New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told a gathering of prominent Indian start-up entrepreneurs that the government is keen to work closely with young entrepreneurs in developing a roadmap for growth.
“Policymakers in government are relatively senior. The group I am meeting today is young. I want both to work together for India’s good," Modi told start-up chief executives in the capital.
He said the government was eager to receive suggestions and feedback to create policies that would have a lasting socio-economic impact.
Organized by federal policy think tank NITI Aayog, the ‘Champions of Change’ is the first such attempt to bring entrepreneurs from varied industries in direct dialogue with the government.
“This was the first attempt, the first government-led attempt..." Modi said. “I want this institutionalized and I am open to suggestions on how to make this an yearly affair," Modi said. He urged entrepreneurs working in the same industry to collectively discuss and present suggestions, which he assured would be taken up by the relevant ministry.
Job creation is a priority for the government. Economic Survey-Volume II, released earlier this month, pointed out that the service sector contributed 53.2% to the economy in 2014 in terms of gross value added, but only accounted for 28.6% jobs.
Services employed more than two-thirds of the total workforce in 2014 in all the top 15 service producing countries, except India and China.
According to Abhay Kumar Dubey, a New Delhi-based political analyst, if money is not pumped into farming or if the country does not become a manufacturing hub, the job situation will remain grim. It will be a big crisis for the government in the near future if its fails to answer concerns raised by the unemployed youth, he said.
According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey released earlier this year, over 30% of youth aged 15-29 in India are ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEETs).
‘Not in employment’ refers to those who are not searching for jobs either due to unavailability or because there are no jobs to match their skills.
Modi cited his government’s decision to scrap the need of having documents attested by officials for various purposes as an example of how small ideas can bring major relief to people.
The conclave, which kicked off with a dinner meeting on Wednesday, grouped start-ups on the basis of industries, which then offered suggestions in areas such as innovation and employment.
Some entrepreneurs called for innovation in teacher training, enabling digital access and personalized curriculum to students.
“Today education follows one size fits all approach. If one can make technology personalize education and if each child learns based on his pace level, this will help in solving grassroot problem of students not being at right level," said Pranshu Bhandari, co-founder at Culture Alley, a start-up offering language courses, in a video interview posted by NITI Aayog on Twitter.
Arjun Gupta, chief executive at Smart Joules Pvt. Ltd, which makes energy saving devices for homes, was quoted as saying Indian households and businesses waste at least 20% of the energy they consume. He said with the help of technology and a business model, wastage can be eliminated and jobs created.