The ISSA Liaison Office was officially inaugurated on 22 June in New Delhi, India, by Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr. Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, ISSA Secretary General, and Mr. Prabhat Chandra Chaturvedi, Director General of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), which is hosting the Office. Ms. Sudha Pillai, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and other dignitaries were also present at the ceremony.
Mr. Chaturvedi welcomed the innovative regional approach of the ISSA, and underlined its important potential for social security institutions in India and in the wider region, which face common challenges in their work.
“The Liaison Office will be a great help to enable institutions to focus on specific regional issues, and will be a further step towards providing social security for all in the South Asia region,” Mr. Chaturvedi said.
Recognizing the ESIC for its important contribution to the development of social security in India, the ISSA Secretary General expressed his anticipation that strengthened regional cooperation will assist the ISSA members to share experience in key areas, including the extension of social security coverage.
“The past two decades have brought about rising prosperity and better opportunities for the populations in the region, but many have not yet shared in these benefits,” said Mr. Konkolewsky.
“This is a serious cause for concern, and the extension of social security coverage, particularly to the informal economy, is a high priority for the ISSA and will be one of the key objectives of the new Liaison Office.”
In addition to India, the Liaison Office will work with ISSA member organizations in Bhutan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and expects to collaborate with social security institutions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives.
The Liaison Office was opened prior to a technical seminar on the extension of social security coverage, which involved senior managers from social security institutions in India and other Asian countries, academics, and specialists from the ISSA and the International Labour Office.
The Liaison Office will elaborate a work plan of activities during the coming period. It is the third ISSA Liaison Office in the Asia and Pacific region, established as part of the ISSA’s strategy to strengthen outreach to its member organizations by targeting activities to regional priorities.
See also: List of ISSA Liaison Offices