To mark the start of 2020, Mint has been inviting policy makers, thought leaders and heads of corporate to share five ideas that will impact the decade ahead. Keshav Murugesh, chairman, NASSCOM, tells Nandita Mathur

Society as a human-centered reality

That technology will continue to emerge and disrupt business and markets is a given. Into 2020 and beyond, we must channelize technology as a cornerstone for this interesting concept called Society 5.0. Look at society as a human-centered reality with a sustainable blend of economic and social progress, and technology cyberspace and the human physical space. Let us enable society as a whole, to leap into the Intelligence period.

Create more employment

No, humans will not be replaced by machines. Artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and intelligence, and other emerging technologies will provide a plethora of choices in medical care, in agricultural production and distribution to eliminate hunger, in autonomous transportation (including automated drone technology) for logistics. Sensors, robots and automated systems will enable infrastructure to predict requirements, safeguard risks and enhance efficiency. Environment-friendly technology will fulfill energy requirements. And employment opportunities in these areas will boom.

Improve access to tech

Access must be the primary strategy. Deliver digital technologies at micro-levels across locations to positively impact everyday life and activities. Focus on the ease of connecting, collaborating, transacting, and information-sharing. Create value across all sectors with simpler and robust data ecosystems. Ensure data is efficiently aggregated, processed and transformed into cutting-edge intelligence in real-time. In short, make it a future where people and technology leverage each other to drive infrastructural, economic and social needs.

Raise skill-building

Create incentives for workers to voluntarily invest in capabilities. Effectively leverage Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and apprenticeship interventions to give employers the right employment-generating information that make vast numbers of informal workers employable. More than 120 million Indian women with secondary education do not participate in the workforce . With just 33 percent of the workforce possessing secondary education, leverage this base for boosting future skills. Incentivize more women to make women enter and want to continue to work.

Priority for entrepreneurship

Evolve the agenda. Move the needle of tech-driven entrepreneurship beyond incubation initiatives into bigger league levels – in size, revenues and employment potential. Accelerate the startup’s journey to becoming unicorns. Promote mass entrepreneurship, where millions of local businesses hire local people, deploy local inputs and serve local needs. It will create an inverted employment funnel – starting with mass employment, and then motivation to learn and upskill.

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