Generating Employment Opportunities
Generating Employment Opportunities
A great challenge stares our nation in the face today — that of jobless growth, or more aptly, jobless stagnation. We currently grapple with a 5% rate of unemployment that cripples our youth and our economy. The problem extends beyond the failed implementation of MGNREGS, to include a great deal of educated unemployed, as less than 50% youth with MBAs and Engineering degrees in hand manage to seek jobs. And when they do, the compensation and job profiles are not at par with their level of education and skill. This issue is plaguing the nation as a whole – stifling growth, enraging the youth and preventing India from reaching its full potential.
Mr. Scindia is deeply concerned about this and strives to strategically create employment opportunities across various sectors:
- Incentivize all high labor : capital ratio in industries: First and foremost, it is important to strategically direct resources and create employment in sectors and industries that allow for greater employment generation:
- High Labor : Capital ratio- For each rupee we invest, we must aim to generate the maximum no. of jobs possible. This would be the case in unexposed sectors with untapped potential, such as tourism & hospitality, food processing & media & entertainment.
- High Indirect : Direct jobs ratio –Simultaneously, we must aim for a high Indirect : Direct employment generation ratio. Each direct job created (eg tourism) should spur job creation in affiliated sectors like accommodation, food & beverage, transport, entertainment, natural & cultural attraction sites.
- Focussing on the Hospitality Industry– When we speak of industries with the above mentioned traits, a case in point is the hospitality sector, which only provides 1 of 11 jobs globally, but also has a huge multiplier effect along the value The tourism sector has great capacity to generate well-paying employment (skilled & unskilled), not to mention stimulating entrepreneurship & growth of MSMEs. Unfortunately, we have not taken full advantage of the sector’s capacity to create jobs. Despite our rich heritage, culture & cuisines, we only get a minute share of global tourists and revenue. Madhya Pradesh has tremendous potential, yet it did not even make it to the list of the Top 10 Indian states for foreign tourist visits in 2016. It then becomes all the more important, for both government and private companies to invest in hospitality to develop Madhya Pradesh, recognizing this as investment that will yield high returns. Within this scope, it is important to focus on enhancing & drawing benefits fromevery region’s unique core competency vis a vis national and international arena – Chanderi for textiles, Bandhavgarh and Kanha for wildlife, Khajuraho for history and culture. Nurturing these unique competencies will allow us to enhance them to become popular tourist sites. This means building the necessary infrastructure, F&B industry, transport facilities and cultural engagements opportunities across the state – all that will in return generate employment.
- Skill-based/Vocational Training: Scindia understands that the root of India’s lack of growth in education and employment lies in a discord in the current education system, between the demand for jobs and the skills gained from the education system. Thus, his focus has been to develop channels that allow today’s generation to equip themselves better and prepare themselves for post-graduation employment. A holistic developmental approach across the social and infrastructure sectors is his key to skilling today’s youth. Skill-based vocational training forms an essential part of his strategy to build links between the industries and educational institutions, so as to ensure that students graduate with the skills necessary to seek employment and can fill the gaps and needs of industry and will generate greater employment opportunities. For this, he aims to leverage the National Skill Development Mission – an apt vehicle to converge skilling activity with India Inc.
- Startup Incubators: Beyond just providing for India Inc., it is also crucial to create an environment conducive to the generation of innovative ideas and for the growth and proliferation of startups. Focusing on an incubator-like system, it is crucial to start accelerator programs to help startups receive funding at early stages of their venture, along with a set of tools and insights that fast-track founders in their management skills, business focus, & marketing abilities. Here, it may be helpful to look at and borrow from international models, like those in Israel and Estonia.
- Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Even as our nation progresses, there continues to exist a glass ceiling that prevents women from receiving equal pay and respect for their work. Few women occupy the top tanks of companies and even fewer make it to the board of CEOs. The same issue exists in the public sphere where there aren’t nearly enough women in positions of power. It is crucial to ensure that this no longer happens by offering companies incentives for hiring and paying women equally and by penalizing those that indulge in gender-based discrimination.
Work so far
To generate employment opportunities for the people of his constituency, Mr. Scindia has taken many steps over the years:
- IIUS Handloom Park for Chanderi weavers: The idea was to put restored monuments to work by creating a hub of education and activity for women, children and the next generation of weavers. This location of the 6th century, abandoned ‘Raja Rani Mahal’ was ideal to create a symbiosis of the old and the new, a standing testimony to Chanderi’s living heritage. In 2002, with the help of INTACH and Archaeological Survey of India, Mr. Scindia restored it and turned it into a weavers’ hub, following it up with computer classes and tailoring lessons for women within the facility, enabling them to join the workforce. He also provided CAD/CAM machines to the younger generations, so they can learn to create new designs and bring in more contemporary ideas, as well as to connect them to markets beyond Chanderi. One of the Chanderi weavers went on to win the competition on CAD/CAM machines to design the scarves for Delhi’s Commonwealth Games. In 2013, he began work on a Handloom Park for weavers, the largest of its kind in Asia. Built with an outlay of Rs. 48 cr, and a capacity for 240 handlooms that are rented out to local groups of weavers at nominal rates, the park makes for a modern, professional working space with state-of-the-art facilities, as well as a Common Facility Centre, that includes a centre for sourcing raw material, weaving, packaging and marketing, research and development, and an open air theatrefor showcasing the weaves. All this, threaded together with technology, bring the world to the fingertips of Chanderi’s weavers. Importantly, it provides weavers an alternative workspace, thus freeing up space within their house for their family, especially for their children to study and play. In addition to these efforts, Mr. Scindia has provided solar lights to hundreds of weavers across Chanderi that now allow them to work for longer hours at their convenience. Such programs have not only provided these artisans their due, but also helped craft a new generation of weavers, thus ensuring the continuity of a special heritage.
- Tourism: Scindia has also focussed on developing Chanderi as a tourist hub – his idea is not only to give the town a modern avatar, but also to bring back its past glory to contemporary times for all who visit and appreciate what he believes is a nesting Shangri-La of Madhya Pradesh. Along with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Mr. Scindia is continuously working to conserve and preserve Chanderi’s monuments for posterity – the Chanderi Fort, Badal Mahal, Jama Masjid, Laxman Mandir, Koshak Mahal, and now the Chanderi Museum.
- Vocational Training: Having invested over Rs. 130 cr in vocational training, Mr. Scindia has set-up a range of dedicated centres in various parts of his constituency. In July 2010, he set up the Vocational Training Centre in Guna – a joint venture between IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited (ITNL) and GAIL. Its primary purpose has been to equip young adults with the skills required to connect them with the mainstream job market. Many students who joined the Centre have progressed to employment in prominent multinational companies like Whirlpool, Electrolux, and Dominos. Mr. Scindia also established of the first Engineering Colleges of NTPC and a Medical College in Shivpuri , a training centre of the National Power Training Institute, a Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) – one of the seven FDDIs in the country, and a Spice Park. All these ventures have strategically and specifically trained the youth of the region, guiding them in the direction of stable and resourceful employment.