Feature writing — A Roadmap to create more jobs

A roadmap to create more jobs …


Background thoughts .. Recent reports reveal nearly 38% of IIT Bombay graduates are struggling to get jobs. This points to the fact that India’s industrial sector has not grown fast enough to absorb such world-class talent pool. The country’s economy has grown, but its growth has been skewed and patchy. The government’s policy initiatives have benefited a handful of big industrial houses, but not the vast number of SMEs and small-scale sector units that generate jobs.

The tendency to import goods that can be manufactured inside the country is another impediment in the path of expanding and strengthening the manufacturing potential of the country, a large portion of which goes unutilized. Take for example the case of import of the following items.  ..

  1. Automatic rifles for the army.. Despite having a century-old rifle factory at Ishapore that produces high-quality ifles of many different varieties, both for the armed forces and civilian use, the central government allowed import of 73,000 assault rifles from the United States in 2023. The government-owned Ishapore rifle factory participated in the tender, but its sample was rejected during trial by army officers. The lacunae pointed by the assessment team of the Army were minor and could have been rectified by the Ishapore factory with ease. Strangely, the government opted for the U.S. -made rifles. Given the murky history of India’s arms imports, the readers can guess why importing arms and ammunitions is preferred by the political establishment and the top officers of the three branches of the armed forces. The list of such imports by the Defense department is long.

Just imagine how much foreign exchange we lose through such ill-intentioned and arbitrary imports. More than that, how many more jobs for engineers and technicians we could have generated by producing these items indigenously.

  1. One of the other glaring cases of import that hurts our industries is the array of low and medium-tech goods we import from China. Electronic goods is a main item we buy from China. Can we not prod our own electronic goods manufacturers to aggressively produce these items? May be the pricing will be a hurdle initially, but the government can impose tariffs to neutralize China’s advantage as a cheaper source of such goods.

China’s exports to India have surged alarmingly in recent years, and the government seems to be not concerned about it. If India chooses to substitute imported Chinese goods by those made inside the country, hundreds and thousands of new jobs will be created.

  1. Let’s discuss some high-tech items like the Kavach anti-collision devices that the Railways need in thousands, but can’t procure it. Why can’t we encourage start-ups manned by IIT / NIT graduates to produce this item? If the Railways lack funds, the start-ups can be given access to banks to finance their manufacturing and selling processes. Over a period of time, the ‘economy of scale’ and the quality upgradation achieved by the IITians-manned start-ups will enable India to export this Kavach device to other countries. The recent train accident in West Bengal involving the Kanchanjunga Express is a grim reminder of the Railway ministry’s failure to fast-track the manufacturing and installation of the Kavach systems.
  2. The prevailing heat wave and the toll it takes of the economy has failed to agitate the public mind. We need to put inplace a robust system to protect the economy and the environment from such vagaries of Nature. We need to plant millions of trees and nurture them for a year or two so that they survive the risks of taking roots. We need to build heat shelters along highways, insulate our school and college buildings, hospitals and offices from the perilous heat waves. The solutions to this problem are already available in rural areas. We need to innovate and adopt such solutions in a nation-wide scale. It needs massive manpower and great organizational capacity. Fortunately, it does not require humongous capital outlay. The plus point is such an endeavor will generate huge number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs. Who in the government thinks along these lines?

——————————–To be continued——————–



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