Daily Answer Writing
16 January 2021

Q) Does the 'unemployment' risks brought forth by the disruptive technologies outweigh the opportunities provided. What has been the policy response in this regard? (250 Words)

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1688807 and https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1688812

Approach Answer: 

Introduction: Disruptive technology is an innovation that significantly alters the way that consumers, industries, or businesses operate. A disruptive technology sweeps away the systems or habits it replaces because it has attributes that are recognizably superior. Recent disruptive technology examples include e-commerce, online news sites, ride-sharing apps, and GPS systems.            

               Risks of disruptive technologies:

                              a. Deems existing infrastructure futile: The existing industry is replaced by a new one by a phenomenon known as creative destruction.

                              b. Requires massive reinvestment: Disruptive technologies require years of Research and development and process upgradations. This requires diversion of resources from other sectors.

                              c. Requires massive reskilling of labour: The skilling process is a slow one, as there is only so much skilling infrastructure available.

                              d. Higher efficiency reduces jobs: Till the time there are no skills and industry available, the higher efficiency of the new process replaces jobs on a mass scale, breeding unemployment.


               Arguments in support of new Technologies:

                              a. Lessons from History: Even the present mass job providing  technologies such as the automobile, electricity service, and television in their own times were disruptive technologies.

                              b. New types of employments: It would create new employment avenues and boost the economy that would eventually create place for new jobs.

                              c. To gain First mover advantage: If not us other countries would gain an advantage in these technologies. For example China is investing big in technologies such as 5G. Its R&D budget and number of patents filed are more than 10 times of ours.

                              d. Strategic reasons: Capture of innovations in terms of patents and innovations would not only give an economic edge over others, but also strategic in terms of defence, control over technolologies.

                              e. Risk of remaining behind: If we do not invest into these technologies, we would miss the train of next technological revolution.

This it is an imparative on us to venture into disruptive technologies. The advantages and opportunities provided by it far outweighs the risk.                        

               Policy Steps taken by the Government:

                              ? For 5G Communications:

                                             § A Steering Committee, headed by AJ Paulraj, for identifying the 5G deployment roadmap for India recently submitted report titled 'Making India 5G Ready'.

                                             § Government has launched a program titled ‘Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed’. The program envisages close collaboration between the universities & small technology companies to build broadly compliant with the third generation partnership projects (3GPP) standards.

                              ? For Artificial Intelligence: National Strategy on Artificial intelligence has been initiated by NITI Aayog. It calls for Centres for excellence to be set up on robotics, AI, Internet of things etc. NITI Aayog has joined hands with Google to promote the growth of AI and machine learning ecosystem in India.

                              ? Quantum Computation:

                                             § In 2020 budget session, Finance minister proposed that ?8,000 crore be set aside to develop quantum science and technology.

                                             § Rajiah Simon Committee report: A report on National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NM-QTA) has been  finalised, and in the next couple of months, this mission might get approval.  It is an inter-ministerial mission, and Department of Science and Technology is the nodal department.

                                             § QuEST Program: initiated by the Department of Science and Technology  at a modest 200-crore-rupee budget to explore the possibilities and engage with the researchers.

                              ? Block Chain: Government has been in general against the speculation in cryptocurrencies. However, it has been positive towards exploring the applications in other field such as education, healthcare, banking services, contract enforcement etc.

                              ? Nano Science: National Nano Mission, 2007: Mission on Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission) with Dept. of Science & Technology(DST) as the nodal body.

                              ? Vaccine development: R&D grant for COVID Vaccine of about ? 900 Crore is being provided to Department of Biotechnology.


               Further for boosting Production: Policy initiatives taken are:

                              ? Make in India and Start-up India: are heavily focused on the new technologies.

                              ? Atmanirbhar Bharat, particularly its 3.0 version has various initiatives to fund and support innovative technologies.

                              ? Product linked Incentives(PLI) to boost large scale electronics manufacturing in 10 industrial sectors.

                              ? Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) will provide financial incentive of 25% on capital expenditure for the identified list of electronic goods that comprise downstream value chain of electronic products scheme.

                              ? Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme: To offset the disabilities faced by industries for quality infrastructure and to develop a robust electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country to make India 


               Conclusion: Thus to board on the train of next technological revolution, India is particularly well place in the large scheme of things with large educated population. Further, India has become on of the favourite destination for Foreign investment. However it as Economic survey of 2017 points out that we are currently far behind in terms of Global Innovation Index. And we need huge R& D spending to boost into new technologies.


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