Harnessing the potential of India’s rapidly expanding workforce to boost economy

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New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The launch of a non-preachy, non-prescriptive account of the possibilities that define India amidst magnificent paradoxes witnessed an insightful discussion on public governance, diplomacy and intelligentsia.

The event, a panel discussion and book reading session on “Navigating India: $18 Trillion Opportunity” (Rupa/Rs 295/ 253 Pages) by Bharat Joshi saw noted author and commentator Gurcharan Das deliberate on similar issues along with former diplomat and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. The event was hosted at the New Zealand High Commission.

Urging the government to do a better job of selling reforms, Das said that people in India still believe reforms make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

“No one has told people the difference between pro-market and pro-business. Being pro-market means you are pro-competition. Competition improves the quality of products and, with proper regulation, leads to legitimate capitalism,” he said. “It is a sad thing that since 1991, no one has sold reforms.”

With reference to India’s current economic scenario and the prospects that the book points out, Tharoor said that “Navigating India” is an “optimistic book”. The book offers insights on how to succeed in India’s promising, albeit complex, business landscape.

“Thorough and comprehensive survey of working in and with Indian economy, ‘Navigating India’ is a useful and focused narrative sparkling with optimism,” he said.

While sounding a note of caution, Tharoor referred to the “extraordinarily youthful” population of the country and wondered if they were being trained and skilled enough to enable them to adapt to the changing job market. The Congress leader further maintained that the fundamentals of the Indian economy are “so strong” that growth will continue despite the “inability (of the government) to match intent with execution”.

Das also praised India’s economic fundamentals and argued that one could not afford to be skeptical of India’s growth prospects, especially in the face of growing challenges.

“Eighteen trillion dollars is about the size of the total goods traded around the world every year and India’s share is very small. Even if we were to double it, we wouldn’t be taking way too much from the rest. It could be done and reminds us of the low-hanging fruits,” Das added. He also called for greater state efficiency in delivering rule of law and ensuring accountability, besides a nimble executive that can get things done.

Optimistic of India’s growth potential, author Bharat Joshi argued that India could, with the right mix of an enabling government and technology, generate an additional US$ 18 trillion of Gross Domestic Product within the lifetime of its young and rapidly expanding workforce.

“At the macro level, India is embracing reform and technology, to grow its market. At a micro level, individuals and organizations will be both generators and beneficiaries of this phenomenal growth,” he said.

Writing in an engaging and objective style, Joshi reinforces his assessment in the book with first-hand accounts from some of India’s most respected names in business, public governance, diplomacy and intelligentsia.

“Navigating India is a worm’s eye view as well as a bird’s eye view of this process, and how one can be a part of this incredible journey,” Joshi added. The book also deals with a range of challenges India faces in its pursuit to grow rapidly, such as the need to provide jobs to the millions of graduates who join India’s workforce each year and ensuring greater ease of doing business in India.

The book was launched by Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal along with Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu at another event.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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