Industries need to share burden of job creation: Niti Aayog’s Arvind Panagariya

Time & Us
Last Updated: August 28, 2017 at 12:32 am

New delhi: Admitting that lack of job creation is plaguing the country, Niti Aayog’s outgoing vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said the industry needs to chip in with more well-paid and formal sector jobs.

“I find it paradoxical when industry captains come and ask the government what it is doing for job creation,” Panagariya told Hindustan Times in an interview.

“We certainly need a change of mindset on part of our industrialists.”

According to Panagariya, industries have over the years chosen to invest in capital-intensive sectors instead of labour-intensive ones, which has compounded the problem.

The 64-year-old said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the chairman of the government think tank, the industry-government relationship is “undergoing a major change” as the old system of “industrialists currying firm-specific favours” has been replaced by a partnership regime.

Last week, the Aayog had organised a meeting of over 200 young CEOs with Prime Minister Modi, during which they shared ideas on how the private sector could partner with the government to “enable innovation, job creation and income enhancement”.

Under the programme ‘Champions of Change’, the think tank organised two-day roundtables with young CEOs and entrepreneurs for two consecutive weeks to generate concrete suggestions that would lead to policy tweaks, legislative changes and further the partnership model.

The Aayog has been tasked by the Prime Minister’s Office with compiling the suggestions and distilling them into workable solutions for implementation.

Panagariya stressed the need to “create an ecosystem welcoming labour intensive industries.”

The think tank on Thursday released its Three Year Action Agenda for 2017-20, in which it called for a need to focus on higher education and greater skills for increasing employability.

“An assessment of 1,50,000 engineering graduates in 2016 found that only 18% of engineers were employable in the software services sector in a functional role, only 41% in non-functional business process outsourcing and only 4% in software engineering start-ups.

The government’s strategy on improving higher education should focus on autonomous governance and transparency, and outcomes are critical components of a vibrant and successful higher education sector,” the agenda said.

Panagariya, who resigned last month to return to academics in the US, said the lack of good jobs is a bigger problem than unemployment.

His views were echoed in the agenda which noted “under-employment and therefore low-wage employment rather than unemployment is the key challenge facing India today”.