Leverage global shortage of manpower: Vajpayee

Monday, 28 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India is ideally placed to take advantage of the huge shortage of professionals that developed countries are expected to face due to ageing and low populations growth, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Friday.

While developed countries are expected to face a manpower shortage, India is set to emerge as a nation with the largest manpower reserve in the world, Vajpayee said after presenting the 'Shram' (labour) Awards at a function organised by the labour ministry here.

He quoted a study by the All India Management Association which said as many as 40 million new and high-value jobs could be created by enriching the country's professional resource base and strengthening its advances in the knowledge economy.

"The shortage of manpower in developed countries would require them to attract the right kind of skill sets - either through migration or by outsourcing, which is made possible by the breathtaking advances in information technology.

"Thus, India is uniquely placed to take advantage of this situation by exporting its professional services - either actually or virtually," he said.

He noted that the contribution of outsourcing alone was expected to be anywhere between $100 billion and $300 billion, with an addition of 10-24 million jobs each year.

"India could become a preferred destination for medical and old-age tourism, educational services and leisure activities, apart from a wide variety of other outsourced businesses," he added.

While it was for experts to examine these possibilities and chalk out policies to realise them, what was beyond any doubt was that "we in India should constantly explore new avenues of employment generation for our educated and not-so-educated youth," he said.

In this context, he emphasised the need for upgrading skills and the knowledge base to open new avenues for more employment and better quality of jobs.

He said today, only five percent of the Indian labour force in the age group 20-24 had vocational skills, as against 60-80 percent in the industrialised countries.

"Given the nearly 400-million strong labour force of India, the enormity of the problem and the resources required to tackle these issues can very well be appreciated," he added.

"In the times to come, we must create a workforce that is skilled and has the ingenuity and resourcefulness to adjust itself to the rapid changes in the labour market.

"That is the only way we can survive in the face of a fiercely competitive global environment," he said and urged the labour ministry to launch schemes for upgradation of skills in the country.
Source: IANS
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