Creating India’s National Welfare Board: a case study

Creating India’s National Welfare Board A case study

Dr Suresh Idnani, ICSW Regional Coordinator for South Asia, told us about setting up a national welfare board in India.

Who is involved in NSWB-India?

“Mr Michael Pinto, IAS, the Government of India’s former Secretary of Shipping, is the chair of NSWB-India. He was a great motivator as he is well respected by the stakeholders of the Indian shipping industry. Others involved are from the port authority, ship-owners and seafarers organisation, seafarer ministries like AoS, MtS, Bis etc, seafarers’ welfare volunteers, port users, foreign consulates, maritime health providers, maritime legal advisors, shipping agents, local city council, and security agencies.

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What skills were important when starting your national welfare board?

“We had to sensitise shipping industry stakeholders to the welfare needs of seafarers, first with a soft approach focussed on corporate social responsibility and secondly, a little harder, making stakeholders realize their moral and mandatory responsibility under the MLC 2006”

How long did it take to set up the NWB?

“Just three months! If you take a co-ordinating job seriously, and apply patience and persistence, you can achieve a lot in a little time.”

How does the NWB fit in with India’s port welfare committees?

“The national welfare board acts an umbrella organization to all PWCs in India which have a similar structure at port level.”

Which things have gone particularly well?

“Setting up NSWB, SWAI and PWC and building welfare network structure to strengthen and consolidate.”

What is your biggest challenge?

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Getting shipping industry stakeholders to the table for discussion and to pool resources. Once they get to the table, there are solutions to all initiatives and or problems.

You need a good and dedicated coordinator to achieve even the impossible at times.”

Do you have any advice for people starting to develop a national welfare board or port welfare committee?

“Get a hard working, motivated regional coordinator to initiate the job. And if he delivers, reward him so that others will be motivated to reach greater heights.”

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