India looks to factories to create 100 mln new jobs

NEW DELHI, October 25, 2011 (AFP) – India’s government approved Tuesday a policy to boost the nation’s underdeveloped manufacturing sector, aiming to slash red tape and create special zones for firms in a drive to create 100 million jobs. Manufacturing accounts for just 16 percent of India’s agriculture-dependent economy, which is “a cause of concern,” the cabinet said in a statement after meeting.

Under the new National Manufacturing Policy, the government hopes to reduce the regulatory burden on companies, create “manufacturing zones” on unused infertile land and promote “green” technologies.

The over-arching aim of the legislative framework is to create 100 million additional jobs by 2022.

“Inadequate physical infrastructure, a complex regulatory environment and a shortage of skilled manpower have constrained the growth of manufacturing so far,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said at a news conference.

No specific details were given about how the policy would achieve its objectives.

“With over 220 million people estimated to join the workforce in the next decade, the manufacturing sector will have to create gainful employment for at least half this number,” said the cabinet statement.