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Job creation India’s biggest challenge: Singapore’s deputy PM

NEW DELHI: Identifying job creation as India’s biggest challenge, Singapore‘s deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Saturday policymakers should take urgent measures to address Skill gaps and prevent the country’s “demographic dividend” from turning into a “demographic deficit”.

“It (jobs) is a real challenge going forward because India has lost a lot of time because you have employment legislation that is anti-employment,” he said at Delhi Economics Conclave.

He added that technological changes and the use of artificial intelligence and robots were accelerating across the world, including India, and the pace was expected to pick up. “The window of opportunity for labour-intensive activities is narrowing,” he said.

Stating that the link between skills and jobs was critical, he added that India had taken significant steps in skills training but the link with jobs and placement had been weak.

Shanmugaratnam backed deep involvement of employers in training and the need to incentivise skills training by employers. “I would say it is a looming crisis. I say this quite frankly for India, and there have to be major and concerted and urgent measures taken to tackle the skills challenge; otherwise, there will be a real problem in our hands and a demographic dividend will become a demographic deficit or crisis in the years to come,” said Shanmugaratnam, who is a keen India watcher. He added that India should provide a level playing field for new entrants.

“Firms that already have a lead have a way of capturing legislation so that… new entrants are deterred,” he said, “A cardinal principle of public policy is to provide a level playing field. Avoid protecting incumbents and make sure that new entrants come up and increase competition. It will make the economy more inclusive,” he said.

He applauded the measures taken by the government and highlighted the implementation of GST. “I am optimistic about India because of the pace of change… and… the new culture that is being created; a culture that rewards good economics with Political Support and… that builds political support for good economics,” he said.

Source : timesofindia

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Job creation India’s biggest challenge: Singapore’s deputy PM


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