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Daily-current-affairs / 18 Sep 2023

India's Imperative for Workforce Digital Upskilling : Daily News Analysis


Date : 19/09/2023

Relevance: GS Paper2 - Social Justice - Skill Development

Keywords: National Sample Survey (NSS), LFPS 2020-21, World Economic Forum (WEF)


  • In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, digital literacy and upskilling have transitioned from being optional to becoming imperative. The National Sample Survey (NSS) (2020-21) and LFPS 2020-21 underline the pressing need for expanding IT and computer-based training across diverse sectors in India.
  • The recent release of the 4th edition of the Future of Jobs 2023 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) further underscores the necessity for digital upskilling. This report projects the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025, owing to technological advancements, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) and related fields.
  • However, India faces significant challenges in matching its workforce's skills with these evolving demands, calling for immediate action by the government, businesses, and educational institutions.

WEF Report Insights: Tech-Advancement and Job Creation

  • Optimistic yet Cautionary Projection: The WEF report predicts a net increase of 97 million new jobs by 2025, while 85 million jobs may become obsolete. However, this transformation entails a growing role for machines in labor, especially for repetitive tasks, with future jobs, relying heavily on data-driven and machine-powered processes.
  • Tech-driven Shift in India: India's job market is expected to experience a slightly lower churn rate compared to the global average of 23%. This churn will be predominantly technology-driven, led by sectors like AI & ML (machine learning) at 38%, followed by data analysts and scientists at 33%, and data entry clerks at 32%. Labor-intensive segments of the economy are anticipated to experience the least disruption, with Indian and Chinese employers remaining optimistic about talent availability.

Indicators of India's Digital Unpreparedness

  • Huge Demand-Supply Gap: A report by Nasscom, Draup, and Salesforce reveals a 51% talent demand-supply gap in AI & ML and big data analytics (BDA), with even more significant gaps of 60-73% for roles like ML engineers, data scientists, DevOps engineers, and data architects.
  • Shortcomings in Upskilling: The quality of talent exacerbates the problem, with a significant percentage of engineering graduates being unemployable due to inadequate skills. Approximately 30% of the trained workforce in various fields have IT training, yet 29% of them remain unemployed. The skilling effort, including schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, falls short of the required standards.
  • Lack of Basic Computer Skills: The NSS 2020-21 highlights that 42% of Indian youth possess only basic computer skills, while just 2.4% have programming skills. Moreover, a mere 10% and 8.6% are familiar with basic arithmetic formulas in spreadsheets and creating electronic presentations, respectively.
  • Low Investments: India's investment in mid-career upskilling is average, contributing to high unemployment rates among those with advanced education.

Government Initiatives

The Government of India has initiated several programs to address this challenge:

  1. National Digital Literacy Mission
  2. PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana (4.0)
  3. Digital India Mission
  4. National Education Policy 2020
  5. DigiSaksham initiative
  6. YuWaah Platform
  7. IndiaSkills 2021
  8. Recognition of Prior Learning
  9. Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)
  10. National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT 3.0)

Making India's Workforce Digitally Prepared

  • Revamping Skills and Investments: India must restructure its skill development system to focus on upskilling the workforce, with a special emphasis on emerging technologies. Leveraging its sizable working-age population and youth demographic, India can harness the full benefits of its demographics through strategic investments in reskilling.
  • Special Focus on IT Skills: To compete globally, individuals across sectors must possess specialized IT skills. Initiatives like the Skill India Mission and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 4.0 aim to train and certify millions in various vocational skills, including IT and digital skills, emphasizing emerging technologies.
  • Alternate Talent Pools: Expanding digital capabilities to smaller towns, encouraging more women to participate in the workforce, and revitalizing vocational education from industrial training institutes and polytechnics are essential steps. Leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding for these programs and fostering collaboration between governments, employers, training providers, and workers will be crucial to meeting the growing digital learning needs.


Addressing India's digital skills gap is paramount for staying competitive in the global marketplace. The convergence of government initiatives, strategic investments, and a comprehensive approach to upskilling will empower India's workforce to navigate the evolving digital landscape and contribute significantly to the nation's economic growth.

Probable Questions for UPSC Mains Exam-

  1. According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs 2023 report, what are the key projections regarding the impact of technological advancements on jobs, and how does India compare to the global average in terms of job churn? (10 Marks,150 Words)
  2. What are the major indicators highlighted in the report that suggest India's workforce is digitally unprepared, and what initiatives has the Indian government undertaken to address this digital skills gap? (15 Marks,250 Words)

Source - PIB