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Agriculture will contribute to low employment as mechanization will overtake : Manish Kumar, CEO & MD of NSDC, Former Secretary, GoI (Retd. IAS)

Ranchi, 22nd May 2020: TEDxKanke organized a TEDxKanke: Webinar Series
Title of the webinar was Future Skills for workforce in India

Speaker of the programme was Manish Kumar, CEO & MD of NSDC, Former Secretary, GoI (Retd. IAS) and it was Moderated By Santosh Sharma, Curator, TEDxKanke

On broad trend in which India finds itself right now

• India finds itself poise in a positive place. Alongside the demographic window of opportunity, this is a wealth creation moment for our people.
• Recent example of South Korea in 1950 where they entered the graphic window of opportunity, their per capita has multiplied exponentially. China entered such a window in 1950 and their growth is visible.
• India has entered in 2005 and our per capita income has grown by 4-5 times and will continue until 2050.
• India has also proven itself a giant powerhouse and knowledge hub of IT. Right now, we are experience the infancy stage of this technology and it is only going to get better. This adds to the multiplication factor that we will observe in our income levels in the coming years.

On roles of NSDC in shaping skill development in India

• NSDC is a developmental bank which lends money (and knowledge) for skill development opportunities

• Created sector-skill councils based on the industry requirements. Once we understand the competencies needed in a particular sector, we created job opportunities in that sector.
• Every job in a particular sector has 13-15 competencies. This is prepared based on a thorough data analysis and then skill development programs are created. A person getting a job after being certified on skills from NSDC get 15% better salary than the ones without skill certification.
• Automated cars in California, for instance, run on data analysis conducted by girls working in India who were trained by NSDC.
• Both short-term and foundational skills become critical. Apart from the domain skills like Ai and Machine Learning that are dominating the world, it is imperative to build foundational skills such as collaborating, team working and other skills that allow people to work together.

On bridging the glaring skill-gap between academia and industries

• We are following industry 2.0 while the world is running on industry 5.0 and too much importance is being given to degrees. Life has changed massively, and the evolution is fast paced. It does not require huge chunk of knowledge but important pieces of information that work on the go.
• The new education policy is changing gears and in future we will see courses better suited to match the skills required for the industry. We need to get over the British culture that gave weightage to clerks.

On farmers and teachers – who are facing the biggest challenges

• Big challenge for the bottom 25% of India – the lowest income quartile – that earns INR 26000 or less at this point. Nature of agriculture will change with the current scenario no matter how hard we try. Agriculture will contribute to low employment as mechanization will overtake. Lot of movement will occur from agriculture to construction and textile, as we have seen at some level. The bigger shift will occur in technology such as regenerative agriculture and increasing productivity of our existing system.

• We are trying to see if we can create a Google Map equivalent of skills with the help of a US tech company where people can find the nearest job based on their skills.
• For teachers, challenges will be similar with internet reaching out to villages. Teachers will have to upskill and reskill themselves, become more entrepreneurial and adapt to the local realities.

Audience Questions:

There is a huge disconnect in the location of skills and industries which is inducing migration. While the industry is not migrating where the skills are, experts are suggesting that future might see COVID-like migration conditions regularly. How can we address the issue that the industry is also pulled where the skills are, and great dislocation does not take place?

By Mr Sunil Burnwal, IAS, Govt. of Jharkhand

• In my view, India is sub-continent with 1.3 billion people – population of entire African continent. This has both advantages and disadvantages. When economic opportunities arise, people migrate towards these opportunities. The movement is across large distances but smooth under the normal times. India is about 100 economic clusters. If opportunities are created within the clusters and if people can get job closer to these clusters, then we can match demand and supply using data and find jobs which are geographically closer. A platform can be created which describes the income and expense levels for particular jobs and skills that can be compared for deciding on geographic migration.
• For boosting village economy, we require promoting of entrepreneurship in a bigger way. The actual amount needed in a village is 50-70k. Local youth can be supported with capital from social venture capitalists and philanthropists, building a culture where community supports local youth – rather than looking at the govt. for everything.

• We need to put our heart into the labor problem. Opening a state representative (like Tripura Bhavan in Chennai) in the states where local laborers are going. Food and accommodation are the biggest challenges. State govt can create logistic facilities such as building some properties to be give out on rent.

What was the reason of leaving services in 2011 for World Bank and how has the experience been?
By Mr Rohit Tripathy, Founder of Ranchi Mall

“I worked in the govt for 20 years and really enjoyed my work. A lot of my work involved negotiating with tribal insurgents in the jungles and bringing them back to normal life. But eventually with the places becoming peaceful, I felt bored with challenges becoming smaller. After moving to World Bank and later being associated with two complex problems – Swachcha Bharat and Skill India – I have continued to work closely with the government and have thoroughly enjoyed these new challenges.”

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