One of the biggest challenges facing Indian economy is that of job creation and a holistic approach is required to address this issue. Every year, nearly 13-15 million youth enter the working age group, seeking appropriate earning opportunities. Additionally, agriculture sector that supports nearly half of country’s population, cannot absorb more people. Hence, jobs would have to be created in non-agricultural sector.
Another key concern relates to employability. With the rapid changes in technology and movement towards digitalized economy, combined with a decline in their costs, Indian manufacturing is increasingly shifting from traditional, labour intensive to that of modern, digital economy. It is important for individuals to keep abreast with the latest technology and upgrade the skills to remain employable. Addressing the issue of employability requires significant policy initiatives. The efforts of the Government in this regard, especially in the form of initiatives like Skill India, Make in India, are indeed commendable. Nevertheless, the task at hand is so daunting that much greater efforts and reform measures are necessary.
The whole approach (towards Universities) needs to be reworked from control centric towards outcome based approach
To give a historical perspective, the reforms carried out in 1991 focused on expanding the industrial base by abolishing industrial licensing, removing import controls, etc. I believe, the present day scenario calls for the next generation of reforms, especially focused on the labour markets and the education sector.
Reforms: Need of the hour
Education reforms: There must be a drastic overhaul of the prevailing education system. We need to revisit all the rules, regulations in the education sector especially the manner in which universities are being managed, designing of the curriculum, giving degrees, amongst others. To meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement, the Government needs to ensure quality education, innovation and research. We need to identify the knowledge and the skills which are needed today to generate decent jobs going forward.
This article is a part of FICCI publication “Economy of Jobs” that was released during our 89th AGM in December 2016. It presents essays from India’s leading business leaders and eminent thought leaders who share views and suggestions on job creation. The articles cover varied issues: demographics, education, skill development, entrepreneurship, impact of technology, labour laws, and as well as specific issues across sectors.
More articles from this series can be viewed here at: Economy of Jobs
For example, in the pharmaceutical sector, sales and marketing form a very critical part of our business. However, at present, I have hardly come across any standard program/course in the education space which caters to these specific areas. The academia-industry interactions need to be encouraged to facilitate meaningful collaborations. Mechanisms need to be developed to incentivize organizations to contribute to research-based activities at Universities.
The way we talk about electrical connectivity, healthcare access and availability is also a necessity
There is a need to grant autonomy to best-in-class institutions, public or private, to devise their own mechanisms to recruit faculty. Ensure active participation of the industry in encouraging industry professionals to accept faculty positions (e.g., by offering sabbaticals, incentives such as high weightage to a teaching stint for career enhancement, etc.). The centralized control of universities by the government should be done away with. The whole approach needs to be reworked from control-centric towards outcome based approach. Greater autonomy should also be provided in the use of funds, while ensuring greater responsibility in the effective utilization of those funds.
Moreover, as the economic profile of the country is changing, we should focus more on increasing the role of digitalization in the education sector. The country should aim at establishing world class institutions and could also set up an expert body to understand the best practices prevailing globally and further adapt them according to our requirement. I personally believe this is the kind of education reforms the country needs at present.
Habil Khorakiwala, Past President & Chairman, Wockhardt writes this piece for FICCI publication “Economy of Jobs”. Post continues on Page 2.