதாக காணப்படுகின்றது என தெரிவித்தார். தனது ஆண் சக தொழிலாளர்கள் தன்னை மதிக்க விரும்பாததாலும் தனது வழிகாட்டுதல்களை செவிமடுக்க விரும்பாததாலுமே இந்த நிலை காணப்படுவதாக அவர் தெரிவித்தார். ஏனைய பெண்களிற்கு பதவி உயர்வு மறுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது, 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
நான் சர்வதேச தொழில்நுட்ப மாநாடுகளில் அடிக்கடி எனது நிறுவனத்தை பிரதிநிதித்துவம் செய்கின்றேன்.


அவர்களுக்கு அவர்களது ஆண்சகாக்களை விட குறைவாகவே ஊதியம் வழங்குகின்றனர் அவர்கள் பாலியல்ரீதியிலான துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்ளவேண்டியுள்ளது.

ශ්‍ර‍ී ලාංකික කාන්තාව තවදුරටත් පසුපස අසුන් ගත යුතුද?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන අතර සමහර කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.

මා සේවය කරන සමාගමෙහි දැඩි "අවහිර නොකිරීමේ" ප්‍රතිපත්තියක් පවතී. ඉන් අදහස් වන්නේ, තමන්ගේ සහෝදර සේවක-සේවිකාවන්ට හිරිහැර කිරීමට හෝ සමච්චල් කිරීමට කිසිවකුට ඉඩක් නොමැති බවයි. අපගේ සේවකයින් එකිනෙකාගේ පෞද්ගලික අවකාශයන් ආක්‍රමණය නොකරන අතර අනාරාධිත පෞද්ගලික සම්බන්ධතා ඇති කරගැනීමට උත්සුක නොවේ. ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන නමුත් මෙවැනි ප්‍රතිපත්ති අනුග්‍රහය දක්වන්නේ එක් පාර්ශවයකට පමණක් නොවේ. පුරුෂ පාර්ශවයද මෙහි ප්‍ර‍තිලාභ භුක්ති විඳිති.

අවාසනාවකට මෙන්, මගේ සමාගමේ ප්‍රතිපත්තිය නීතියක් නොව ව්‍යතිරේකයකි. මෑතකදී මට මෙරට කාන්තා ඉංජිනේරුවන් හමුවී ඔවුන්ගේ අත්දැකීම් විමසන්නට අවස්ථාවක් ලැබුණි. එක් තැනැත්තියක් මට කීවේ ඇයගේ රැකියාව කෙතරම් අභියෝගයට ලක් වන්නේ ද යන්න ය. ඇයගේ පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින් ඇයට ගරු කරන්නට හෝ ඇයගේ මග පෙන්වීම් පිළිගන්නට කැමැත්ත පළ කොට තිබුණේ නැත. අනෙකුත් කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
මම නිතරම ජාත්‍යන්තර තාක්ෂණික සමුළුවලදී මගේ සමාගම නියෝජනය කරන්නෙමි. සෑම විටම පාහේ ප්‍රේක්ෂාගාරය පිරී පවතින්නේ පුරුෂයින්ගෙනි. නමුත් මම මගේ කතාව ඉදිරිපත් කරන විට, එය ස්ත්‍රී කේන්ද්‍රීය වේදිකාවකි.