By Dr. Gyan Pathak
India’s creative economy is large, but its untapped potential is even larger. India therefore must leverage its G20 Presidency to put creative economy concretely on the global agenda.
It is the recommendation of a recent ADBI working paper titled “Creative India: Tapping the full potential” that provides the first reliable measure on the size of India’s creative economy, explores the many challenges faced by the creative industries, and provides recommendations to make India one of the most creative societies in the world.
It is important because the creative economy has become a powerful transformative force in the world today. It is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy in terms of income generation, job creation, and export earnings.
However, since there is no uniform definition of the term, and as it varies by time and space, any estimates related to it are likely to be largely ambiguous and unreliable. This calls for an utmost need to look for a comprehensive and wide-ranging definition of India’s creative economy that will help to provide more reliable estimates on the sector.
Against this backdrop, the present study identifies specific characteristics of the creative economy that are relevant for India based on an in-depth analysis of the various definitions of creative economy provided in the literature. These characteristics are then used to arrive at a definition for India’s creative economy.
With reference to the definition so developed and based on the various approaches used in the literature to measure the creative economy, the study provides one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive estimates on the contribution of India’s creative economy to the country’s overall employment and GVA, using the data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for the years 2017–2018, 2018–2019, and 2019–2020.
It is found that India’s creative economy on average accounted for 8.30% of total employment between 2017–2018 and 2019–2020.Further, it contributed about 20.22% to India’s Gross Value Added during the period.
Interestingly, as compared to the non-creative workforce, a huge 88.42% wage differential in favor of creative workforce is observed. Also, the creative workforce is found to be more urban-centric, younger, and less gender biased as compared to the non-creative workforce.
In terms of spatial concentration of employment, the creative workforce is found to be concentrated in cities, with Tirupur, Mumbai Suburban, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Gurgaon turning out to be the top five creative centers in India.
In terms of industrial concentration, the creative workforce was found to be most highly concentrated in the industries of: (a) Media, Entertainment, and Recreation;(b) Computer Programming and Software Publishing; (c) Architecture, Design, and Engineering; (c) Fashion; and (d) Education and R&D industries.
Based on the findings and consultations with experts and stakeholders, some policy suggestions are then made to support the development of the sector. These include increasing the recognition of Indian culture globally, improving access to finance for this sector, addressing bottlenecks within the country’s IPR framework, and facilitating human capital development among the youth.
While it is important for India to support the sector through domestic policy reforms, its G20 Presidency in 2023 can be a great opportunity to take the lead in driving policy reforms in the sector at a global level.
India’s creative economy—measured bythe number of people working in various creative occupations—is estimated to contribute nearly 8% of the country’s employment, much higher than the corresponding share in Turkey (1%), Mexico (1.5%), the Republic of Korea (1.9%), and even Australia (2.1%).
Creative occupations also pay reasonably well—88% higher than the non-creative ones and contribute about 20% to nation’s overall GVA. Out of the top ten creative districts in India, six are non-metros—Badgam (J&K), Panipat (Haryana), Imphal (Manipur), Sant Ravi Das Nagar (Uttar Pradesh), Thane (Maharashtra), and Tirupur (Tamil Nadu)—indicating the diversity and depth of creativity across India.
Yet, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, India’s creative exports are only one-tenth of those of the People’s Republic of China.
To develop the creative economy to realize its full potential, it recommends that Indian policymakers should- (i) increase the recognition of Indian culture globally; (ii) facilitate human capital development among its youth; (iii) address the bottlenecks in the Intellectual Property (IP) framework; (iv) improve access to finance; and (v) streamline the process of policymaking by establishing one intermediary organization.
India should take note of the developments of late that the creative economy has become a critical component of the agendas of almost every G20 presidency. Saudi Arabia in 2020 was the first to recognize and acknowledge the cultural and creative industries as key drivers of inclusive and sustainable economic development. Subsequently, the issue was carried forward during the Italian G20 presidency in 2021 and was firmly placed on the agenda. Indonesia, which was assuming the G20 presidency in 2022, had also emphasized the role of the creative economy sector in promoting sustainable development. As India has assumed the G20 presidency beginning December 2022, it is important that it leverages this opportunity to concretely place creative economy on its agenda. (IPA Service)