Focus on renewables can create 1.5 million jobs in India: ILO report

Sonal Khetarpal   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 15, 2018  | 22:09 IST
Focus on renewables can create 1.5 million jobs in India: ILO report

Employment projections suggest that the net effect on job numbers created in the sustainability sector will be positive.

In India, the transition to a green economy will inevitably cause job losses in certain sectors as carbon- and resource-intensive industries are scaled down. But these will be more than offset by new job opportunities, according to the ILO report World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs.

Measures taken in the production and use of energy, for example, will lead to job losses of around 2,59,000, but it will also create around 3 million jobs.

The net increase of approximately 2.8 million jobs will be the result of the adoption of sustainable practices, including changes in the energy mix, the projected growth in the use of electric vehicles and increases in energy efficiency in existing and future buildings. Regarding the sectoral impact, 1.5 million jobs will be created in the renewables.

This overall net jobs benefit comes with sectoral differences. For India, all sectors except the mining industry will experience an increase in employment. For example, 1.5 million jobs are expected to be created in the renewables sector, 4,66,200 jobs will be created in the construction space and 2,85,200 new jobs are expected in the services industry. To ensure a just transition, efforts to promote the green economy must be accompanied by policies that facilitate the reallocation of workers, advance decent work, offer local solutions and support displaced workers.

For example, public employment programmes have become crucial policy tools that combine economic, social and environmental objectives in support of adaptation and mitigating environmental degradation and climate change. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India is aimed at providing social protection and economic security for rural people in poverty, strengthening drought-proofing and flood management, and empowering marginalised communities. Through the MGNREGA, each rural household is entitled to 100 days of employment a year. People are employed in unskilled manual work such as construction or improvement of community infrastructure or generation of ecosystem services that protect environmental resources. According to the Ministry of Rural Development, 60 per cent of the work hours provided through the programme in 2012 involved water conservation and 12 per cent related to the provision of irrigation facilities.

Environmental sustainability was a central objective of India's Five-Year Plan (2012-17). This Plan led to the creation of the Skills Council for Green Jobs in 2015. The council has already identified skills needs in renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste and water management, and developed 26 courses for occupations in demand such as water treatment plant helper to solar photovoltaic project manager. Private institutions are also involved and have developed 70 courses related to environmental sustainability.

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