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  1. Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of AI and Automation

Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of AI and Automation

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4 min read • Updated: January 31, 2024, 10:20 PM

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The Economic Review explores the impact of AI and automation on India's economy, highlighting both challenges and opportunities. While recognizing the potential for job displacement and income inequalities, it also underscores the transformative benefits in sectors like agriculture and healthcare. The Review emphasizes the need for proactive policy interventions, robust skill development programs, and embracing human-AI collaboration to navigate this complex landscape. By addressing anxieties, investing in skills, and fostering symbiotic relationships, India can leverage AI and automation for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of AI and Automation
World Bank estimates that 69% of jobs in India are at risk of automation (2020).

Key Highlights:

  • The Economic Review recognizes the transformative potential of AI and automation while raising concerns about potential job displacement and inequalities. This article delves deeper into these challenges and opportunities, offering insights for navigating this complex landscape.
  • Drawing on data cited in the Review, we estimate that 87 million jobs in India could be displaced by automation by 2025 (PwC, 2019), while AI could simultaneously boost GDP by 15.7 trillion USD by 2035 (NASSCOM, 2022). This underscores the potential for both disruptions and gains, emphasizing the need for proactive measures.
  • India needs to upskill or reskill 500 million workers by 2030 to stay competitive in the AI-driven economy (NASSCOM, 2022). Proactive policy interventions, robust skill development programs, and embracing human-AI collaboration are crucial for mitigating risks and harnessing the potential of this transformative era.

The Economic Review rightly flags job displacement as a key concern in sectors like manufacturing and data entry, where repetitive tasks dominate. This aligns with the World Bank's estimate that 69% of jobs in India are at risk of automation (2020). The Review further highlights the potential for AI to exacerbate income inequalities, potentially widening the wage gap by 20-40% by 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2017). These anxieties emphasize the need for targeted skilling and reskilling initiatives to ensure smooth transitions and equitable access to opportunities in the AI-driven economy.

The challenge, therefore, lies in mitigating these risks, ensuring equitable access to technological advancements, and equipping individuals with the skills necessary to thrive in this rapidly evolving landscape.

Embracing the Potential

Amidst the anxieties, the report recognizes that AI and automation offer a cornucopia of opportunities for economic growth and human progress. Increased automation in sectors like agriculture can boost productivity by 85% by 2030 (NASSCOM, 2022), potentially transforming the landscape of food security and rural development.

AI-powered diagnostics can significantly improve healthcare delivery, particularly in rural areas, with AI-driven medical imaging expected to contribute to a 90% reduction in misdiagnosis rates by 2030 (Accenture, 2021). Additionally, the rise of new AI-driven industries and job roles, such as data scientists, AI engineers, and robotics specialists, is estimated to create 2 million new jobs in India by 2025 (NASSCOM, 2022), opening up exciting avenues for skilled professionals.

The key lies in identifying these opportunities, nurturing the necessary skillsets through robust training programs, and fostering a culture of lifelong learning to ensure our workforce can capitalize on this impending transformation.

Policy Imperatives and the Human-AI Symbiosis

Preparing for the age of AI necessitates a multi-pronged approach encompassing proactive policy interventions, robust skilling and reskilling initiatives, and a fundamental shift in our perception of human-AI collaboration. Policymakers must prioritize investments in STEM education, digital infrastructure development, and AI-specific skill development programs.

The Indian government's Skill India Mission and the National Education Policy 2020 are positive steps in this direction, but scaling up and tailoring these initiatives to meet the specific needs of the AI-driven economy is crucial. Public-private partnerships and industry-academia collaborations are key to bridging the skills gap and ensuring the timely availability of a qualified workforce.

Furthermore, embracing the transformative potential of human-AI collaboration is vital. Instead of viewing AI as a competitor, we must recognize its ability to augment human capabilities, boosting productivity by 60% in tasks requiring judgment and decision-making (McKinsey Global Institute, 2017). By nurturing this symbiotic relationship, we can unlock the true potential of AI, not just for economic growth, but also for improved quality of life and societal well-being.


The Economic Review positions the arrival of AI and automation as a momentous occasion for India, a crossroads teeming with both challenges and opportunities. Embracing this technological tide with cautious optimism and proactive adaptation is essential. By addressing the anxieties and inequalities head-on, investing in skill development, and fostering a collaborative human-AI relationship, India can leverage this transformative era to achieve inclusive growth, sustainable development, and a brighter future for its workforce.