India’s hiring outlook is exhibiting a positive trajectory in 2022. In fact, the job market has remained unaffected by inflation in the 1st quarter of the year. While the opportunities for the white-collar workforce are vast, the hiring scenario in rural India possesses immense potential for growth. Going forward, the green energy sector is expected to contribute towards generating employment in rural areas in a big way.
The present scenario of green livelihood in India
The renewable energy sector employed 7 million people globally last year and India accounted for a 7% share of the same. India is currently at the 4th position when it comes to the overall installed renewable energy capacity. With policies promoting renewable energy actively, it is expected to emerge as a leader in the times to come.
Employment in rural areas is already being generated at the organizational and administration levels. Small, off-grid renewable energy sources are outsourcing solar or wind farms not only for producing energy but also for creating jobs in rural India.
For instance, as a part of the State’s Government initiative, approximately 4000 women across villages in Uttar Pradesh are earning livelihood by spinning yarn using solar charkhas. Furthermore, India had added over 10 GW of solar PV recently and contributed significantly to generating installation jobs.
The surge in clean energy jobs in rural India
Employment in green energy, especially in the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector is mostly concentrated in the rural parts of the country. In 2021, this sector provided employment to thousands of workers in rural India and the employment scenario in this segment seems to be on a progressive pathway.
It offers a chance to generate more jobs per megawatt of energy addition in the future and will further catalyse green jobs in the country, especially in rural areas. 89,000 jobs are expected to be created by 2023 and this throws light on the promising future of the green energy sector in rural parts of the country.
According to a combined study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, National Research Development Corporation and Skill Council for Green Jobs, India’s renewable energy sector would employ 1 million people by 2030,leapfrogging ten times against the current workforce of 1.1 lakh employed by the sector. The research highlights that most of the new jobs will be generated by small-scale renewable energy projects such as rooftop solar and mini & micro-grid systems.
The promising future of the green energy sector in rural India
As per projections, the energy demand in India will increase significantly in the times to come, surpassing other countries due to the sector’s size and its immense growth potential. Our country is also the fastest-growing market in the renewable sector and by 2026, new capacity additions will double. In the wake of this growth, employment is also expected to grow rapidly.
The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) released a draft framework policy early this year for DRE livelihood applications. The main objective of this initiative is to increase the decentralized and distributed renewable energy supply, especially in rural areas. This growth in demand will lead to the creation of new jobs in rural India across the fields of operations, maintenance, installation and manufacturing.
Government’s support: An imperative for boosting green energy jobs in rural India
The government’s support is indeed required for the green energy sector to grow and generate employment in rural India. Steps such as encouraging farmers to reduce the usage of expensive diesel-running generators for irrigation of fields and public health centres having access to round-the-clock electricity would drive more employment. People will be able to earn while living in their area, without relocating to another city for livelihood.
An equal amount of attention towards upskilling the rural workforce is also important. Currently, vocational, mechanical and technical training are the pre-requisites for securing jobs in the green energy sector. Hence, initiatives such as targeting rural areas for clean energy skill development programmes, regularly updating training curriculums and offering hands-on training on emerging technologies are essential to cater to the talent-skill gap in the green energy sector.
The bottom line
The clean energy market is already creating jobs across divisions and roles in rural India. However, Government support is crucial for rural dwellers to understand the scope of employment offered by this sector. There is also a need to launch initiatives at a pan India level to promote the concept of DRE in rural areas. Furthermore, providing training is essential to upskill the workforce and make them job-ready for a progressive renewable energy sector in the coming years.