If India’s newly-formed Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship & its dynamic leadership under Minister of State Rajiv Pratap Rudy has anything to say about it, India’s young population would be soon thinking entrepreneurship backed by skilled training. Rudy’s very strong realization is that 12 years of education cannot give you a job, but 12 weeks of skill training could make you enabled or free to pursuit self employment with purpose. He believes that the key to New India is to liberate our potential energy to create activity.
Under Rudy’s able leadership the Ministry held its first ‘World Skills Day’ on July 15, 2015 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally unveiled the National Policy for Skill development and Entrepreneurship 2015. Minister Rudy believes that Skill development is one of the important initiatives of the current Government of India. In other countries, there are laws for skill development, but in India, the coverage to skill development is limited and does give impetus to our GDP also. But under the new training and skill development programme, a person can now bag a job immediately, which was not the case earlier.
Towards the same, the ministry has worked very closely with important government ministries such as textiles, railways and engineering for formulating the new policy. The prime minister also believes that the key to new India is that skill development and entrepreneurship form a connect as he said “We aim to increase the opportunity, which is why, we have not restricted ourselves to skills and have focused on entrepreneurship.”
We caught up with Minister Rudy at this residence a day prior to the World skills Day to get his vision for the Ministry and India at large. We realized he was a strong believer in the book ‘Start-up Nation Israel’ and believed that the growth of Skills and Entrepreneurship in Israel has a similar connect to India.
Israel, which until a few years back was questioned about its very existence today, has emerged strong with start-ups. India probably needs a similar style of policy and growth believes Rudy. Entrepreneurship has the power to change not only enterprises and employees but also the whole country. To attain new level of growth, entrepreneurs need government support. The ease of doing business can serve as an opportunity for a vibrant India. How far it will take us. Time will tell.
Entrepreneur interacts with Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge), to understand how skill backed entrepreneurship will work in India’s favour.
What is your vision for the ministry?
In India, the largest employment today is not through Foreign Institutional Investors or any other mode, it is through entrepreneurship. The category is phenomenal; the dependency on real investments and infrastructure has to be substituted by the process of entrepreneurship and innovation. Across the world, majority of it has been structured through Indians based abroad. We have to take an example of Israel. If you look at the NASDAQ and stock exchanges across the world, and if you see first 100 listed companies, at least 20 would be from Israel entrepreneurs.
How does it happen in a country with such miniscule population? It is because states and institutions jointly enable their manpower. This entrepreneurial ability is what really matters in today’s time. The wealth of the nation can be created through manufacturing, mining, and through other activities, but highest addition to wealth can only be created through entrepreneurship. This is for the first time that a separate ministry for entrepreneurship has been created by the Government of India.
What are the initiatives taken by the ministry?
As a start-up ministry we are still in the stage of incubation. But many organisations created earlier in other ministries have been brought under us. National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development and Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati, has been transferred to Ministry of Skill Development And Entrepreneurship. So we are trying to create a synergy to roll out. But we have to undertake projects that have a mega impact. Financing is another aspect where we are working at the ministry.
How do you co-relate entrepreneurship and skilling?
It is interlinked. Individuals can have skills. We are creating an environment where entrepreneurs emerge out of skilled individuals. We are talking about a country of 400 million workers who have not had higher education. There are 200 million people in the unorganised sector, and we have demand of another 10 million. All these initiatives have to be taken together.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (August, 2015 Issue).