If you’ve read about self-driving cars, blockchain, and the internet of things (IoT), registered for a massive open online course (MOOC), considered dealing in cryptocurrencies, or asked Alexa to play your favourite song, the chances are you are one of the select few Indians adjusting to the reality of a brave new world driven by technology and automation. But somewhere you will also acknowledge the growing disquiet in society, where there is job-deficient growth, rising farm distress, and youths from different communities agitating for job reservations in government or the public sector. Like elsewhere on the globe, in India, too, the worlds of those with skills to handle technology, and those without, are diverging.
This book presents us with insights, explanations, and possible solutions to the aggravating jobs crisis in India. Raghavan Jagannathan comprehensively and skillfully explains the various micro and macro factors that impact the overall job scenario, including the rise of the ‘gig’ economy, the use of robots, new technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) that displace human labour on the shopfloor and in the services sector, and the economic uncertainties that lie ahead. Archaic labour laws designed to protect employees from exploitative employers are not helping matters at a time when capital is cheaper than ever. The world of long-term and predictable jobs and careers is shrinking. The only people who will benefit in this scenario are those who are willing to constantly upskill, relearn, and relocate to improve their job and income prospects. The world is getting older demographically, and older people always find the speed of change difficult to cope with; India, with its younger population, can do better, but government and business have not got their act together yet.