ASSOCHAM urges enhancing proficiency of India's human resources

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In the wake of the ongoing challenges faced by the Indian IT and other sector from protectionism in the United States and Artificial Intelligence (AI), an ASSOCHAM-PwC study revealed that the solution to this lies in facing the issue upfront and skilling up the country`s human resource.

"In the light of technological advancements, certain sectors are expected to experience shrinkage of employment demand as robotic systems and algorithms take up several tasks. It can be expected that IT, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry will experience such a demand shift," the study noted.

Quoting Oxford University researchers Carl Frety and Michael Osborne based on 702 occupational groupings, workers in tele-marketing, hand sewers, mathematical technicians, insurance underwriters, watch repairers, cargo agents and tax preparers have a very high probability of being replaced by automation.

The paper suggested that even though the churn arising out of automation would throw new opportunities, certain basic cushion must be given to those who may get affected by the AI, robotics and other automation technologies.

"If a large number of people end up unemployed for extended periods of time, there needs to be a way to provide healthcare, disability and pension benefits outside employment," the paper read.

It also sought a minimum income to sustain households. In the event of continuous unemployment or under-employment, government schemes to provide a minimum level of income to each citizen to guarantee basic needs are necessary to keep them out of destitution.

Proposals must be structured in a way so as to maintain a balance between benefits and incentives for engagement by involving the unemployed in social and community initiatives.

The paper further said the traditional academic curriculum is not well equipped to cater to technological advancements. The sequential system of education and work is outdated in an economic environment that is heavy on automation and deskilling of jobs and where skills gain and lose value within a few years. What is required is a continuous skill improvement system that does not depend on the sequence of the skills imparted to young minds.

Companies can contribute a set amount to an individual`s fund which can then be transferred as the individual switches jobs. The goal of such an initiative will be to incentivise lifelong education and up-skilling. (ANI)
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