Jobs boom powered by manufacturing

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At a time when jobs are scarce and hikes are even more difficult to come by, twenty-eight million jobs are expected to be created in India in the electronics sector. Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) and R&D based exports will be a major driver of growth in the industry, say experts. “Increased value-addition in these areas will further drive demand for production as well as sales, services and after-sales support, which will have major implications on the demand for skilled human resources,” said a recent research report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

The major demand drivers for employment in the electronics and IT hardware industry would be rapid urbanisation, higher disposable income, changing lifestyle and easy financing options, added NSDC. Ajay Kumar, joint secretary in the department of electronics and information technology (DeITy) estimates about seven-eight million direct jobs to be created in the electronics sector if the $400 billion industry target is to be achieved.

“Skill level is not available in India. HR development is a major focus of the policy. We require skill sets at the shop floor level, vocational level and managerial level and R&D level. We are in the process of developing schemes for developing this whole spectrum of human resource,” said Kumar.

To achieve the industry target, major stress needs to be laid on having doctorates available to foster innovation. “Basically the idea is for institutions that are granting PhDs as per the UGC norms to build up infrastructure and capabilities to produce more doctorates,” he said.

The government has set an ambitious target of producing 3,000 doctorates in the IT and electronics sectors — 1,500 each per annum by the end of the twelfth plan. The government will sanction about Rs 800 crore for the scheme. “The scheme has received in-principle approval and is pending expenditure finance committee (EFC) approval,” said Kumar.

While the government is pushing to increase the number of skilled human talent available to this sector the quality of graduating engineers in electronics and IT too is a concern. “Here the focus is on improvement of quality. We are talking of improving faculty of colleges through 25 state-level electronics and ICT academies to be mentored by an IIT or IIIT,” Kumar said.

He added that a budget of Rs 600 crore had been sanctioned for this scheme, which was also pending clearance from the EFC.

Human resources directly employed in the electronics and IT hardware industry have increased from about 770,000 in 2007 to around 900,000 at last count as per NSDC estimates. The electronics and IT hardware industry has the potential to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 per cent till 2022, assuming GDP grows at 7.5-8 per cent over the period.

However, the talent drought still exists at the vocational level. “While there are many private institutes for IT, we do not have enough electronics institutes. Industry is the best judge of what skills are needed,” added Kumar.

There is also a proposal for providing incentives to students from colleges and unemployment exchanges to be certified by sector skill councils and national institute of electronics and information technology (NIELIT) for vocational training.

“On successful completion, incentive for training will be provided by government. Work is going on in this framework. We propose to go through the process of approval this year,” added Kumar.

It is estimated that the demand for electronics (consumption) in India will rise to $400 billion by 2020 from $100 billion at present. Out of this, the Indian electronics and IT hardware sector production has grown at a CAGR of 16.4 per cent since 2002. India exports around 17 per cent of its total electronics hardware production.

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