India cannot afford to ignore the challenges of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, and miss out on Industrial Revolution 4.0, Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.
“We had lost out on the opportunities created by the Industrial Revolution because of colonialism, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pointed out… and that we cannot afford to miss out on Industrial Revolution 4.0,” Pradhan said.
The Minister was addressing the 10th Global Skills Summit here organised by industry chamber Ficci. “We cannot ignore the challenges of technologies of the future like artificial intelligence and automation.”
“Our responsibility is to speed up the creation of an ecosystem in which all the workforce being added to the country every year gets a dignified life through a collective effort of all stakeholders,” he added.
Noting from his experience in India how technology is no longer a “high-end” product and has been adopted by the common people, the Minister said the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data did not properly reflect the level of skilling in the country.
“India has 50 crore people in the notified employable age of 15-59 years. Of this, the skilled manpower is just 10 per cent as against 50-90 per cent skilled manpower in the robust urban economies like Germany,” Pradhan said.
“It is not that just 10 per cent of India’s population is skilled. The biggest challenge is to put our records straight on the table,” he added.
In this connection, he recalled the marvellous architectural, engineering and technical skills of ancient India as seen in temple construction, for instance, that had spread to distant parts like Southeast Asia.
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