Because India has been an agrarian economy, ‘green jobs’ have long existed in the country. However, the phenomena of green jobs attracted the attention of academia and policy makers after initiatives of UNEP and ILO and the publication of the report on “Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low Carbon World”.
A green job (in context of India) helps bring about and maintain a transition to environmentally sustainable forms of production and consumption. A country can adopt a model of a green economy for development if entire job domains become green.
Initially, India began to prepare to undertake necessary planning, including legal regulations and skill mapping for initiating green jobs generations in a select few industries including brick making, tanneries, agriculture, MSMEs, energy sector, water and sanitation, green buildings, fuel, and foundries. It then slowly expanded its coverage to more formal sectors that included steel plants, power plants, emissions cap programs, coal phase out plan, and subsequently to thermal power plants.
Meanwhile, the sector cleaned up much of their systems and value chains generating more than 20% of over 500,000 new green jobs globally in 2017 (https://scroll.in/article/936135/creating-green-jobs-could-help-address-both-unemployment-and-environmental-degradation-in-india). Lately, in order to double down on the generation of green jobs, the Government has taken comprehensive measures to green the economy from supporting low carbon transport fuel to e-mobility to large scale solar power production to a coal phase out plan. India has also launched one of the world’s largest skills mapping, training, and support systems in order to train 150 million people in newly generated green jobs as per national standards by a new statutory body in public-private mode called Skill Council for Green Jobs (https://sscgj.in/). It is further estimated that the economy will add additional green jobs in tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, railways, and other transport areas according to ILO’s Skills for Green Jobs in India (2018) (http://www.oit.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_706945.pdf).
At the enterprise level, green jobs can produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment, for example green buildings or clean transportation. However, these green outputs (products and services) are not always based on green production processes and technologies. Therefore, green jobs can also be distinguished by their contribution to more environmentally friendly processes. For example, green jobs can reduce water consumption or improve recycling systems. Yet, green jobs defined through production processes do not necessarily produce environmental goods or services. Green jobs are central to sustainable development and respond to the global challenges of environmental protection, economic development and social inclusion. Greening of enterprises, workplace practices and the labour market as a whole can be achieved by engaging governments, workers, and employers as active agents of change. These efforts create employment opportunities, enhance resource efficiency, and build low-carbon sustainable societies.
The Green Jobs scope covers the entire gamut of “Green Businesses” through renewable energy, energy storage, green construction, green transportation, carbon sinks, solid waste management, water management and e-waste management and hence would have widespread impact across India. Green Businesses would encompass all forms of renewable electricity/fuels, municipal/farm waste and urban/rural water management, green construction, green transport and carbon sinks.
Keeping in view India’s ratification of the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the Indian INDC brings a huge responsibility on the country and equal opportunities before green business and poses skilled manpower requirement towards creation of a Green Economy. The Green Economy is no longer an aspirational phrase but a compelling way of sustainable living, driven by widely accepted concerns over environment, climate change, water, and waste and having an articulated road map in the form of INDC’s as part of the Paris Agreement.
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The growing Indian economy is taking a toll on the natural resources. Many sectors directly linked with economic growth are also natural resource intensive, and therefore balancing economic growth and environmental impact will remain a major challenge for the country. Most of metropolitan cities still fall in the category of the “Polluted Cities” according to the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The tradeoffs between development and the environment will be crucial going forward.
Green jobs are key contributors to preserve or restore the environment, be that in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, or services such as audit and rating of green activities. It would be in the long term interest of the country that it undertakes necessary efforts that balances the development and growth with that of environmental sustainability laced with efforts to generate green jobs, going forward.
Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar,
Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Indian Government, New Delhi
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Tel: +91-11-23717515/ 23710240
Post submitted by Climate Scorecard India Manager Pooran Chandra Pandey