The threat of automation taking away jobs may be coming to India much earlier than expected. Close on the heels of reports that automation would reduce employment opportunities in the software sector, here comes a news that shows the manufacturing sector is not far behind too.
According to media reports, textile major Raymond is planning to slash 10,000 jobs at its various manufacturing units in the next three years, and induct robots and use technology instead. The company has 30,000 staff across 16 units, according to a report in The Economic Times.
"Through technological intervention we are looking to scale down the number of jobs to 20,000, through multiple initiatives in technology," The Economic Times report quoted Raymond CEO Sanjay Behl as saying. According to him one robot can replace around 100 workers.
Globally, there have been concerns over automation or robots taking away jobs. Experts like Martin Ford has even warned of a jobless future (The Economist article). However, there was perception that the threat of robotics or automation killing jobs in India may not be as real as it is in developed countries or China.
However, a few days back reports suggested that private banks in India are looking at using the services of robots. ICICI Bank recently announced that services of robots would be used to perform tasks such as generating customer IDs, updating addresses and mobile numbers, resolving ATM-related queries, etc.
“Currently, about 10 percent of our internal transactions are being carried out via the software robots and by the end of this year, we believe, this will go up to 20 percent of our transactions," a recent Business Standard report said quoting Chanda Kochhar, managing director & chief executive officer, ICICI Bank.
Last month, the country's second-largest private banking entity HDFC Bank, too, said it would soon introduce a robot at one of its Mumbai branch.
HDFC Bank had said over the next few weeks it would launch a robot under the project called AI (artificial intelligence) for which the first product is ready for deployment.
In short, the threat is clear and present. At least that is what Raymond's plan is indicating.