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The EmployAbility Challenge

A time comes in the life of a nation for it to stand up and be counted among the comity of nations. In that sense, India is on the crux of achieving greatness. It will be a rare occasion when a large democratic nation rises on the world stage using nonviolent means.

India at this juncture has many advantages. A scientifically and technologically trained youth is one of them. Over the past 20 years, India’s emphasis on high-tech and services has turned the youth in India towards making careers in sci- 8 The Finapolis l February 2015 ence and technology. In addition, India’s demographic advantage with more than half of its population under the age of 25 is a big plus. The youth is able to learn newer technologies and employ them in productive ways; older population of China, Japan, Europe and the US will find it difficult to work with newer technologies—be that in Information technology, Bio Sciences, Robotics, Nano Technologies or space technology.

India’s entrepreneurial culture is one of the best in the world today. The networks that finance young entrepreneurs in new technologies have come up over the last two decades. Many more incubators, angel funds, venture capital funds and private equity have become active and the financiers have also tasted successes. Role models of running business ethically have come up with people totally unconnected to traditional business families making fortunes using their skills, enthusiasm and connectivity to the world and that has increased confidence of the Indian population in doing business.

Given the way technology in different areas is developing at a rapid pace, I have firm belief that the progress over the next 20-30 years will be beyond what we have ever imagined. Newer technologies will create wealth and job opportunities that the world has not witnessed before. India, with its young populace and scientific bent of mind, is at the right place to take advantage of these opportunities.

For that, our young people need to be trained in the required skills and also inculcate values which motivate them to re-train and upgrade again and again. Newer technology cycles will be of much shorter duration. Reinvention will be the key.

The biggest challenge and opportunity for the nation is to create jobs—for me, India’s job for next 20 years is to create jobs

In this purview, we also need to make doing business easier. As our Honorable PM told, “We need to move from red tape to red carpet”, businesses especially new age ones will create tremendous opportunities for job, wealth creation and growth for every citizen of India. It is estimated that by 2035, 70% jobs will be such that we have not even imagined about. Did we imagine, even 20 years ago, that a person sitting in India will be taking orders for McDonalds from US customers for instant drive in deliveries?

Opportunities are tremendous. As much as we take pride in our participatory democracy, we must aspire to make every one participate in job creation and wealth creation. How do we create basic infrastructure – roads, ports, airports, power plants, telecom lines, mobiles, housing, irrigation, schools, colleges, public places etc.? We have institutional frameworks. How do we make them work for the society and economic upliftment? India has a chance to become rich before it becomes old. How do we work systematically towards achieving these objectives?

India is a country which accounts for 2% land mass of the world and 16% of world population. Half of our populace is below age 25. As per estimates, on an average, 15 million youths will join the workforce every year for the next 20 years, which gives India a unique competitive advantage which also would be its biggest threat if India fails to create opportunities for its youth population.

The biggest challenge and opportunity for the nation is to create jobs—for me, India’s job for The biggest challenge and opportunity for the nation is to create jobs—for me, India’s job for next 20 years is to create jobs February 2015 l The Finapolis 9 next 20 years is to create jobs. For that we need to create an environment where Indian companies are able grow and create more jobs, where SMEs find it easy to raise funds for their enterprises and where the youth is adequately trained to contribute and participate in the Indian growth story. We need to create an environment where companies and entrepreneurs don’t fail just because of lack of access to funds and the youth don’t go unemployed due to lack of opportunities or lack of skill training.

These two areas that go hand-in-hand should be the focus area for the country for the next five years. While it is the Government’s role to create policies, the implementation and the benefits we derive of those policies would depend on the Indian institutions. For instance, the Indian banking sector and the Stock Exchanges need to play a major role in addressing the first concern, for enabling the Indian enterprises to grow, compete and succeed. BSE, in the past two years, has been able to get 79 SME companies to list; listing of SMEs enables them to raise funds from the public while giving investors a chance to become part of the success story if these ventures prosper. The SME market cap has already reached US$1.6 billion in a short period of two years. If things go well, we hope to have US$25 billion of wealth represented on the BSE SME segment within the next five years. The success of the BSE SME segment has prompted requests from PEs and new-age entrepreneurs to give the segment a new name that would reflect the aspirations of the market from this segment.

The way BSE is synonymous with capital markets over the past 140 years, BSE SME segment has become the largest market of its kind in India with more than 90% market share. Nurturing wealth creation in India for all shareholders— small and investors, PEs, VCs, angel investors, promoters, non-promoters—has been at the core of BSE philosophy all these years– to transform India into a country where everyone can partner with everyone else, irrespective of how much they want to invest, thus reducing entry barriers to investment.

BSE, or any exchange for that matter, should be judged on how it helps India create more jobs, raise more funds and create more wealth for all its citizens

Providing supportive conditions for investments such as e-IPO, market making, etc., have been some of the innovations the market-regulator SEBI has pushed for in recent times. These reforms will make Indian capital markets even more attractive for investors in times to come.

BSE, or any exchange for that matter, should be judged on how it helps India create more jobs, raise more funds and create more wealth for all its citizens. Trading for the sake of trading is a zerosum game, not conducive for growth of the country. Indian exchanges have to align their goals with that of the need of the nation.

BSE has also help set up an incubation cell within the BSE building to help promote entrepreneurs to develop their business models. We need to help thousands of such small entrepreneurs to get access to funds and training for them to succeed – for themselves, for their investors and for the employment they would generate if they succeed.

BSE has also taken leadership in setting up the BFSI Sector Skill Council to help train the youth in the BFSI sector.

A lot, however, still needs to be done to improve the employability of the youth and to provide them with opportunities of employment. BSE will continue to work in the direction of acting as a catalyst for job creation, skills creation, wealth creation and entrepreneurism.

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