Future of Work – Industry 4.0

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-3- S&T

Context: Technological change need not cause a destruction of productive jobs and that is why a plan is required for industry 4.0

How will technological change affect the jobs in India?

  • Size of youth: India’s global significance in mastering the future of work and employing the largest global unit of 820 million youth is huge.
  • Government policies and labour markets:They should sustainably manage the Fourth Industrial Revolution which triggered “storm of creative destruction” in employment.
  • The potential of capital-labour substitution and the new ecosystem of software/AI/automation-mediated work will overturn 100-year-old ideas of work and employment.
  • Lack of jobs:The ILO warns that the future may not hold enough jobs for everyone and 428 million workers in low middle-income countries like India may not find new jobs.
  • Change in the nature of jobs: In 5-10 years, 10 per cent of human jobs will be substitutableand 50-70 per cent of jobs could be partially automated.
  • Two-thirds of jobs in developing countries including India are prone to automation.
  • Tech Economy 4.0 “transformers”in India’s world of work include robotics, AI, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, supply chain 4.0, 3D printing, big data, digital payments, retail, health, education and professional services.
  • The most-affected labour-intensive sectorsinclude textiles, finance, construction, hospitality, travel, tourism, media, electronics, mining, agriculture, transportation and entertainment.
    • The Indian ICT sector,another major employer, is susceptible to AI/robots replacing workers in its major IT export markets.
    • The retail sector, the largest employer of lower skill youth, is job shedding as e-retail accelerates and human jobs in logistics, warehousing and delivery services are being robotised.

Explain the char dham roadmap for steering technological change?

We could steer technological change to four powers of possible destinations or Char Dhams :

  • Gyaan Dhamis establishing a national observatory for scoping the tech-to-work equation and its trajectory.
  • Databases on existing and future trends, sector by sector, need to be created.
  • India’s future of Tech-Economy 4.0/ employment tie using a human power by 2030 compass and hinge relevant strategies towards that.
  • Kaushalya Dhammeans nurturing “human capabilities” for Tech-Economy 4.0 work. To meet labour market needs, potential skill gaps must be closed through the NEP and comprehensive training infrastructure.
  • Suniyojan Dham involves transformative investments in multi-stakeholder ecosystems to empower the youth and women through future-of-work transitions.
  • It is vital to raise institutions, job-rich sectors and MSMEs, close the rich-poor, rural-urban and gender gap in access to high-quality digital and physical infrastructure and tools.
  • Samajik Nyaya Dhammeans ensuring a just transition through a new social compact among all stakeholders and a universal social protection floor. A human-centred and equity-based approach in future labour market policies and standards is needed.
  • Local and rural production, care and green economies and social and health services must be fostered as job generators.
  • Upakram Dhaminvolves taking special initiatives enabling India to leverage the world’s third-largest ICT workforce to pole-vault into Tech4 excellence.
  • India’s diversity, scale for neural net, data richness, huge base of engineers, mathematicians and coders of AI available or trainable at scale, and decent ecosystems in ICT metros are critical assets.

Way forward

  • Following this Char Dham roadmap, we could avert the alarming prospect of a job-poor future. India’s ambition of sustainably transitioning to Tech 4.0 future of work is recognised in PM Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat.
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