About the theme

WINGS OF FIRE: EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR A NEW MAHARASHTRA

Creating sustainable employment for 20 million youth in the coming five years

Maharashtra, India’s largest economy in terms of Gross State Domestic Product(GSDP), registered two-digit 10.0 percent economic growth during 2016-2017 (ESM 2017-18). With the government’s consistent efforts to ensure the continuation of this growth in the years to follow, it comes as no surprise that the Honourable Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen on making Maharashtra a 1 trillion-dollar economy by 2025 (currently it is at $400 billion). The youth is the biggest contributor in this journey of the state’s socio-economic advancement. For the youth to be able to contribute in this regard, it is important to ensure that adequate opportunities are created for them to explore their potentials, inculcate skills, showcase their talents and get skilfully employed.

Young people are the torch-bearers of change and innovation. From education to industries, from data to technology, it is individuals like yourself that would ensure novel ways for marching ahead. The need of the hour therefore, is to ensure further transformation of young people-from job seekers into job creators who build and support sustainable and transparent enterprises. We believe, that several key factors have to and should be analysed in this regard

Higher Education

Maharashtra has always been a frontrunner in developing new paradigms, which involve new thought processes and advancement in different sectors. Presence of the largest youth force, rapidly growing economy, the emergence of knowledge as a key factor in driving this economy and the need to bridge aspirational gaps are the reasons for ensuring that urgent actions are taken for a more comprehensive higher education in Maharashtra. It is necessary to lay emphasis on increasing the enrolment ratio in higher education, ensuring better quality and taking positive steps towards an international, industry oriented, globally inspired higher education system in the state.

What steps, according to you, should be taken to address issues like unequal access to higher education and social distance between different socio-economic groups, to ensure an all encompassing better quality higher education in Maharashtra?

It has been observed that lack of vocational training is a phenomenon existing in the higher education system in the state. What measures can be taken to deal with this?

Despite adequate emphasis on imparting career and technical education, no market ready skills are imparted to individuals enrolled in higher education. How, in your opinion, can this issue be addressed?

Research and Development (R&D) should form an important component of the higher education setup. However, it is observed that reality is quite contrary to this. Suggest ways of ensuring that R&D is adequately promoted and incorporated in the higher education system in the state.

How, according to you, can a structured and regulated system of checks and balances be deployed to ensure better quality higher education in Maharashtra?

Skill Development

As Maharashtra targets to become an economic powerhouse, equipping its present as well as future workforce with employable skills and knowledge becomes crucial. We live in an era of globalization and technological volatility wherein skill building becomes an important instrument to increase the potential, efficacy and quality of labour- for their improved productivity and overall socio-economic growth.

Despite various concentrated efforts, however, there is still a long way to bring the skill development mission to its completion due to the presence of certain serious key challenges in its path, solutions to which need to be figured out.

The mismatch between the demands made by various industries and supply of labour-force leads to the aggravation of all types of skill development initiatives of the Government and its partner agencies. How can this mismatch, in your opinion, be addressed? Suggest ways of ensuring this gap is bridged.

It has been observed that the major focus of various skill development initiatives is technical and career-oriented skills. However, the employability of an individual is also dependant on her/his personal attributes. Development of soft skills, therefore, also becomes equally important. How, according to you, can the development of soft skills be incorporated and imparted?

In today’s day and age of globalisation and digitisation, imparting skills for new and upcoming jobs becomes essential- a phenomenon currently not predominant in the skill development discourse. Suggestions are solicited for imparting new-age skills for new-age jobs.

The skill development mission, though underway, lacks a system of ensuring that the quality of skills being imparted is not hampered with. How, in your opinion, can this be ensured?

Self-Employment

The advent of self-employment has been described as a structural re-shaping of the economy and labour market, which does not necessarily arise due to redundancies in the traditional market. In the past few years especially, self-employment has been increasing at the same time as traditional employment has been increasing. For many, the benefits of being self-employed include the flexibility it offers, which can mean a better work-life balance, and a chance to fulfil a personal ambition. But there are many challenges which need to be taken more seriously.

Uncertain and fluctuating earnings, difficulties in accessing a loan and the prevalence of anxiety and uncertainty due to lack of income protection, make the idea of self-employment unsettling. In what ways can these challenges be addressed, to make self-employment as an initiative more accepted and agreeable?

It has been observed that the final products/outputs generated because of self-employment initiatives lack platforms for being showcased. How, in your opinion, can this be tackled?

A self-help group (village based financial intermediary committee comprising of 10-20 local women or men) is a great example of an initiative taken for ensuring and promoting self-employment. What other initiatives can be taken along similar lines? Elucidate.

Promoting Entrepreneurship

According to Professor Howard Stevenson, the godfather of entrepreneurship studies at Harvard Business School, entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled.
The dictionary defines entrepreneurship as the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking and is an essential part of a nation’s ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Despite various efforts, the idea of entrepreneurship has not caught mass attention because of the following key challenge that needs to be addressed.

When an interested individual decides to take up an entrepreneurial enterprise, she/he is faced by the challenge that arises due to a difficult and cumbersome funding procedure. Although banks and other public sources are available, the process for acquiring funding is complex, bureaucratic and lengthy. What are the measures by which this process can quicken and be made more democratic and transparent? Suggest ways of doing the same along with strengthening the linkages between the relevant stakeholders involved.

Absence of direction and lack of guidance, motivation and hand-holding are the biggest factors discouraging an entrepreneurial attitude amongst youngsters. What, in your opinion is the way out?

There is a need to encourage an eco-system promoting entrepreneurship. How can this eco-system be created and sustained? Elucidate.

Intellectual property protection is a big challenge to promoting entrepreneurship. Suggest measures of dealing with this challenge.

New jobs in the era of AI

According to Amitabh Kant (CEO, NITI Aayog), in today’s day and age, traditional manufacturing and service-oriented industries are being disrupted in a manner we have never seen before. There are ten technologies transforming the industrial production- autonomous robots; simulation; big data and analytics; augmented reality; the cloud; cyber-security; additive manufacturing; horizontal and vertical integration; the internet of things and artificial intelligence. These technologies are impacting the entire production value chain from design to productivity, speed and quality of production. In a few years’ time, the material economy will be taken over by digital economy. Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation are coming up as important areas of focus.

Suggestions are solicited on the roles the youth can play and the contribution that young students can make to ensure an all-encompassing embracement of technology to meet the requirements of the changing scenario of today’s times?

The reach and acceptance of technology across various socio-economic groups is absent. Suggest ways of dealing with this lack of social cohesion.

It is said that a range of traditional jobs would be at the brink of extinction with the advent of artificial intelligence. Therefore, an amalgamation of the two is essential. How can this be done? Elucidate.