EV industry can reshape Indian employment landscape with green jobs

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

The EV industry could generate 10 million direct jobs and an additional 50 million indirect jobs by 2030, highlighting its potential to reshape the employment landscape in India.

Potential of EV in India:

  • India is the world’s third-largest automotive market, and is gradually transitioning towards a greener and more environmentally sustainable future. 
  • The industry is poised for phenomenal growth with the Indian EV market expected to reach $100 billion by 2030.

Policies and schemes promoting EVs in India:

  • The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) represents one of the initial steps towards decarbonisation, supported by various schemes such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) I and II on the demand side and production-linked incentives (PLI) on the supply side. 
  • The newly introduced Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme and the scheme to promote the manufacturing of electric passenger cars in India further promise to boost adoption and manufacturing in the EV and ancillary industries.
  • An increasing number of states have also introduced their own EV policies, outlining incentives and schemes. 
    • Some industrial incentives target vehicle manufacturers, battery producers, and ancillary companies, while others focus on skill development, employment generation, and research and development.

What are the green jobs the EV sector offers?

  • With the rising demand across the entire EV value chain, including manufacturing, servicing, repair, maintenance, and recycling, there is a broad scope for jobs in manufacturing and assembly, after-sales services, charging infrastructure installation and operations, engineering design/re-design and research and development. 
  • While some job transitions from internal combustion engine (ICE) to EVs have occurred, new positions have also emerged. 
    • These roles demand technical skill sets and training, and despite some shared components and processes between ICE and EV, the skill sets are often not interchangeable. 
    • An analysis of Mapping skills in the EV and ICE sectors reveals that out of 35 EV-related job categories, only a third require skill sets similar to those required in the ICE sector. 
    • This underscores the need for continuous upskilling and reskilling of the existing EV workforce.

How to build these jobs in EV industry:

While state-wide and centrally implemented policy interventions are ensuring the creation of jobs within the EV industry, the pace is slow, and the supply of the workforce is insufficient to meet the demands of the job market. 

Therefore, a slew of measures are suggested for creating more jobs in the EV sector.

  • By the nature of the industry, all jobs within this sector could easily be labelled as green jobs. However, for them to truly be green, an equally important aspect of being decent and sustainable is required.
  • Examples from countries like China and Germany, coincidentally, leading both in EV markets and EV manufacturing. They have prioritised skilling and training as essentials in their policies. 
  • Examples of skilling of workforce:
    • Germany:
      • Germany has been a pioneer in concepts like learning on the job and work-based learning, with programmes like the dual system of vocational education and training already in place. 
      • The government has been supporting the e-mobility transition by investing in re-education and training programmes (€1.7 billion = ₹154 billion was budgeted for 2023 for training programmes across all sectors by the German Federal Employment Agency). 
      • For EVs specifically Germany established a national platform for enabling dialogues at the state and national levels and a national fund to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) reposition themselves for the EV industry. 
      • Industry is also playing its part, with the automotive leader BMW launching an extensive, multimillion euro training initiative focused on electrics and electronics, data analytics, and artificial intelligence while expanding its global vocational training programme to include courses on the Internet of Things and augmented reality.
    • China: 
      • China has been able to meet the demand for skilled workers by the electric car and semiconductor manufacturing industries through a vocational training push. 
      • Back in 2019, the country called for 300 business entities to provide or sponsor training and also created a nationally recognised skills certification framework.
      • Corporate partnership between academia and industry has been another measure to tackle the increasing demand for skilled high-tech workers in China. 
      • The launch of the BYD Field Engineer College in 2023 in collaboration with vocational schools in Henan province of Zhengzhou, which is home to a new BYD factory, is a testament to this initiative.

Here are a few things that India could also do to boost its share of jobs in the electric mobility sector:  

  • Educate: 
    • Many academic institutions, like Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras, and Delhi Technical University, among others, have begun offering MTech courses on electric mobility. 
      • Similarly, there are educational institutions with incubation facilities for startups focusing on the design and development of EVs and their components. 
    • Moreover, industry-academia linkages can be strengthened by providing incentives and support for design ideas to progress to the product development phase. 
      • Across the country, various skilling programmes are underway through the National Skill Development Corporation via the Skill Council for Green Jobs, the Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), and the Skill India Portal. 
  • Encourage: 
    • Green jobs are integral to the impact economy and should be promoted as rewarding career opportunities where professionals can “do well” for themselves and simultaneously “do good” for the planet.
  • Localise: 
    • Localisation of vehicle manufacturing as well as allied industries, including battery manufacturing, battery recycling, charging solution development, and motor and controller design, is a robust avenue for creating new job roles and providing localised employment opportunities across the entire EV ecosystem. 
    • The new EV policy introduced alone offers a Rs 1,740.7 crore ($1.2 billion) localisation opportunity for EV component manufacturers.
  • Engender (Women related issues): 
    • Like in any other green industry, female workforce participation in the EV industry is presently abysmal. 
    • In most cases, however, women have to struggle to enter male-dominated jobs such as E3W drivers, on shop floors, in operations and maintenance, or as business owners — due to societal perceptions and gendered roles dictating what women can and cannot do. 
    • Initiative to promote women in EV ecosystem:
      • Bengaluru has initiated an all-women fleet of electric three-wheeler (E3W) drivers at metro stations to provide last-mile connectivity. The programme, called Low Emission Access to Public Transport, aims to empower women and integrate them into the urban mobility discourse.
      • The We-Hub initiative in Telangana promotes women’s entrepreneurship, including in the EV and automotive sectors. 
      • Centre’s public policy think tank NITI Aayog has also created a women entrepreneurship platform, which provides support and resources for women entrepreneurs.

Way Forward:

  • The surge in demand for skilled labour EV industry is a quarry of opportunities for India, given its obvious demographic strengths and historical legacy in automotive skilling.  
  • The country has a chance to strategically plug the gap in workforces around the world at this moment of automotive flux.

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