Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development and employment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: How to create quality jobs for women in the RE sector?
- Studies estimate that India’s ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy (RE) by 2022 could create 3,30,000 jobs in the wind and solar energy sectors alone
- Can this rapidly growing industry create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for women?
- And can these opportunities provide better salaries and health-care benefits, skilling and training opportunities, and enhance the quality of life for women and their families?
- What can decision-makers do to support the inclusion of more women in this growing sector?
A study by the McKinsey Global Institute
- According to the study, India can increase its GDP by up to 60% by 2025 by enabling more women to participate in its workforce
Can the new RE projects be planned in a manner that also creates good quality jobs for women in these areas?
- Currently, India’s RE industry sector, as with other sectors, has low participation of women
- India ranks a poor 120 among 131 countries on female labour force participation, according to World Bank data
- A majority of women currently employed in the RE sector work at project sites, doing civil masonry work, which is temporary and labour-intensive with little potential for future growth
- Moreover, the working conditions on many sites are not always suitable for women as they are devoid of safety and support systems
- Where there is a need for more skilled or semi-skilled labour, fewer women can respond due to existing barriers to formal education and training
- Consequently, there are very few women in production, facilities, and operations and maintenance roles in the RE sector
Potential in the RE sector
- In a recent study, we found that jobs in the RE sector can impact poverty, provided several changes are made to the existing systems
- Particularly with the growth of the decentralised RE and off-grid energy sector, there is significant potential to include local women in the workforce
- Overall, the study concluded that if the government, clean energy enterprises, training institutes and civil society work together to implement these “tweaks”, India could create good-quality employment opportunities that can support the inclusion of more women
- But such interventions need to be designed with women at the centre and not as an afterthought
What can be done?
- Training institutes could reduce the bar on entry, allowing for less formally educated women to learn new skills and receive training
- Training should be customised to respect specific needs like location, hours of engagement, safety and sanitation
- Mobile training modules that can cater to small groups of women in remote areas can be developed
- This sensitisation to women’s specific needs can help increase participation of women in the RE workforce