Fourth Industrial Revolution and India

Fourth Industrial Revolution and India

This blog, “Fourth Industrial Revolution and India” is by Jatin Singh.
The fourth industrial revolution was discussed at the world economic forum recently. There are people who believe that we are at the cusp of the revolution while others feel that it is a distant imagination. Indians are no different. Indian skeptics would argue that most of India has not even witnessed the second and third revolutions and hence discussing the fourth revolution is only an academic exercise. In this ‘Information Age’ flow of information and knowledge is fast. Hence our lives will get affected by it faster than we think, irrespective of where we reside. It thus makes sense to prepare for it.
 

Industrial Revolutions

  • First revolution was about the usage of steam/water for the inventions and caused the growth of textile and coal industries.
  • Second industrial revolution continued by expanding usage of electricity, petroleum and steel.
  • Third industrial revolution was about advancement in technology in the context of IT, electronics and automated production.
  • Fourth  revolution is about cyber-physical systems. This revolution will upgrade the automation work to an extent that human work will be minimized. The fourth industrial revolution builds upon the first three industrial revolutions.
Pros:
  1. Productivity – The productivity would tend to increase as manufacturing and supervision will be greatly automated.
  2. Economy – High production will have a positive effect on the world economy.
Cons:
  1. There will be a large number of workers who will not be needed as they will be replaced by machines & robots. Rise in unemployment is a real challenge.
  2. The backward regions of the world will find it difficult to match the industrial products, agricultural products and services of the developed regions in terms of quality, low cost and other parameters. Such economies will suffer in the integrated world.

How should India prepare for Fourth Industrial Revolution?

On one hand there will be high rise in productivity, while on the other hand there will be massive job losses. India already has a low employment rate and with the arrival of the fourth revolution, employment avenues will reduce.
India should prepare for it by:

  1. Investing in manufacturing sector – If robots and machines are to replace human workers, then government must make sure that the manufacturing of those robots and machinery is done indigenously.
  2. It is apparent that large work forces will be replaced by smart machines in agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors. As the revolution sets in newer jobs, which have not been contemplated are likely to get created. Work forces would need to enhance their knowledge and skills to remain relevant in the future. Thus this is the area on which the government and the corporate must start working upon. ‘Skill India’ makes sense for the future.

 

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