[Answered] Care work is vital for economies in general and India needs to have a strategy and action plan for improved policies. Examine the statement.

Introduction: What is Care Work?

Body: Discuss the importance of care economy. Discuss the issues faced by care economy in India.

Conclusion: way forward

Care work includes direct activities such as feeding a baby or nursing an ill partner, and indirect care activities such as cooking and cleaning. Whether paid or unpaid, direct or indirect, care work is vital for human well-being and economies. The importance of care work is now widely acknowledged and covered in various international commitments such as the SDGs and the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Centenary Declaration which proposes a 5R framework for decent care work to achieve gender equality.

Importance of care work:

  • Human welfare: To nurture childcare and elderly care services will deliver the benefits of child development, aging in dignity and independent living.
  • Job creation: Greater investment in care services can create an additional 300 million jobs globally and this can provide a motivation to the global economic prospects in the long term.
  • Women participation: Most of the jobs created in the care economy will benefit the women job seekers. This will in turn help increase female labor force participation and advance Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It helps balance women’s and men’s work and family responsibilities throughout their lives. No one has to take any extra burden of domestic activities.

Issues:

  • Not covered in GDP: Much of the care work continues to be performed for no pay, by families and friends, at home, and in communities. This unpaid care work is not included in the national income.
  • Gender inequalities: The care work is seen as a female responsibility and for the same job females are paid less as compared to males.
  • Lack of legislation: There is almost always a deficit in the supply of quality paid care workers because of numerous factors that include low salaries, lack of benefits, long working hours, and job security issues.
  • Lack of investment: Despite the significance and potential of the care economy, the investment in the care economy has not been proportionate.

Recognizing care workers and promoting decent work for all, including for domestic and childcare workers are necessary for India to achieve the SDGs which have a principle of ‘leave no one behind’. India spends less than 1% of its GDP on the care economy; increasing this percentage would benefit workers and the overall economy.

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