A few days ago, a news item caught my attention. These were the number of people registered on the Tamil Nadu job exchange live register:
These are depressing numbers. These include Tamil Nadu, a reasonably developed state, not Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The actual number of unemployed in the more populous and less developed UP or Bihar, if motivated to register, would be staggering.
Where are the jobs for the unemployed? They are hidden in plain sight. As of March 31, 2021, there were 8,72,243 vacancies in the central government and the government has filled 78,264 vacancies. Nearly 8 lakh positions are vacant!
There are jobs everywhere, but we don’t make the effort to find them. Recently, I listened to a video recording of a lecture by Dr. Devi Shetty, the famous cardio-thoracic surgeon who founded the Narayana Health chain of hospitals. Excerpts from Dr. Shetty’s speech:
“We have a severe shortage of places for undergraduates and places for graduates.
“If we go to the Caribbean region, there are 35 medical schools training doctors for the United States, which are in a rented 50,000 square feet in a strip mall, training fantastic doctors. Why are we spending Rs 400 crore (for a medical school) and creating this edifice? It’s ridiculous.
“Faculties of medicine don’t need 140 professors to train 100 students. 140 faculty members can run a medical school with 1000 students. So when the whole world changed, we didn’t change.
“We have made medical education an elitist affair. …Today, children from poor families do not dream of becoming doctors. This will have enormous consequences. Exceptional doctors around the world, with magic in their fingers, come from disadvantaged backgrounds, because they are kids who have the fire in their stomachs, to work 24 hours a day, to change the rules of the game.
“Why every 12 minutes should a pregnant woman die during childbirth? Why do 300,000 children die the day they are born? Why do 1.2 million children die before celebrating their first birthday? It is unacceptable.
“We need 200,000 gynecologists, we have less than 50,000; half of them do not practice obstetrics… We need 2,00,000 anesthesiologists, we have less than 50,000.
“We need 200,000 paediatricians to take care of children, we have less than 50,000; we need at least 150,000 radiologists, we have less than 10,500.
“This country does not need additional budget allocation, this country needs to free up medical, nursing and paramedical education.”
According to Dr. Shetty, there are thousands of jobs that can, with a little effort, be created in the health sector alone. Applying the same rigorous logic to other sectors such as education, urban development, rivers and water bodies, forestry, livestock, agricultural research and extension, and food processing: millions of jobs can be created, which in turn will create direct and indirect jobs for millions of people. .
Moreover, governments are timid. They are afraid to create the jobs the public sector desperately needs, because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by the illusion that “small government is good government”. Governments are also hungry for knowledge. As Dr. Shetty pointed out, we are building monuments, not functioning, self-sufficient medical schools, and in the meantime many women, children and the afflicted are dying. His point about illiberalism, half-heartedness and wasteful spending can be found in every government department. What we need to create jobs are disruptions, like the “50,000 square foot medical college in a shopping mall” type advocated by Dr. Shetty.
Disruptors create jobs
Fearless disruptors have been blamed for many things, but they ventured into the unknown, created something that didn’t exist before, and in the process created wealth and invented jobs. Think of Gottlieb Daimler, Henry Ford, Kenjiro Takayanagi, Sam Walton, John Mitchell and Martin Cooper (Motorola), Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and their innovative initiatives that created millions of jobs, many of them n did not exist before.
India’s most important need is employment. The sectors I mentioned above have the potential to create millions of jobs like teachers, librarians, arts and crafts gurus, trainers, lab technicians, designers and architects, town planners, engineers, forest guards, fishermen, veterinarians, milk producers, poultry farmers. , etc current in hundreds of categories. MSMEs, especially small and medium units, are the most prolific job creators and hirers. Once jobs are created, they will begin their own virtuous cycles — linked jobs, income, wealth, tax revenue, environmental friendliness, charity, support for fine arts and literature, etc.
But who thinks of employment? Not the Union Department of Health, when just outside its offices lies a great opportunity waiting to be uncovered. And not the Ministry of Finance which presented the Modi government’s budget for 2022-23. The word “jobs” appeared in three places in the 90-minute, 157-paragraph budget speech!