These days there is also a renewed buzz and energy around the sanitation sector in India. Undoubtedly, the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has catalysed the conversation around the issue, right from the streets to the boardrooms of corporate India. Through platforms like the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC), discussions on the questions of financing, corporate engagement, technology solutions and the need to address sanitation across the value chain of Build-Use-Maintain-Treat (BUMT), have been brought to the forefront. However, what is missing is the conversation around the economy of jobs, as it relates to the sanitation sector. That is, when talking about the supply side, there is a need to deliberate on not just infrastructure creation but also job creation. In order to achieve the end goal of sustainable sanitation that includes Open Defecation Free (ODF) ++ beyond 2019, the creation of a workforce to support this agenda is critical. This renewed buzz in the sector should therefore be used as an opportunity to shine light on the need for a workforce to support the sustainable sanitation agenda as well as an opportunity for employment generation in the country.
Skill development and job creation in the sanitation sector must go hand in hand. With the massive scale of toilet construction underway across the country, the training and certification of existing masons and plumbers is critical to ensure that these toilets that are being built are of the highest standard, technologically appropriate and sustainable over a long period of time. In light of this, there are already certain corporates that have identified the need to create a skilled manpower for sustainable sanitation. One such initiative is the Kohler Plumbing Academy. It offers an excellent example of corporates working towards creating a shared value wherein social and business concerns are addressed. Kohler Plumbing Academy was created to address the challenges of meeting the demand-supply gap. It strives to train more plumbers and meet that demand through a structured professional education with the vision that it will create social entrepreneurs who will further facilitate employment through training across India. It is interesting to note that the programme also focused on promoting plumbing as a glorified job, to instill a sense of pride in the target group. Simultaneously, they also created opportunities for the trained workforce to be absorbed by the industry.
Skill development and job creation in the sanitation sector must go hand in hand
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a Public-Private-Partnership in India, set up in 2009. Its primary objective is towards enhancing, supporting and coordinating private sector initiatives for skill development. NSDC aims to skill/ up-skill 150 million people in India by 2022, mainly through private sector initiatives and providing viability gap funding. It works through the formation of Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) which are national partnership organizations bringing together all the stakeholders – industry, labour and the academia for the purpose of workforce development for particular industry sectors. Studies conducted by the Skills Council of Green Jobs indicate that 65 million jobs will need to be created by 2030. Interestingly, the largest potential being in sectors of Waste Management & Water Management, each of which constitute 30% of the forecast for total jobs. Green Construction would constitute 17% and Green Transport about 12% of the forecast for total jobs. Renewable Energy and Carbon Sinks would constitute the balance 11% of the forecast for total jobs. It is, hence, necessary to adopt a holistic perspective towards the Green Economy, with the circular economy being an embedded principle.
Sanitation industry in India is sized at about INR 5000 crores and needs 3,00,000 trained and qualified plumbers
Skilling for Green Jobs has the advantage that there are few legacy issues to address, hence, the focus can be on forecasting evolution in Green businesses, which have exponential growth potential. Growth driven by rapid advancements in Solar/ Storage & Bio-Chemical/ Thermo-Chemical Technologies, as well as in the, now, all pervasive impact of Digital Technology. These trends facilitate adoption of a “Distributed Architecture’’ for production & consumption of products and services that are constituents of ‘Green Economy’.
Naina Lal Kidwai, Past President; Chair – FICCI’s Sustainability Council; Chair – FICCI India Sanitation Council writes this piece for FICCI publication “Economy of Jobs”. Post continues on Page 3.