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India is the least among the most vulnerable countries

2021-07-19 11:00:02

(This story originally appeared in . on 19 July 2021)

India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are the countries most at risk, but the least prepared for the coming wave of automation generated by COVID.

A study by Deloitte and global software firm Autodesk showed that Indian businesses ranked fifth among 12 Asia Pacific (APAC) countries for automation risk and ninth for preparedness level. It added that India is more likely to be affected by automation due to a large share of employment in agriculture, manufacturing and construction. Also, industries that are considered to be at low risk of automation—namely education, public administration and finance—contain only 7% of India’s total employment.

India’s readiness score, which measures countries’ ability to capitalize on automation and help disadvantaged workers, was 44% compared to the APAC average of 55%. Australia got the highest score of 72%, while Pakistan got the lowest 40%. India scored 47% in its ability to capitalize on automation, compared to advanced technology adopters in APAC such as Singapore, which scored 71%.

As India’s construction sector undergoes a wave of digitization after the pandemic, it is the fifth most vulnerable, ahead of Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar and the Philippines.

Similarly, in agriculture, India, the Philippines and Indonesia have greater potential for automation in the sector, even though Pakistan’s agricultural sector was at the highest risk of impact from automation.

India’s mining sector has the second highest risk of impact from automation after Bangladesh. The study noted that the sector’s vulnerability to automation stems from its relatively low skill requirements, its high levels of routine and manual tasks, and the use of direct physical activity to operate machinery.

As COVID-19 accelerates the adoption of automation around the world, nearly half of all APAC businesses intend to adopt robotic process automation next year, the report found.

“Automation creates opportunities for new, more meaningful types of work as it replaces mundane or repetitive manual tasks, but the state of readiness of countries and industries will determine whether they benefit from these advances in digital. Improving literacy, supporting disadvantaged workers, and setting up the right infrastructure and skills will help create new roles into which workers can transition,” said Rajiv Mittal, regional director, India and SAARC, Autodesk.

The study analyzed the labor markets of 12 APAC countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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