In the context of the changing nature of work, what challenges do governments face, in providing social security to all it’s employed citizens? Discuss. (15 Marks)

Mentors Comments:

1. Discuss the changing nature of work – with the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution
2. What are the challenges posed by new work environments?
3. Highlight steps to be taken by governments to secure the citizens.
Answer:

Innovation and technological progress have caused disruption, but they have created more prosperity than they have destroyed. Yet today, there is a new wave of uncertainty as the pace of innovation continues to accelerate and technology affects every part of our lives. 

Positives

    • Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.
    • In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity.
    • Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.
    • There is a very appealing demographic dividend with Indian youth representing approximately 20% of the global workforce by 2020. With more than 50 percent of its population is under the age of 27, India can play a pivotal role in shaping the global fourth Industrial revolution in a responsible, scalable and inclusive manner.
    • India also wants to become an AI hub with the government recently announcing its National Programme on AI to encourage the development of AI-related technology in the country.

Challenges-

  • It is now widely accepted that technological advances, especially ones that make machines more like humans such as artificial intelligence are putting people out of work and will destroy more jobs in the future.
  • In the past decades, computers, cash machines, and self-serve pumps have largely replaced secretaries, bank tellers, and gas station attendants, respectively. 
  • Google, Uber and Tesla are all working on self-driving vehicles, beginning with those that make long-haul journeys
  • Technology created jobs tend to be concentrated in cities like London, San Francisco, New York and Stockholm, which drives up prices, creates inequality and makes it difficult for people to live in or move to places where new jobs are emerging.
  • Jobs that used to be a very complex, idiosyncratic and interesting start to look more like computer operator jobs, just putting in data and interpreting screen readouts.
  • The informal economy is omnipresent in most emerging economies. 
  • Innovation is boosting pay for highly skilled workers while having a more negative impact on those with low to medium skills.

Way forward

  • The three main components of social protection systems—a guaranteed social minimum (with social assistance at its core), social insurance, and labor market regulation—can manage labor market challenges.
  • A UBI is not an alternative to health, education, or other social services. The program may supplement current social assistance programs.
  •  Social insurance will play a vital role like Atal Pension Yojna (APY).
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