A study based on World Bank data says that the proportion of jobs threatened by automation in India is 69 per cent. In China it is 77 per cent. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim mentioned it at Brookings Institution during a discussion on extreme poverty on October 4. “We continue to encourage more investments in infrastructure to promote growth and we also have to think about the kind of infrastructure the country will need in future. The technology has and will continue to fundamentally reshape the world and it will disrupt the traditional economic path in developing economies,” he said.
On September this year the textile giant Raymond Limited announced its decision to embrace automation. It sent shock wave across the industry. The company said it would replace 10,000 of its workforce with robots and the process would be completed in three years. Raymonds is introducing one robot for every 100 workers. Meanwhile the Central government has cleared a Rs 6,000 crore package for the textile industry to attract investment and create 10 million jobs. But studies show that the industry will generate only 29 lakh jobs in the next five years, which is 71 lakh less than what the government has planned. The textile industry will grow by 40 per cent to touch $142 billion in the next five years, but the automation will wipe away 71 lakh jobs.
Information Technology will be another casualty of automation. A report released by NASSCOM, “Perspective 2025: Shaping the Digital Revolution”, says the industry will generate $350 billion revenue by 2025. But because of automation, the jobs to be generated will be 50 per cent less than predicted.
Technology will lead to fundamental transformation in the type of jobs available in developing countries. With increasing reliance on private sector investment for development, greater vigilance is needed to ensure that privatisation does not result in the exclusion of the poor and the marginalised. To end poverty and promote prosperity, there is the need to invest in people. As Kim said, “more and more investment in people will determine the very future of nation states.”