The CMIE jobs data is erroneous, says TV Mohandas Pai, while maintaining that the best metric to gauge job creation in India is the EPFO payroll data. (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News)

India Has A Wage Problem, Not Job Problem, Says TV Mohandas Pai

Infosys Ltd.’s former chief financial officer TV Mohandas Pai believes India doesn't have a job problem, but one of wages, as a lot of low-paying jobs being created do not find favour with degree holders.

"India is not producing good jobs, but creating a lot of Rs 10,000- Rs 15,000 low-paying jobs which are not fancied by degree holders. India has a wage problem, not a job problem," he said.

According to him, India should adopt the China model of opening up labour-intensive industries and building infrastructure near coasts, besides investing heavily in hi-tech research and development to meet the aspirations of job seekers.

"We should look at what China has done. They first opened up the labour-intensive industry, invited the rest of the world to come and use its labour, and started an export industry. We have not incentivised labour-intensive industries. We don't have proper policies, so we cannot use our surplus labour," he said.

"Thirdly, China built infrastructure near the coasts so that infrastructure and supply chain comes down. We have not built infrastructure around the coasts," Pai added.

The former Infosys CFO said the India unemployment data put out by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018 was erroneous. "There are flaws in the survey methodology for unemployment in the age group of 15-29 years," he said. Pai said the best India jobs data was the EPFO payroll data, which says 60-70 lakh people get formal jobs every year.

Even vehicle sales throw light on the job situation in India, Pai said, adding that every year 30-35 lakh people get jobs after discounting vehicle purchases.

"For example, India buys about seven lakh tractors, six lakh autorickshaws, 7.5 lakh trucks every year. As many as 28 lakh cars are bought, of which 5 lakh may require drivers. The drivers create 30-35 lakh jobs every year," he said.

Bloomberg Quint

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