PM Modi turns Job Market bullish
With the new Central Government sworn in under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the mood appears upbeat allround in every sector of working in the country as the nation awaits expectantly with bated breath the introduction of positive changes to uplift the country’s economy – which has been struggling to get out of the grip of the world’s affected economies. Employment opportunities to the tune of approximately 4 lakh to 5 lakh are expected to be generated within the next two years across the country’s leading cities. In case India’s economic growth accelerates to above 6 per cent in 2015, more such opportunities may be expected. The IT/ITeS and allied services sectors are likely to account for a substantial chunk of this opportunity, followed by the banking, financial, services and insurance (BFSI) sectors; and distantly followed by research and consulting, pharmaceuticals, engineering and manufacturing, and telecommunications.
Even as jobs increase, space to accommodate office personnel becomes important and more than 70–80 million sq. ft. of fresh commercial office space is anticipated to become ready for possession by 2015, most of which are planned and under-construction IT/ITeS spaces. Assuming about 60–65 per cent absorption levels for this upcoming office space, approximately four to five lakh job opportunities may be realistically anticipated within the next two years.
The three major metropolitan centers of Bengaluru, the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) are slated to account for nearly three quarters of this planned office space supply, with Bengaluru and the NCR alone expected to contribute to more than half of this total expected employment opportunity by the end of 2015. Gurgaon and Noida are likely to attract the maximum number of these projects in the NCR and quite a few micro-markets in Bengaluru too are expected to follow suit.
While the Outer Ring Road (ORR) stretch is anticipated to witness most of the supply set to hit Bangalore in the coming years, the rest of the city’s upcoming office space will come up in the North Bengaluru area, followed by Whitefield and Electronic City. Bengaluru has also crossed a milestone in its commercial office space development curve in 2013, by becoming the first office hub in India to have joined the global club for 100-million-sq.ft. of office markets. With major corporate decision makers across Europe having indicated an increased appetite for global expansion into Indian markets, this expansion of modern, investment-grade office stock in the main cities of India will go a long way in meeting upcoming opportunities including for jobs. Nearly 50 per cent of corporate occupiers responding to the survey (double the figure from 2012–13 at 24 per cent) named India as their destination of choice — beating China as a preferred destination (42 per cent in 2013-14, down from 60 per cent in 2012–13).
The major reasons behind such positive sentiments would appear to be rapid population growth and gradually recovering economic prospects, coupled with increasing transparency and improving infrastructure. These factors seem to be removing many of the traditional barriers to entry into Indian markets. The opportunities presented by economic growth in India may now be sufficient to overcome some of the longstanding barriers — governance, infrastructure, bureaucracy, and lack of transparency — that have inhibited inward investment.
India has already attracted a large number of occupiers from a range of sectors, including financial and business services, media, technology and telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals. This has been supported by a general process of de-regulation and a range of specific government initiatives designed to attract foreign investment, such as relaxation of rules on foreign ownership, streamlining of the development process, and promotion of a range of high-tech growth industries.
Improved international and domestic infrastructure connections have supported growth in a number of cities, including Mumbai’s financial cluster and the economic hub of the NCR. Growth in the technology sector has particularly contributed to this phenomenon. With the US economy on a gradual recovery graph, improving prospects could also translate into more back-office opportunities for India.
India’s commercial office market across leading cities has been headed towards a mature growth curve. An emerging trend has seen various off-shore funds and key institutional players turning to investments in core commercial assets. Private equity firms, pension funds and real estate investment trusts (REITS) own close to 80 per cent or more of the office space market in most mature markets around the world. With the possibility of Indian REITs taking off, and India’s core commercial assets yielding comparatively high rentals among emerging markets, it would seem that India is presently poised to make the best of the opportunity headed its way.
Training and upgradation of job skills is also being strongly emphasized in the market. ‘Technical skill upgradation and implementation of new processes and practices are a must towards economic growth and, where the Rs 5200-crore Indian welding industry is set for achieving 320 per cent growth in six years, welders and welding technologists must embrace new materials with improved weldability and adhere to create and maintain a six sigma quality environment on the shop floor,’ said Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) President P K Das.
