Creating jobs won’t be enough to curb inequality in India, Narayana Murthy explains how to deal with this menace
The country needs to focus on creating jobs that give a reasonable income to tackle the issue of inequality, Infosys co-founder and chairman emeritus N R Narayana Murthy said on Sunday. He also emphasised on shifting more number of people from agriculture, where the per capita GDP income is low, to low-tech manufacturing and services, where the income levels are comparatively better. “The only way you can reduce inequality in a country like India is through creation of jobs, and creation of jobs with reasonable income,” Murthy said while addressing a techfest organised by IIT Bombay through a video conferencing.
In India, nearly 58 per cent or about 650 million people depend on agriculture, which contributes only 14 per cent to the GDP, he said. “In other words, if the per capita income of an Indian is USD 2,000, those working in agriculture it is hardly USD 500 per year because these 58 per cent people contribute only 14 per cent of the GDP,” the IT industry veteran said.
These USD 500 per year translates into around USD 1.5 per day or Rs 100 per day, in which these people have to eat, take care of health, educate their children and pay rent, among others, Murthy said. “Therefore, poverty in India is absolutely huge. The only way you can improve is by moving people from agriculture to low-tech services and manufacturing, where, hopefully, we should be able to get them somewhere around USD 1,500 to 2,000 per year,” Murthy said. “Unfortunately, our country has not been successful in doing that because our infrastructure is very poor and the state governments do not understand the problems and they have not made the life easier for entrepreneurs to get into low-tech manufacturing and services,” he added. Murthy also said there is a need to improve agriculture productivity by using more and more technologies.
He also advised the country’s IT companies to focus on innovations to improve, quality, provide better value to customers and encourage their employees to embrace new ideas which will start giving opportunities in the next 10-15 years.