Is Jammu and Kashmir ready to Take Lead in Technology Adoption and change its future?

Sanjay Sapru

Sanjay Sapru

 Sanjay Sapru is a technocrat with over 20 years of experience in the marketplace having proficiency in development, management, and business skills. As a son of the soil, Jammu & Kashmir is close to his heart and therefore he is very keen on setting up symbols of development in Jammu & Kashmir in order to reduce unemployment. The views expressed are his own.


Indian Planning Commission (Now NITI Aayog) reasoned slow growth in the region and attributed it to various factors. It said the climate of armed militancy in Kashmir and low productivity in agriculture and allied sectors has impeded employment and income generation. Poor industrial infrastructure along with the poor investment climate has left the industrial sector in its infant stage. It mentioned that there has not been a suitable strategy for the potential sectors to achieve higher economic growth. It further mentioned that the lack of good governance and sound fiscal management has also been responsible for the poor economic growth of the state.

Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures, started J&K has a 21.6 percent unemployment rate, which is the worst among states/Union Territories in India. The CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 6.9 percent which means J&K has a much higher unemployment rate than the national average. To keep in pace with Main Land India Jammu Kashmir has to take drastic steps in Technology adoptions.

Rapid technology advancements will also help India’s less-educated workers leapfrog to productive work. Technology has been reshaping the labor force since the Industrial Revolution, but a more fundamental disruption is on the cards. In the past, machines took over tasks that were largely manual, forcing workers to adapt and learn new skills to carry out higher-value tasks. But now, the intelligence of computing machines is adequate to perform work that requires specialized knowledge or cognitive and judgment-based abilities. Will India’s large, young population – its demographic dividend – turn into a demographic disaster as millions of workers are displaced by technology?

Research has shown the Impact of 12 technologies (including the mobile internet, cloud computing, the automation of knowledge work, digital payments, verifiable digital identity and the Internet of Things) and concludes that, indeed, the application of these technologies will force millions of workers to acquire new skills, as the jobs they perform are rendered obsolete. Yet, rapid advancements in the same technologies will create new opportunities for millions of workers, including many less-skilled ones, and help them raise their incomes.

Globally, the automation of knowledge work, or machine learning and intelligent applications, can generate a 40 to 50 percent productivity gain in work that involves processing data and information, interacting with customers or making decisions. In India, we estimate that automation and digitization across sectors could drive productivity improvements equivalent to the output of some 19 million to 29 million workers in 2025 . These workers cut across functions such as clerical and customer service, business process outsourcing and information technology, as well as those in manufacturing supply chains, the construction sector, and workers engaged in retail trade and transportation.

The overall impact on net job creation could, however, be neutral to positive as technology opens new geographical markets and under-served segments of consumers. But the labor market will adjust to fill potential jobs only if workers are equipped to shift to the more value-added work.

Education and skill-building systems need to be up to meeting this challenge. Technology itself can provide solutions.Skill-building courses can be made available— short online modules that workers can take at frequent intervals, focusing on what employers need and are willing to pay for. Adaptive learning systems that customize lessons according to how each student performs, simulated learning that uses technology to impart vocational skills.

Technology-enabled labor marketplaces help better matching of jobs and skills, creating millions of micro-entrepreneurs.As digital technologies achieve mass adoption, India’s legions of small-scale, unorganized and independent service providers can use the internet to reach new customers, establish their reputations, collaborate with others, and get more work.

Project-based or piecemeal work assignments could be funneled to technology-based aggregators representing large numbers of professionals such as designers, tax specialists or teachers who want part-time or temporary employment. Certified service providers (such as trained and licensed electricians, nurses, or taxi drivers) could connect with customers and find decent-paying work.

Rapid technology advancements will also help India’s less-educated workers leapfrog to productive work. Advancements in voice, language, and graphical interfaces will make complex knowledge and expertise available to workers on inexpensive hand-held devices that are easy to navigate. Even a semi-skilled person could become a knowledge-enabled worker in fields such as health care, financial services and logistics, or functions such as marketing and inventory planning, with just a few weeks of basic training in using these tools. Such workers can be deployed in local communities to deliver essential services. Several factors must fall in place to improve the odds so that technology becomes a positive force for the labor market on a large scale.

Partnerships need to flourish, for instance, between technology companies, domain experts who can impart skills (such as agricultural universities or colleges of alternative medicine) and organizations with grass-roots experience. Standards and certification systems must evolve to help build mutual trust between customers and service providers in order to clear the market and in addition to high-speed internet access, the widespread use of digital payments and verifiable digital identity will be essential to ensure that workers end up as winners in the race against technology.

While Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir need to plan in advance for this change and take the Lead, in my opinion the key task for the UT Government is to get youth Skilled and drive self-entrepreneurship culture in them.UT can solve their big unemployment problem and make the youth employable if the technology is implemented rightly with time-bound actionable tasks.

The Skilled youth can act as one of the vital factors to transform the Union Territory economically which will lead to Peace and Prosperity & Make MODI’S – NAYA-KASHMIR Reality.