The second session of the India Today Conclave 2018, The Big Picture, saw politicians Jayant Sinha and Sachin Pilot, economists Mohan Guruswamy and Arvind Panagariya and industrialist Uday Kotak debate the case of the missing jobs. While the politicians countered each other on job creation, Kotak discussed suggestions on how to create new jobs with a focus on the service sector. They stressed on the need to focus on education and link academics with education for imparting skills that make people employable. The debate threw up some startling figures—that demonetisation killed 20 million jobs in the construction industry, 57 per cent of the rural youth cannot do mathematical division.“We need a refocus to look at services. Manufacturing is a game that was played well in earlier times,” Kotak said. Some of the jobs of the future would be in leisure and wellness industry such as physical trainers and dentists. The panel also debated on the role of the government and the private sector in job creation.
Sinha was of the view the issue to be debated was not about missing jobs, but about missing data. He cited a recent report that suggested 6 to 7 million jobs are being created every year, if one goes by data mined from the EPFO. A number of jobs are being created in the informal sector, which is sometimes not captured in mainstream data. Panagariya stressed that while jobs were there, the main problem was of people not being employed at full productivity and potential.“Talking of jobless growth is nonsense,” he said. The economy cannot grow at a robust 7.3 per cent if not for the contribution of new employment. The real problem is underemployment, and not unemployment, he added. While Pilot insisted that a government must create an environment that is conducive and positive where industry believes that its investments are safe, Kotak offered suggestions on how to transform the system to create more employment—a “deep rooted correction” in the education system, transforming the banking system to have a more efficient financial system and refocusing the approach to look at the services industry. Guruswamy agreed that skilling is key to creating more employment. An important sector, he said, was construction which employed around 55 million but was hit because of demonetisation. A unanimous point was on the need to skill the youth to make them more employable.
Refocus on the services areas rather than manufacturing
Tourism, healthcare, education, artificial intelligence and leisure are job creators of the future
Create an atmosphere and policies that are conducive to business and positive to investment
More skilling for the youth by linking industry to academics and a correction in the education system
New industry is the new job creator such as Flipkart, Uber and Ola. The ‘lala’ industries of old will only destroy jobs, not create them.
Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation
Job creation is not in traditional economy but happening in the new economy
Uday Kotak, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank
The problem is in the inputs towards outputs. A deep rooted correction is needed in the education system. There is a disproportionate focus on capital as basis for growth
Arvind Panagariya, Economist, Former Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog
Talk of jobless growth is nonsense. There has been a 7.3 per cent growth in the past few years and that cannot happen without new jobs being added.
Mohan Guruswamy, Chairman, Centre for Policy Alternatives
We have seen the highest level of unemployment in the past 17 months
India Today Conclave
Started as part of India Today’s 25th anniversary, INDIA TODAY CONCLAVE was designed as a meeting point for the best minds from India and around the world to map the geopolitical and economic future of the country. In its inaugural year the theme was India Tomorrow 2002: Opportunities and Threats with Vice President of the USA Al Gore as the chief Guest. In its second year the theme was India Tomorrow 2003: Global Giant or Pygmy? The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States presided as the keynote speaker. The past 14 conclaves have been widely acclaimed and popular for the quality of speakers and discussion. The speakers who have been part of this conference each year are current and former heads of state, Nobel Laureates, spiritual leaders, industry captains, social workers, economists, authors, academics, scientist, strategists, activists, cine directors, actors and sportspersons. The past conferences can be accessed at www.indiatodayconclave.com.