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Govt should work on jobs data, India needs an equivalent of BLS in the US: Wadhwani Foundation CEO

“India is a young country and the youth population is massive. Every month we have one million people who turn 18 and they need jobs. We must make sure there are jobs available for all such people who need to support themselves and their families,” Kela told PTI in an interview on Tuesday.

A comprehensive jobs data is the need of the hour in India to help understand what kind of employment opportunities are getting created and which sectors are hiring, and the government should look at developing an equivalent of the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) in the US, Wadhwani Foundation Global President and CEO Ajay Kela told PTI.

“India is a young country and the youth population is massive. Every month we have one million people who turn 18 and they need jobs. We must make sure there are jobs available for all such people who need to support themselves and their families,” Kela told PTI in an interview on Tuesday.

On his expectations from the interim budget, Kela said, “What’s missing in India is that there is no solid data in the job space. The US has the BLS, we don’t have an equivalent of that.

“Any programmes or schemes you develop… in the absence of not understanding what jobs are getting created, which sectors are hiring, what do the next 4-5 years look like in terms of job demand (there will be a gap).”

“This (data) will help eliminate the disruption that could happen if the young population is unemployed, and even for us, it will become difficult to leverage the demographic dividend… The government has the data, and it must look into this aspect,” Kela said.

Commending the government for helping Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) sector and startups in the country, he said, the government has done a lot of work. For example, there are many schemes like Startup India, which most of the countries do not have.

“A lot of government organisations have been set up: T-Hub is an example. The 700-odd incubators that exist today in India are primarily funded by the government. The government is doing a lot in enabling the startup ecosystem and micro-entrepreneurs.” However, more schemes to support micro-entrepreneurs and startups, like the Mudra Yojana should be worked upon, he said.

“It’s the startups that will create jobs, and become the next-generation Infosys, Marutis, and the Wipros of the world,” the Wadhwani Foundation CEO said.

“There is not much focus on businesses that are in the Rs 50-150 crore bracket, which have demonstrated capability to add jobs. Many of these can grow a lot more, and we need to analyse how to help them grow,” he added.

On the foundation’s plans for India, the CEO said, “Over the last five years, we have trained about 1,50,000 entrepreneurs in India and about 5,00,000 globally. We are looking to scale this by at least 10x over the next five years.”

Established in 2000, the Wadhwani Foundation is a global not-for-profit organisation that works on accelerating job growth. Focusing on entrepreneurship, skilling, innovation and research, and government digital transformation, the foundation is working towards economic development in 15 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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