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Home arrow News arrow Education and training arrow Entrepreneurship to drive Indian economy: National Knowledge Commission
Entrepreneurship to drive Indian economy: National Knowledge Commission Print E-mail
Written by Anand   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Skills development a crucial aspect, says Pitroda

NEW DELHI - The key drivers of the Indian growth story since the reforms movement was introduced have been innovation and entrepreneurship, said Dr Ashok Ganguly, member of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and Chairman Firstsource and ABP Pvt Ltd.

Speaking at a Session on Entrepreneurship and Recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today, Dr Ganguly said that while these were the silver linings of the Indian growth story, the lack of skills development was a worrying factor.

He said that contrary to popular perception, entrepreneurship was a countrywide phenomenon and it was this that would propel the future Indian growth story. Here, Dr Ganguly said that it was for the industry to step forward and initiate steps to promote skills. The government, he said, could only be a facilitator and not a deliverer.

In this regard, he pointed to a NKC study on ‘Entrepreneurship in India’, which outlined that one in three entrepreneurs found it difficult to find candidates with the right skills. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) submitted its report on entrepreneurship to the government recently, stressing on the need to enhance entrepreneurship for employment generation and wealth creation.

The NKC study points out that if the local ‘best business practices’ as seen among today’s entrepreneurs were implemented on nationwide scale, India could substantially improve its ranking as a business destination. Amongst the recommendations of the study are facilitation of information flow by developing handbooks on entrepreneurship, help in access to early-stage finance and establishment of secondary markets.

The entrepreneurship study also found that most entrepreneurs have to self-finance their dream projects; that information is not readily available to them; that a majority of entrepreneurs are undergraduates; and that the government is extremely unhelpful to entrepreneurs.

Dr Ganguly’s concerns on lack on skill development were also evident in the address by the NKC Chairman, Mr Sam Pitroda. Pointing out that Indian had the potential to become the workforce supplier to the world, he said that “in the next few decades, India will probably have the largest set of young people in the world. Given this demographic advantage, we are optimally positioned to leapfrog in the race for social and economic development."

He also voiced concern that the NKC was a unique effort that seeks to give the country the “knowledge edge”, ensuring that our country becomes a leader in the creation, application and dissemination of knowledge. “Education and skills development is therefore critical if India is to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend.”

Mr Pitroda bemoaned the lack of awareness about the Commission’s activities and said that while “there are many critics, there is little constructive criticism.”

He said that while everyone agreed that development was taking place, what was important was that we “substantially scale up its pace, both in education and vocational training, if we are not to be left behind. We can no longer look at growth rates of 5-10 per cent, a quantum leap is what is required,”

In his welcome address, Mr Tarun Das, Chief Mentor, CII, pointed to the good work being done by the NKC and said that “there was need to spread awareness about this on nationwide scale, if we are to ensure greater public involvement.”  He said that today entrepreneurship was the key economic driver and here the support of stakeholders such as the government, the financial institutions and educational institutions, apart from industry bodies was essential.

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