With India moving towards greater automation, too much focus on STEM education and protecting vulnerable sectors may not help much to protect our jobs from robots, said Brookings Institute in a report recently. Too much focus on STEM has the inherent risk of over saturation of few sectors over the others, hampering overall economic development, said the report.
Further, it is better to boost employment in the areas that are least vulnerable to automation. Therefore, there is a need to attract more talent towards the humanities, arts, crafts and sports, said the report.
Employment scenario in India
India is among the world s fastest growing economy, however, it continues to face the challenge of employing its vast and growing workforce. According to an Ernst and Young study in 2018, 17 million new entrants are added into the Indian workforce every year, but only 5.5 million jobs are created.
Moreover, a 10 percent increase in GDP results in raising employment by less than 1 per cent, said State of Working in India 2018 report. This leads to counter-intuitive higher unemployment in a fast growing economy.
Charting the course
India is readily advancing towards artificial intelligence technologies in various tasks, and with its large and young working age population, AI will affect India in aspects from jobs to quality of life, according to the report. Therefore, there is a need for the country to gear up its efforts to create and secure more and more jobs.
The report suggested better management of employment data by the government to be able to plan for AI and focusing on sectors least vulnerable to automation. For instance, sectors like healthcare and education have a high element of human engagement that cannot be easily automated, said the report.
Moreover, with half of the population below the age of 25, a much needed step is to expose the young workforce to the tech-enabled future of work with AI interfaces, machine learning and increased automation, the report added.
Further, labour intensive industries like tourism and arts, startups and entrepreneurship among youth should be promoted. Above all, it requires strong political will and a better understanding of automation technologies and their implications among the political leadership.