Shift development focus towards labour intensive sectors to create more jobs: Report
THE current developmental models have created a state of joblessness in the country and the Government should shift its development focus towards labour intensive sectors to create more jobs, Oxfam India said recently. According to Oxfam India’s new report ‘Mind The Gap - State of Employment in India’ released recently, lack of quality jobs and increasing wage disparity are key markers of inequality in the Indian labour market. “Despite the rhetoric of job creation and ensuring gender justice, the reality is sobering on the ground. What we are really looking at is devastating and depressing situation. There are structural endemic causes which have created the distress that we are looking at in terms of job market or employment in this country,”
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said while releasing the report. Behar further noted that this is a consequence of poor policy choices and lack of investment in social security and infrastructure. In order to bridge the gap furthering inequality in employment, Oxfam India noted that focus should be shifted towards labour intensive sectors to create more jobs and better and relevant skilling opportunities should be there to raise India as an equal competitor to its neighbours and global competitors. Besides, there must be a greater focus on progressive taxation to reduce a race to the bottom on corporate tax exemptions. Additional revenue generated from these measures can be invested in social protection and essential services such as health and education, it added.
“Our country with the kind of labour force we have, we can’t opt for the models that the other countries have used. It is a policy intervention. Why should you allow large scale mechanisation? The reality is that you need to have labour intensive industries and opportunities. Otherwise, we are going to actually get into a social, political and economic crisis,” Ranu Bhogal, Director of Policy Research and Campaigns at Oxfam India.
The report further noted that women workers are most vulnerable. As per the report, on an average, women are paid 34 per cent less than similarly qualified male workers for performing the same tasks. Based on National Sample Survey Office (2011-12) estimates, in nominal terms, women earning a regular salary were paid, on average, Rs 105 and Rs 123 less than male workers daily in urban and rural settings, respectively. Bhogal noted that in the last few years, there have been promises on providing employment and generating jobs. However, the focus has never been on delivering quality jobs. “We need a labour market where people are adequately remunerated for their skills and provided social protection to access quality education and healthcare. This can help uplift families out of the cycle of poverty,” Bhogal said.