Article (August-2017)


Re-skilling can only boost employment

Sandeep Maurya

Designation : -   Founder & CEO

Organization : -  Bornbrio, Bengaluru


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Let us first understand the connection between the GDP of a nation and its unemployment. An economy is perceived to be prospering and have achieved its maximum potential when its entire population is optimally employed. Employment generates income and the income drives consumption of goods and services in an economy. Increase in consumption creates increased demand creating opportunity for the businesses to produce higher. This creates new employment opportunities, thereby further increasing income levels, thus establishing the chain of connection between employment and GDP of a country or state. Employment also plays a significant role in the social and political stability of a country.

Reasons that matter
So, what are the primary reasons behind the prevailing unemployment in our country? Is it just the lack of opportunities? Reports show that salary levels in the country have been consistently going up. Now, how do salary levels go up when you have a large portion of the population that is unemployed? A bit of research establishes that a considerable number of our educated and unemployed youth is not employable.

Blame it on our education system or middle class "babu" dreams; we produce the world's largest number of graduates and engineers, but without the right skills to enter into the job market. Confirming the lag of our educational system is the fact that not a single university in the country is ranked amongst the top 200 universities globally. Trudging alongside the sad status quo of the Indian education are the longstanding, prevalent democratic Indian issues such as reservation, politics in educational institutes and lack of quality infrastructure and staff, which are plaguing the system.

Impact of technology
It is also worth noting that with the emergence of technology, the need of labour is decreasing by the day. While technological innovation is taken as a sign of progression globally, in a labour intensive country like India, coupled with lack of appropriate training, technology is also seen as slowly competing for employment. Let us consider the case study of Thyrocare Technologies. This pathology giant has at least 200 young technicians walking in daily, to work at its automated clinical chemistry laboratory in Navi Mumbai. These technicians are trained to operate a host of contemporary diagnostic equipment, which are capable of processing up to 200,000 investigations a night for thyroid, kidney and liver diseases. Samples from almost 1300 centers from across India are flown down to this center where, nearly 45,000 samples are tested. While the efficiency introduced within the organization is commendable, the point we are trying to drive is - It would have taken a minimum of 1000 technician roughly, if not for the technology, but today in this age of technology and information, the task is being accomplished by one fifth of the workforce.

Initiatives galore, yet, not enough
Foreseeing the present and future requirements of India's employment landscape, Prime Minister launched an ambitious 'Skill India campaign', on 15 July 2015, with an aim of training over 40 crore people in different skills by the year 2022. Under the aegis of the campaign, the government has launched several initiatives that could be the answer to the surging issue of lack of skills. Initiative such as 'National skill development mission', National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015', 'Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana' and the 'Skill Loan Scheme' have been rolled out to help the unemployed mass. This is, however, not enough.

Realigning the approach
Today a million Indians become age - eligible to join the work-force every year and by 2020, India is projected to have the world's largest work force. That's stunning, if we can train and skill our workforce. This however, requires a radically different approach.

We are not talking about just the skilled force, but a workforce that is prepared for future. Let us take the big step and re-skill our youth for tomorrow. Startup India is a great start in this direction. It creates an opportunity to leverage the global innovation bandwagon to leapfrog and attain the status of the world's largest economy. We need to realize the fact that startups not only have the potential to increase employment levels in the country, but can also to be a factory of advanced skill sets that will reshape the world. This needs a policy framework where the burden of the costs of training or re-skilling borne by the startups is shared by the larger economy.

The necessity is also incited by the exponential rise in the advancement of technology in the years to come. Countries that manage to adapt to these changing circumstances will be able to keep up with the fast - paced world and have a competitive edge.

Now, while the diagnostic equipment as mentioned above is capable of processing up to 200,000 cases, it still ends up analyzing only 45,000. The reason is that job - seekers that are qualified for the job are not skilled enough. Given the skill situation in the country and constant need of skilled workforce, the employers such as Infosys have taken it on to them to train or up-skill their already qualified employees to keep up with the demand and the fast evolving world of technology. However, given the magnitude of the issue, more needs to be done.