The Paradox of automation

A US-based research firm recently affirmed the possibility of a reduction in the number of low skilled jobs by the new-fangled introduction of automation in the IT sector. By 2022, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) will replace over 7 unskilled labour job roles. These two, while rapidly accelerating the curtailment of low skilled labour, are in turn, creating the need for high-skilled jobs at a marginal 57%. The low skilled workers, albeit inefficient and outmoded, account for jobs that don’t require complex analyses or abstract thinking procedures.

The decrease in the jobs is estimated to be as much as 28% for India. This paves the road for a decline of 14% in the Indian workforce. This vast number of people will now be left jobless. Without a significant skill base to cultivate these alien skills, it will be virtually incapable to harvest on better avenues employing a significant number of workers like the Engineering sector.

Adding fuel to the fire

The effective materialization of demonetisation has aggravated this job crisis to create a crippling effect on the Indian economy. In between January and April, as many as 1.5 million jobs were lost because of it. Even now, when the economy has finally reached a floundering yet stable stage, and the initial frenzy of demonetisation is over- the job industry is just not responding.

Nearly, 10 million jobs have remained a mere utopian dream with the erroneous implementation of a further tax on sales. Several prominent personalities like Yashwant Sinha (Hon’ble. Finance minister) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (former PM and BJP supremo) have actively remonstrated this poorly drawn plan. They add that Modi would have to take “the entire blame on himself”. The stern words by the Finance Minister have now effectively shattered the bohemian dream constructed by the Prime Minister, who seemed to have bit off more than the country could chew. Needless to say, better days are not arriving anytime soon.

Mohandas Pai, the chairman of Manipal Gopal Education Services and Arin Capital – foresaw that the upsurge in jobs could grow at a steady rate of 6.5% given that the Indian economy grows at a promising 8%. However, the new wave of automation coupled with poor economic policies by the government could floor the job reduction rate to 4%.

Possible solutions

Of course, there would be high-skilled jobs available. But, they won’t be sufficient enough to satiate the millions of Indians affected by this seemingly offensive wave of automation. With the exorbitance of automation for labour jobs, the wages of the same is unlikely to improve as well. Adding the teeming levels of unemployment that India suffers into the mix, additional employment brought over by the rise of technological growth would leave a bitter tension between various sections of the society.

Albeit, the government could fund programs to turn the millions of unskilled labourers into semi-skilled workers potently adept in automation. This imminent improvement is very unlikely and altogether ignored by the power holders. Therefore, automation can very well prove to be the single most bittersweet deal in the coming decade for the country.

Anurag Gaur

Endings are never happy, they're the saddest part! So give me a happy middle, and a very happy start!

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