Indian government turns to retired people to tackle skills gap

The Indian government is considering recruiting and hiring retired people for part-time work, consulting jobs and mentorship positions in sectors including education and healthcare that are experiencing staffing shortages, according to report in the Economic Times.

A senior official said the government was examining measures that encourage businesses to employ retirees through part-time work arrangements and flexible retirement age policies.

Other measures, including a minimum wage framework based on experience for those over a certain age, phased retirement and changes to roles and responsibilities are also being considered.

“India is ageing quickly, and the government is looking at how we can use the experience of our elderly while making sure jobs for younger generations are not jeopardised,” said the official.

The United Nations projects that, by 2050, the number of Indians aged over 60 will double and account for nearly 19.6% of the country’s total population.

Other countries with ageing populations, including Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, are also focusing on how best to use the professional experience of their older workers, including those past the age of professional retirement.

EU’s carbon tariff set to hit in October

The Indian government is analysing the financial cost the European Union’s (EU) Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will bring.

The sustainability initiative starts in October 2023, and is likely to impact seven exported products whose production is carbon intensive – iron, steel, aluminium, cement, electricity, hydrogen and fertilisers, said Santosh Kumar Sarangi, Director General of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

However, he said that efforts would be made to exempt certain sectors of the industry from the carbon tax.

While the EU will begin levying the tax on imports on January 1, 2026, the Indian government will work with the 27-country bloc to make the transition as seamless as possible, a senior government official said.

“The government does not view the carbon tax as an environmental issue, but rather as a trade issue. It has voiced opposition to it at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well, but the industry must be prepared for the new regime in order for exports to proceed unhindered,” the official added.

The CBAM will impose a tax on goods imported into the EU from regions where production-stage carbon emissions are higher than those allowed by the mechanism’s rules.

Beginning on October 1 2023, CBAM will move into the transitional phase. Importers of the seven products that will initially be subject to this tax will only need to report the greenhouse gas emissions that are already present in their imports during this time, and no payments or adjustments will need to be made.

The proposed tax will gradually be expanded to include finished goods as well. The tax will be calculated taking into account all emissions generated to produce any of the goods on the carbon tax list.

The EU claims that the tax will level the playing field between domestic producers and importers, which can generally provide cheaper products because they have less stringent carbon emission regulations in their home countries.

The Indian government official said that the CBAM will eventually add 20%–35% to the cost of India’s exports to the EU, adding that the government will push the EU for mutual recognition of emission certifications and acceptance of its Carbon Credit Trading Scheme (CCTS), which is being developed by the Ministry of Power.

If India’s CCTS is approved, the price of credits on the Indian carbon exchange – rather than the price of credits on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) – will be used to calculate the tax payment for emissions that exceed the threshold.

“India is addressing the issue at both the bilateral and multilateral levels to prevent harm to our industry. Bilaterally, we are asking the EU to have a mutual recognition agreement with us and make an exception for MSMEs when the carbon tax on products goes into effect,” said the official.