This is in reference to the reports about RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s views on rising concerns of the middle-class populace on losing their jobs to robots. The rapid proliferation of cutting-edge technology is making the need for manual labour redundant. Mr. Rajan was spot on in equating the rise in technology as inversely proportional to employment prospects for the middle class, but directly proportional to the ambitions and aspirations for professionals in hi-tech sectors. The answer in my opinion is twofold: Sacrifice and education.
Unfortunately, the current working population from the middle class may have to sacrifice their hopes for any reprieve from the current technological onslaught, unless they take the initiative and equip themselves with the necessary knowhow and practical knowledge in the concerned matters. A radical change is possible only when one is self-driven, and not reliant on the assistance from people in power. Case in point: NAAM foundation. However, I think such a change is easier said than done, which brings me to the second part of the probable solution, viz. education.
Education in India needs to be research driven. Just like everything, the concept of education should also change. It shouldn’t merely reflect the ruminations of some authors that documented their findings about 50 years ago. The culture of research should be imparted to children from an early age, and not be made to wait until they reach the Ph.D. stage of their lives. Only research can help equip the next generation of the middle-class to align their intellect and capability with the need of the hour, howsoever advanced that need may be. It’s knowledge gained from research that can help today’s budding middle-class population become tomorrow’s technologically driven force in shaping the country’s economy. This also calls for a radical change in the education system of ours, which sadly relies more on rote learning than simply learning.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)