Imperative to Create Employment with New Technology
April 20, 2021
In the last 30 years, the blind race for globalization has caused a major damage to employment generation. During this period, unemployment has increased in almost every country of the world except China. While the unemployment rate in America is 6.2 percent, in England it is 5.1 percent, in Germany and France it is 5.9 and 9 percent respectively. Worst sufferer of this phenomenon has been the youth. Along with the quality of employment has also deteriorated as the youth (not fir for high tech jobs) is forced to work in low paid jobs. According to a report of OECD, in India, there were 30 percent of the youth (between age of 15 and 29 years) who were neither in education, nor in employment or in training (NEET), which means they were unemployed. In many countries of Europe, youth unemployment has reached more than 50 percent. That is to say, both developed countries and developing countries, have been struggling with lack of employment opportunities in the last 3 decades.
Every year about 20 million people are added to the population of India. Today, a large proportion of the population is young due to the pattern of population growth in the last 30–40 years. Today, two-third of the country's population is below 35 years of age. And more than 36 percent of it is in the age group of 15 to 35 years. From this point of view, the India is most youthful country in the world; and that is why India is now called 'Youngistan'. Such a situation is also defined as ‘demographic dividend’, because large size of youth population makes it possible for the country to grow rapidly by using capacities of the youth. This has always been a concern of the policy-makers about how to take advantage of this benefit.
In the last 20 years, the country has been lagging behind in the manufacturing sector due to heavy imports from China. This has also affected the employment generation, as scope of employment in manufacturing is much more than other sectors. New technology has been fueling the problem of unemployment. In the past also employment was impacted due to mechanization. This problem was gradually resolved by creating alternative employment opportunities subsequently. While employment in manufacturing declined, some of it was compensated by the service sector. In today's era, new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Block Chains, etc. remain a threat to employment opportunities. Whereas, fill recently employment was being created through call centers, now due to Artificial Intelligence in the call centers that work is carried out by machines. Due to this, employment has started declining and in the coming time it is likely to decrease further. At the same time, factories, offices, homes have started robotizing the work done by humans. Goods are also being transported from one place to another through drones.
The challenge facing India today is not only to compensate for its unsatisfactory performance in the second and third industrial revolutions, but also to actively participate in the fourth industrial revolution. It is true that robotics, artificial intelligence, drones etc will hurt employment generation, but we this is equally true that new technology also reduces costs. For example, companies that use Artificial Intelligence, robots, drones, etc., are able to reduce costs. As the cost decreases, the industry becomes more competitive in the market. But the loss of indiscriminate employment in the name of new technology also cannot be justified. In such a situation, policy makers will have to show sensitively and seriousness in terms of choice of technology.
The issue of appropriate technology is of utmost importance. In today's era, this choice is influenced by the market. Since costs are reduced due to robotics and artificial intelligence, its use is tried to be justified. However, it should not be forgotten that loss of employment also has its own social cost. When people are out of employment, their capacities and skills are not utilized. To compensate for their income, the government has to spend in some form or the other. That is, on the one hand, the cost of company's decreases, but its injury falls on the rest of society through the government.
Be it artificial intelligence, robotics, block chains or drones, they are also becoming symbols of development in today's era. New innovations are taking place in this area. Their demand is also increasing around the world. Due to the superior skills of our youth in software development, science and technology and the same have been constantly improving in the last few decades, today a large number of our youth are also making new discoveries in these fields and they also have a big stake in this revolution. India's startups are moving ahead in the field of drone production. Robots have also been developed rapidly in many areas. In any case, it will not be beneficial for the country to stop this development. Today, there is a need to start a debate in the country on how to use these new technologies, so that on one hand the country may emerge a leader in this field in the world; on the other hand, by choosing appropriate technology, we create sufficient job opportunities for our youth skilled or unskilled.