Editorial

Not by growth alone

| Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 19, 2017

A package of measures is needed to enable businesses to employ more people

Faster economic expansion of about 8-10 per cent no doubt is a prerequisite for job creation, as noted by the Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian recently. Yet high growth alone is not enough to create jobs. In India’s case, the low import duties on capital goods, besides archaic labour laws, encouraged the substitution of labour for capital during the phase of high, but jobless growth. India has witnessed sluggish growth of jobs in high growth sectors such as automobiles, due to automation and use of robotics. Over the next few years, many jobs will fall victim to artificial intelligence as businesses look for ways to lower recurring manpower costs. For India, with almost half of its population below 25 years of age, settling for slow growth of jobs is out of the question.

While creating jobs is not the Government’s primary responsibility, it should act as a facilitator by moulding an environment that enables rapid economic growth, new investments and expansion of jobs. Given India’s demographic profile, varying literacy levels, range of skills and stage of development of its economy, the nation needs to create various kinds of jobs — from low-skill construction jobs to high-precision ones and from low level back-end jobs to specialist ones. That would call for more than single ministry-led missions and programmes. It requires less cumbersome labour laws and a bankruptcy code that together enable easy exit and entry of labour and capital, accompanied by a workable safety net and private-public institutions to beef up skills. Good infrastructure and connectivity are, of course, a pre-requisite to further investment.

The CEA had identified the apparels and footwear items sectors for creating low-skill jobs, particularly for women, in Economic Survey 2016-17. These sectors also have high export potential. While India is a major exporter of apparels and leather items, other countries in South-East and East Asia have done better, because they offer better infrastructure and easier conditions to do business. India has lost out to countries such as Vietnam in recent years in terms of attracting businesses leaving China, where sharp rise in labour costs made low-skill manufacturing uncompetitive. Cheap labour alone will not ensure that ‘Make in India’ is successful. India should learn from China’s experience with special economic zones, where industry invested readily as it was provided the necessary infrastructure, including workers’ quarters, while also being obliged to rope in local units and transfer technology. Like Vietnam, India needs to offer excellent infrastructure and logistics. The rollout of GST in a few months could be a positive factor for investors.

Published on May 19, 2017

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.