More reports on: Economy - general

India Economic Forum calls for harnessing technology for job creation

06 October 2017

India will have to speed up job creation to enhance productivity, while adapting to newer technologies, which, in turn, will give the much needed push to economic growth, business and industry leaders said at the India Economic Summit.

''World over, growth has come from increase in productivity. It will take care of jobs. We get too negative about global developments. I think growth will improve in the upcoming quarters for India,'' Adi Godrej, chairman of Godrej group, said at the summit jointly organized by the World Economic Forum and the CII.

But, with the very concept of work is being redefined as different generations enter and exit the workforce amidst a rapidly changing technological landscape, it is the duty of responsive and responsible leaders of business and industry to harness the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for long-term advantage and shareholder value, said one speaker.

With a million people entering the workforce every month and very few jobs on offer, the government is under pressure to create jobs. Against this, the economy created 3.65 million new jobs each year between 2011-12 and 2015-16, according to industry estimates.

Yet, as one speaker pointed out, there are tough questions on the ethics of using artificial intelligence and industry needs to maintain a transparent debate if it wants the public to one day trust these new technologies.

These concerns need to be addressed in parallel with the rollout of AI in critical markets like transportation and healthcare, he added.

While there is pressure on companies to hire more, technology is creating a reverse pressure on job creation.

''Companies need to deliberate and discuss ways to include social angle to businesses goals,'' Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said citing a recent report that 200 top companies had seen reduction in employment in the last few years.

About 50 per cent of India's workforce is still engaged in agriculture and related jobs while 90 per cent of all jobs are in the informal sector. It is this sector that mainly runs on cash that has been affected by the government's demonetisation drive.

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