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Indian IT Minister: new age tech will generate employment

Although advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create new jobs and fears around job losses are misplaced, India Inc needs to do more to equip people with the skills required to better understand and use technology, the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Mr Ravi Prasad said that technology by its nature requires skilling and that there is a big potential for digital skilling which, in and of itself will generate a lot of jobs. The IT Ministry is collaborating with other departments like the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) on several of different areas of these technologies, and is also involved with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on skill development projects. Mr Ravi Prasad noted that he has already established a number of committees to study and understand the digital situation. 

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be used for governance...for improvement. We are working quite closely with other departments like Niti Aayog," he added.

Although much has been done regarding job creation for the IT sector, he said that while NASSCOM is doing that, corporate India needs to more. The minister said that though it is important for citizens to enhance their technical skills and keep up with the digital advancements in the technological world, there should be no concerns about jobs being replaced. 

"If a person is not up to date in new technology, then he may have a problem. You have to be tuned to the new technology," he said.

He noted that some 3,980,000 people are working directly in IT sector, while indirectly the sector employed about 13,000,000 people. Additionally, 1,000,000 people work with Common Service Centre (CSCSC) that function as access point for delivery of digital services such as healthcare, online government services, education etc., while 450,000 people are involved in mobile production for rural areas in the country, he added. 

"All these numbers are excluding the start-up and entrepreneurship movement. When a new technology comes, new skilling comes in, it is going to bring more and more jobs, be very clear about this," Mr Ravi Prasad said. 

Industries have become more automated, making existing jobs redundant and there have been reports of layoffs across several IT companies and growing concern that technology will soon replace jobs.  

NASSCOM had denied the reports saying the IT industry continues to hire people on net basis, but it is important that people reskill themselves to stay relevant. NASSCOM noted that tech start-ups, e-commerce, Digital India and digital payments are creating new opportunities for growth.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics, by 2025, around three million new jobs are expected to be generated in the sector.

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