The biggest challenge for the country is to help talented young people fulfil their aspirations, State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said today, while terming demographic dividend as an opportunity for growth.
“If you look at India, the biggest challenge and opportunity today is demography. You have this young country, and you have one million people who are joining job market every month. How do you look at the aspiration of these people and how do you fulfil them ?” she said during a panel discussion on ‘India 2025- Challenges and Opportunities’, organised by Bombay Management Association (BMA).
ITC Chairman Y C Deveshwar said creating employment is a very big challenge. “If you look at 2025, this (job creation) problem is going to grow larger. Creating sustainable employment which is environment friendly are the two big challenges that our country has to address, right now, and at an accelerated pace tomorrow,” he said.
The biggest potential for growth in jobs will come from manufacturing sector, he said.
Tata Group’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata said India’s demographic pattern not only presents strong workforce but an intellectual cadre of people who can prove themselves and stand up to foreign competition.
“In the years that I have been in industry, I have watched India transform itself from a protected country and becoming an open economy in early 90s, and then seeing its complete change of political leadership, in the last year, to an India which is now poised with a great deal of aspiration and expectations, but poised with a new government and a new leadership and I think great desire to be a country that will stand up and be counted in the economic scene,” he said.
India today has young people who are listened to because they are successful, but more importantly because the environment is willing to listen to them, he said.
Tata was conferred with BMA Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award 2013-14 during the event.
Standard Chartered Bank’s India CEO Sunil Kaushal said the strong demographic dividend of the country can become demographic disaster if it is not managed properly by creating job opportunities and skilling the population.
Snapdeal founder and chief executive officer Kunal Bahl said the county needs more entrepreneurs who can help in solving real world problems.
Kotak Mahindra Bank executive vice-chairman and MD Uday Kotak said if India has to progress and education has to be the key, then there is need for more and more people to join teaching profession.
Talking about infrastructure which requires a lot of funding, Bhattacharya said, infrastructure cannot be created unless there is is long term capital.
“There is no dearth of capital in the world, and the reason why it does not find home in India is because India is not able to provide the clarity and consistency that this capital needs in order to find a home,” she said.
She said investors do not always look for returns but they need clarity and consistency.
“Its about not changing the rules of the game while the game is on. It is about ensuring there is no sovereign risk. In that, if the sovereign says something then it is the sovereign that is saying something and therefore it is something that will get honoured,” said Bhattacharya, who was given BMA Management Woman Achiever of the Year Award 2013-14.