Emerging Technologies & the Future of Work in India
We examine the likely impact of 4IR technologies on job displacement, employment conditions, and labor market inequities in India.
Global narratives on the impact of 4IR need to
be localised and reexamined. While new technologies will be developed and deployed
globally, the impact on the future of work will
be mediated through local political, legal and
This study examines the likely impact of 4IR on the Future of
Work in India, with a specific focus on job-displacement, employment conditions, and
labor market inequities in India.
With official labor data largely limited to the organized sector and 4IR still at an emergent stage, this study presents its findings in terms of propositions about the likely impact of 4IR over the next five to ten years. It would be pertinent to note that propositions are statements of high likelihood and plausibility, not predictions. In so far as the adoption of 4IR technology will be shaped by India’s particular socio-economic and political context, it follows that technology trajectories are not a neutral force. The study accordingly emphasizes the socio-political dimensions of technological trajectories and their impact.
How will technology trajectories and their impact on jobs in India vary from those identified globally, for industrialized economies, given India's socio-economic context? Which sectors and job types will experience the most labor disruptions and where will new jobs be created?
Automation and Job Displacement
High automation potential of routine tasks will reduce labor mobility
Adoption in organized manufacturing and services will be in niches
Construction and agriculture will experience incremental mechanization
Unorganized sector will benefit from microtechnology
How will employment relationships and conditions be altered? How will technology trajectories intersect with persistent informality India?
Growth in the platform economy will reorganize informality
Increasing contractual work within the organized sector
Increasing shift from wage employment to self-employment
How will the quality of work change and how might this recast social relationships? Which social groups are likely to be the most impacted?
Inequities in Labor Markets
Gender inequities will persist, even as women avail new opportunities
Marginalized communities will be further marginalized