The IIW-India claimed that capital investments of over Rs 2100 crores in new generation welding equipment are expected to be made by leading Indian fabricators over the next three years including defence, Indian Railways, ship-builders, power generators, automobile manufacturers and all major players in infrastructure and construction. These new automated welding equipment integrate seamlessly with the production lines, reducing power consumption and welding time by 50 per cent and, thus, leading to savings of 20 to 30 per cent in average welding costs and recovery of investment in a short span of 40 months.
IIW-India had hosted recently the International Congress of the International Institute of Welding (HQ-Paris), where over 125 globally eminent welding scientists, academicians and practitioners share their knowledge on emerging welding technologies with over 2,000 Indian participants. ‘We have to compete with the Americans and Europeans, and hence are losing out on $1 billion per year in contracts covering industries like Oil and Gas, Power, Ship-building etc,’ said IIW Regional Director (West) Vijay S Agwan while noting that where India produced 75 million tonnes of steel, about 4 per cent of this was consumed in India alone and steel consumption is expected to grow considerably in the next five years.
A A Deshpande of the IIW said, ‘People come from countries like Brazil, Norway, Singapore, Saudi Arabia for training in the IIW, though sadly India does not have many certified engineers in this field and hence cannot bid for jobs abroad. The percentage of such engineers in India is very less – compared to the growing need where, by 2020, the turnover is expected to grow by three times.’
‘The huge demand-supply gap is due to lack of manpower and specially those who are untrained. We have to ensure that trained personnel are available to take up this challenge, but barely 10 engineering colleges in India are offering welding engineering courses,’ he said, adding, ‘India has lagged behind in this industry by 15 years and our focus is on creation of related talent pool at all levels. Once the new Central Government is in place, it will add huge impetus to this industry.’ Ador Welding Ltd Managing Director Satish Bhat said that India – though not having steel consumption figures like China and the USA – consumed 1/5th of world consumption at 230 kg per person.
The Government of India has set up the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) as part of a national skill development mission to fulfill the growing need in India for skilled manpower across sectors and narrow the existing gap between the demand and supply skills. The target for NSDC is to provide employable skills to 150 million young Indians by 2022. Its mandate is to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either
directly or through partnerships and setting up sector skill councils.
The NSDC Board has approved setting up of 27 sector skill councils (SSC), of which 17 have started operations. These are in the fields of healthcare, gems and jewellery, automotive, rubber, telecom etc. The NSDC has trained 910,000 individuals till date. A training capacity of 16.39 million has been created by the NSDC.
The Government launched a direct cash transfer scheme on 1 January, 2013 to transfer cash directly into bank accounts of beneficiaries across different districts in the country. The scheme has now been rechristened as Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme. DBT covers schemes including scholarships, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana, unemployment assistance, payment of pension and wages for work under MGNREGA etc, among others.
DBT also covers schemes wherein the government will transfer subsidies in the form of cash directly in the bank accounts of the different beneficiaries such as LPG subsidies etc. The purpose of having DBT is to ensure accurate targeting, avoid duplication, reduction of fraud and corruption, and bring greater accountability and elimination of wastes in subsidy transfer. Prequisites for taking benefit of DBT include name of beneficiary in the digitised database of beneficiary, to have an Aadhaar Card/ Number, to open a bank account in name of beneficiary.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message on ‘International Day for Biological Diversity’ — which falls in the International Year of Small Island Developing States and is being observed under the theme of ‘Island Diversity’ — noted that for some 600 million island dwellers ( nearly one-tenth of the world’s population and representing one in three United Nations Member States), biodiversity is integral to their subsistence, income, well-being and cultural identity.
‘Half the world’s marine resources lie in island waters. Biodiversity-based industries such as tourism and fisheries account for more than half the gross domestic product (GDP) of small island developing States. Coral reefs alone provide an estimated $375 billion annual return in goods and services. Many island species on land and sea are found nowhere else on Earth. Legacies of a unique evolutionary heritage, they hold the promise of future discoveries — from medicines and foods to biofuels.
‘Yet, reflecting a global pattern, island biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate in the face of growing risks. Rising sea levels caused by climate change, ocean acidification, invasive alien species, overfishing, pollution and ill-considered development are taking a heavy toll. Many species face the prospect of extinction. People’s livelihoods and national economies are suffering.