Employment: Can the digital economy help create the jobs India needs?

Aadhaar-enabled KYC has dramatically lowered costs of customer verification and so, potentially, gives a big fillip to the market for financial services, among a host of others — indeed, the entire India-Stack of apps are offering a brand new range of services based on Aadhaar.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: July 7, 2017 2:37 am
Digital economy, panel discussion, Bibek Debroy, Financial express, Digital economy Unemployment, Niti ayog,, Indian express, India news A panel of experts will debate this later this evening. Moderated by Financial Express Managing Editor Sunil Jain, the panelists include Niti Aayog Member Bibek Debroy.

The narrative on India’s jobs market remains confused with the official data showing jobless growth and the government saying this doesn’t represent the reality — a new panel has been asked to come up with credible metrics. With the government talking of entrepreneurship and micro-enterprises creating jobs, ieThinc, presented by Facebook, tries to put in perspective the jobs-creating potential of the new tech-driven economy.

With 200,000 SMEs on its platform, an Amazon for instance, is facilitating lakhs of jobs since most of these SMEs didn’t have access to pan-Indian, or global, markets till now; and this is without taking into account the jobs an Amazon creates directly in its warehouses and delivery staff.

And with consumption growing at healthy rates, it is certain this is creating thousands of retail-sector jobs the formal system is not capturing. With around a tenth of all cars sold in the country being made for cab-aggregators like Ola and Uber, the number of jobs being created surely outnumber the ones being destroyed by a big margin. Aadhaar-enabled KYC has dramatically lowered costs of customer verification and so, potentially, gives a big fillip to the market for financial services, among a host of others — indeed, the entire India-Stack of apps are offering a brand new range of services based on Aadhaar.

A panel of experts will debate this later this evening. Moderated by Financial Express Managing Editor Sunil Jain, the panelists include Niti Aayog Member Bibek Debroy, Technopak Managing Director Arvind Singhal, iSPIRT co-founder Sharad Sharma, Little Black Book founder & CEO Suchita Salwan, Amazon Director Archana Vohra and International Growth Centre’s India Director Pronab Sen.

While practitioners like Salwan and Vohra will discuss their experience with helping create/nurture jobs, Singhal will weigh in with his experience as a consultant in, among others, the retail sector. Sharma, with his knowledge of the tech world — iSpirt is the think-tank of the software product industry — will discuss the way this will power India’s jobs revolution. As an academic, and now a part of the government think-tank, Debroy will put in perspective the jobs debate and trajectory.

Pronab Sen was the first Chief Statistician of India and also the technical head of the country’s national statistical system — he will offer a unique perspective on whether, in fact, India is creating more jobs than the data captures and, among others, on whether jobs creation by small and micro-enterprises is even sustainable.

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