Immediate ways to address India's impending jobs crisis
Globally, industry is undergoing a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Future jobs will be ever more technology-intensive that will require a higher-skilled workforce. There is a dire need to open up skills training for workers enrolled under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPF) and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) who have lost their jobs. Focus may be given to emerging high employment sectors like logistics, BFSI and healthcare. Funds from existing skill training schemes can be preferentially allocated towards training youth in sectors under production linked incentive schemes and other high growth sectors like logistics, transportation and packaging, healthcare, construction and renewable energy. There is an urgent need for transparency on changing demand, growing job opportunities, and information on existing skills that may be underutilized and for better, faster matching between job seekers and employers.
Industry departments in each district can develop a granular view where jobs are at risk and where there is additional demand for labour by sector, occupation, demographics and geography. A heat map can be created. The result would provide government and private sector with list of the businesses and services in which jobs are lost and are therefore in need of interventions to safeguard employment as well as those in which jobs are being created.
Often, small businesses do not have access to the market information and technical infrastructure that can help them quickly redeploy labour or expand their portfolios of services. Government can create a multilingual job portal dedicated to MSMEs, which will act as a common platform for both employers and job seekers. Business Chambers, labour agencies and groups of large companies can post new openings and displaced workers; this way they can find redeployment and secondment opportunities. State governments and not-for-profit organizations can complement online exchanges with support services for displaced workers, such as coaching and counselling.
Investment in data and digital infrastructure is essential to support growth and jobs in the digital economy. Mass adoption of connected digital services by consumers, enterprises and government has emerged as a key economic driver that accelerates growth and facilitates job creation. In the current Covid environment, digitization can play an important role to spur new job opportunities. Government can create digitization plans for targeted sectors to maximize the impact of digitization. Government can work in concert with industry, consumers, and different agencies to establish an inclusive information and communication technologies (ICT) ecosystem that encourages greater uptake and usage of digital services.