Job Creation and Infrastructure Key to India’s Sustainable Growth
India must not only prepare the workforce for today’s job market but must also anticipate what jobs will exist 20 years from now, and equip today’s students with the higher-grade skills those jobs will need.
New Delhi, India India’s roads ministry aims to build 30 kilometres of roads each day by March 2016, creating 5 million jobs and adding two percentage points to the GDP, Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping of India, said in the concluding “take-off” session of the World Economic Forum’s India Strategy Day. The country’s infrastructure needs were highlighted in discussions over the course of the day.
Participants also discussed issues crucial to ensuring sustainable and equitable growth in India, including a new vision for agriculture, infrastructure finance, making people employable, financial inclusion, sustainable urbanization and clean energy. Participants agreed that a collaborative, inclusive approach is imperative in all these areas.
Subramanian Ramadorai, Chairman, National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), India, a Co-Chair of the National Strategy Day on India, said the council has been striving to address issues such as mapping skills requirements and enabling the various formal and vocational educational systems to provide those skills; creating an ecosystem to spur entrepreneurship, which can create further jobs; disruption of the labour market due to technological change, which will rapidly and continuously change the nature of jobs and the marketplace; and changes to the legal framework for India’s apprenticeship programme to enable interns to earn and learn at the same time. He said India must not only prepare the workforce for today’s job market but must also anticipate what jobs will exist 20 years from now, and equip today’s students with the higher-grade skills those jobs will need.
Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Construction Company, India, a Co-Chair of the National Strategy Day on India, added that the country must think ahead to gauge what kind of an economy it must have in 20 years to absorb 300 million new workers. To put this in perspective, he said, one of the world’s most advanced economies, the US, has 150 million jobs in all. He underlined the importance of infrastructure for creating jobs it enables manufacturing, logistics, agriculture and services; in short, it drives the rest of the economy.
N.K. Singh, Senior Member, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India, said the present government has improved the ease of doing business in India by removing red tape for instance, by reducing the number of permits and authorizations required and enabling faster granting of these.
Siraj Azmat Chaudhry, Chairman, Cargill India, India, a Co-Chair of the National Strategy Day on India, said India must introduce industry into its agriculture sector. At a smaller scale, there are many innovations in agriculture in Maharashtra state, for instance, more than 30 public-private partnerships are thriving but a poor policy and regulatory framework is holding the sector back. Far greater linkage is required, and the government must play the bridge between the farmer and the pre-sowing and post-harvest industrial sectors.
Ratul Puri, Chairman, Hindustan Powerprojects (Hindustan Power), India, a Co-Chair of the National Strategy Day on India, said India’s target of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity is ambitious, and must overcome significant challenges, including financing; managing the grid and its ability to deal with intermittent renewable power; creating spinning reserves and back-up capacity within a short span of time; improving the financial health of state distribution companies and ensuring their politically directed practices stop; and cutting transmission and distribution losses.