With the advancement in technology and the fact that fewer people are required to do the same job as compared to how it was a few years from now, it is not very surprising that India currently is in a state of jobless growth.
We still don’t have the data to confirm the exact status of job creation by the government, but now we have the statement by the Labour Minister hinting that there is definitely an urgent need to relook the data that the government has and to finally determine how dire the situation is.
The government's promise
During the General Elections 2015, NDA had promised that it would create 10 million jobs a year, but by far the promise has not been met. And this is despite the government’s focus on ‘Make in India’ initiative and ‘Skill India’ program.
“The current growth is a jobless growth. Many European and Asian countries, including India, are facing it... growth is being reported but it is not reflecting in employment generation,” Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of Labor and Employment, told reporters during a press briefing in Mumbai.
While some of this is being attributed to the lack of complete data with the government, the other reason for the same is the ongoing and widespread automation of processes.
With the latter, the problem is twofold, one the labor requirement decreases, but the labor which is now required needs to be extremely skilled. There are many firms, which do take it upon themselves to provide learning and re-skilling opportunities to its employees, there needs to be complete revamp of the education system in the country to upgrade the workforce. And it is something that the past and even the present government haven’t been able to get right.
The challenge of skilling the unskilled
Despite the government efforts, and laying the foundation for many skill training centers for youth, the situation remains serious. While on one side there is a shortage of skilled workers, and on the other side, there is an overflow of unemployed people in the country.
And as the minister said, “But we should also know that our country has only two per cent technical workforce, against the requirement which is huge.”
The problem and as has been pointed out is more about skilling the unskilled people, especially the migration of labor from agriculture into manufacturing, then about skilling the white collar workers. But even within the formal sector, the HR professionals, point out that there would be a divide between the digitally skilled workers and the traditional workforce.
Greater challenges ahead
So, no matter where you belong, there is an urgent need for you to upskill yourself. And for the government, it needs to start collecting the data which would make the picture clearer, and then probably use the insights to modify and adapt the ongoing initiatives to generate employment in the coming years. And for the same purpose, the government has formed a task force to collect data for the past three years.
Though, the biggest challenge and which is currently not being focused on is the increasing automation in human resource rich country like India, and if the government needs to maintain the employment figures, it might need to bring in some radical changes in its policies, and not just initiatives and programs, which might only work in the short run.