With the steep rise in demand and application of Artificial Intelligence, the labor force of the country has been undergoing a huge dynamic change in its appearance. Replacement of humans by AI indeed has that tremendous potential to yield benefits to the growth of business, economy and overall society, but on the other hand, there lies a significant risk of disruptive repercussions on the conventional capitalist system in replacing manual labor jobs entirely by AI.
Everyday tasks have got easier due to technological advancements but the ones who make the connection between those advanced services and consumers just cannot be taken out of the picture. These ‘Blue Collar Employees’ are the ones whose tenacious hard work makes it possible to render people with the service augmented by the extraordinary burgeoning growth of science and technology.
In a country like India with rich traditions and historical legacy, the artisans pose innate skills in designing various apparels. These creative talents are now replaced with modern technology like digital printing. Computerized programs are there to convert these designs into automatic computer tools like 3D designing and 3D printing. The cost of such a design is also much lower.
The Textile industry in India is a large employment generator given the complex processes involved in the sourcing, production, and marketing of garments and associated components. It is estimated by the KPMG study that there are 12 million people employed in the country in this industry. The demand for textile products, hosiery is increasing both on account of domestic demand and export growth.
India has the innate advantage of labor - both skilled and unskilled, raw material and enabling policy support from the government. It is a fact that repetitive work is being better performed by machines like Robots with the advent of Artificial Intelligence. For example, mechanical repetitive tasks like filling up a carton, closing the flap of the carton with tape and placing a barcode are being done by electromagnetic devices called robots. Such robots are programmed accurately to carry out these jobs in a flawless manner. While human beings doing such jobs get fatigued after some time, which could result in human error, the machines, on the other hand, do not have a fatigue factor, therefore they are productive and accurate. Thus, it is a win-win situation for industries like hosiery to take advantage of new technologies and enhance the skills of human blue-collared workers in the areas requiring intricate knowledge like the designs, weaving techniques.
It is in this context hosiery companies are facilitating in imparting skills by undertaking training programs and thus enhancing the knowledge pool and opportunities for blue-collar workers. The skills in the area of Home textile design centres (HTDC) are being established on the lines of ATDC in hubs such as Karur, Maharashtra and Gujarat. These institutes offer courses on home textile manufacturing, types of fabrics used, design and patternmaking and the use of Computer Aided Design. Hosiery companies depute its unskilled and semi-skilled workers to such training centres and thus enhance their competitiveness in the long run.
But the people who are acting as a catalyst in bridging the gaps between the consumer and product are playing a key role in boosting the growth of the sector. After the e-commerce sector, the textile industry is another sector that is giving a real-time push to blue-collar jobs in India.
The new draft of the National Textile Policy aims to create new jobs by way of increased investments by foreign companies. Moreover, it also aims to generate employment for 35 million people across the country. The sector is providing an opportunity for unskilled laborers, workers, women to work and earn their livelihood.
The Indian government is gearing up to meet the growing international and domestic demand by announcing suitable textile policies.
Also, some industries understand this deep necessity of manual workforce, thereby providing the workers with relevant training to be eligible for performing by futuristic technologies, changing consumer needs and market shifts.
The textile industry requires a large workforce. It is often difficult to find skilled laborers while at the same time it would be inhumane to burden your limited number of skilled employees with a huge workload. Therefore, the hosiery sector is in the process of scouting for potential workers and training them with relevant skills.
Many hosiery industry leaders are constantly helping the unskilled employees by training them and helping them to earn their livelihood. They are providing them a platform to work and enhance their standard of living.
Further, the hosiery Industry keeps on providing the employees with an ample amount of resources and training. Being in today’s competitive and ever-transforming market, no one can deny the necessity of technological benefits. With the latest trends of Artificial Intelligence, the hosiery industry upgraded their manufacturing and operational segments but always strive to keep their manual workforce unaffected. Human beings possess the unique gift of using their IQ which enables them to alter and adjust their job roles and responsibilities as per the situation – an undeniable capability that never works for robotics or other AI installed equipment. Therefore, they believe AI cannot be a complete substitution of the current manual labor force.
Authored by – Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Ltd.