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HT EDIT -Socio­economic justice must precede job creation Technocratic and political approaches

October 01, 2018 05:29 AM

COURTESY HT OCT 1

Socio­economic justice must precede job creation
Technocratic and political approaches
can only complement this process
Resolving the jobs question is central to India’s future prosperity and stability. For an economy as large and diverse as India, a successful resolution of the employment challenge is impossible without confronting deeper socioeconomic questions. Technocratic, political and philosophical approaches have to be complements, not substitutes in this process. Unfortunately, the opposite holds true in reality.

Big-ticket manufacturing is seen as the panacea for reducing unemployment. But this sector is also witnessing increasing contract-based work, which is adding to the squeeze on workers’ earnings and quality of jobs. Agitations demanding reservations have proliferated across the country. Political parties repeatedly commit themselves to safeguarding reservations in government, yet any discussion on private sector reservations continues to be a taboo in the mainstream political discourse.

What India needs is an honest long-term policy framework which tries to do justice to such concerns. To say that the present discourse on employment falls short is an understatement. Azim Premji University’s initiative of launching an annual State of Working India report is a laudable effort to fill this void. The report gives a lucid yet informed summary of the Indian labour market. It has a central message: Gandhi and Ambedkar must meet Kuznets and Lewis (the last two are celebrated development economists) to solve India’s employment challenge. Gandhi stands for environmental sustainability, Ambedkar for social justice, Kuznets for the labour force shifting from farm to non-farm jobs and Lewis for a shift from less productive to more productive sectors

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