Dear Sanjay, The last couple of months, ever since I got to know about your decision of exploring new challenges and pastures beyond Career Launcher, I have been having a feeling of losing one of my vital organs and being incapacitated. I could not reconcile to the fact that you will not be there shoulder to shoulder in the endeavours, every day. But, I am sure, you will be a CL-ite in spirit and letter for life time.
I still recall the early days, 1998, when we used to meet at the gate of Balwant Rai Mehta school, GK-II, for taking CAT prep-classes. We used to share jokes and had a good laugh, as well as having intense interactions about how to go about in a particular session, and we swapped classes in between too at times. Your contribution to expanding the CL horizons geographically, strategically and spiritually is beyond compare. You have left indelible marks in the journey and an enviable benchmarks, very few can match. I salute you and your steadfastness.
All the memories of this long journey together, are very cherished ones for me, and will be there for life. I am sharing here your parting note, that came into my mail box, talking about future of India and our responsibility. Thanks Sanjay for everything and being there. Love you Sanjay.
The captures of Sanjay’s farewell at CL HO, Greater Noida.
Career Launcher – Inspiring Leadership, a set on Flickr.
———Sanjay’s note in first person – Skilling India is a national imperative —–
Last week I took some personal time out to visit rural skill development centers in two backward districts of Orissa. Besides the obvious, I was glad to note the not so obvious. Entrepreneurship, specially in challenging circumstances must depend on creativity and out of the box thinking and in such circumstances one must look, figuratively speaking, in the dark corners of the room rather than in the areas that are well lit.
While the obvious is, well, so obvious; rural youth learning computers, gaining skills to become household electricians or car engine mechanics or training to work in hotel kitchens, etc. I was glad to note the other emerging story. The trainers or faculty were young men and women who were themselves degree or diploma holders from local engineering colleges and polytechnics. It was heart warming to meet with a BE Electrical graduate of 2008 who is now contributing to the skill effort in general but more importantly he has procured gainful and sustainable employment for himself.
It leads me to think of all the upsides that this small yet powerful example has displayed. Think of the great multiplier effect that can be impacted by such initiatives. The just graduated engineer may have never found gainful employment upon graduating from a, so called, Tier III engineering college. However, he chanced upon this teaching opportunity and is earning a livelihood and heartily participating in India’s growing consumerism, we hope not conspicuous, adding wealth to those below and above him. The great Indian smorgasbord of consumer durable, non-durable and FMCG companies are all benefitiing from this young person’s propensity and opportunity to earn and spend. It sounds like a perfect win-win for atleast these two stakeholders.
The point that I am trying to drive home here is plain and simple; such skilling/training initiatives right at the bottom of the pyramid across india’s length & breadth can have a tsunami effect on India’s economy and GDP growth rates. The micro can help build the macro picture convincingly, surely and far more robustly than some tweaks to CRR, PLR, etc, etc.
If I owned a biscuit manufacturing company, besides the traditional approach to business viz building the brand, stocking the channel, ensuring pull & push, connecting with consumers and ensuring that all the functions of a normal business are working full steam, I’d also take time out and invest in skill training initiatives that will probably ensure a lifetime pipeline of future customers who will have the needs & wants and more importantly the means to consume my biscuits. Doesn’t this make sense, if not today then atleast for the day after?
India stands at the threshold of a great opportunity; amidst a sea of nations and economies that are growing old our country is ‘young’; about 700 million young. This is more than adequate human capital to run all the factories, banks, clinics and malls in the entire western world and with all the energy and resources of bounding youth. This is more than just ‘manpower’; it is human capital and it can be harnessed and deployed to generate large amounts of benefits for all stakeholders. This mass movement can fundamentally alter the future of this country.
Much like parliament aggressively discusses the Lokpal issue or for that matter any other political or economic issue the skilling agenda for India must be the single most important agenda for discussion and action.
While the government and our so called ‘leadership’ takes its time to figure out what is really important and what is not, private industry must take up the mantle and do what it needs to do. If corporate India can become the center of gravity for a large, universal skill training & education movement it can ignite the economy.
From this perspective, NSDC is doing seminal work in catalyzing the disparate & strewn components of this national agenda to come together and put a logical picture in place. It’s working as a matchmaker to bring various beneficiaries together and help them align and stay that way. NSDC is a government initiative at the very highest level and that is probably good thinking and a great beginning. But this is also akin to the proverbial “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” . The system needs to nurture the skilling agenda by correcting or putting in place some very basis structural systems in place such as Financial Inclusion, Banking services reach, Employment generation, Micro Financing, Entrepreneurship development.
So while one can espouse what the establishment or administration should do one has to simultaneously address the learners’ dogma of going back to school, skepticism of yet another pre-poll promise and overarching low RoE (Return on Education).
Finally, programs & initiatives like MNREGA & social security may need to be revisited. Are these in direct conflict with the skilling India agenda?