Need more global wealth creators from India

Apart from constant resource infusion into research for indigenous solutions for our problems, the Start Up India umbrella would need interventions to bring talented youth to take risks

The country is looking at creating job-creators and not job seekers,” remarked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he set the tone for the (StartUp) new year while addressing the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) in New Delhi last week. Much buzz has been around the “Stand Up/Start Up India” after it was announced in Independence Day speech of 2015. Among the vast and aspiring youth—the dividend of our demography waits to be realised through their productive engagement in economy. Over the last decade, the governments have been focusing on developing skilled workforce to address the supply side constraints towards creating employable workforce. The present disposition has been pushing this even harder with a dedicated skills ministry, and has been ironing out the issues for expeditious rollout.

The focus now in Stand Up

India/Start-up India is to build an enabling framework to augment demand of skilled workforce. This campaign is to encourage entrepreneurship among youth. There are successful experiments that have been conducted in other parts of the world (Israel and France, in particular), however the scale, complexity, and size of building ‘movement’
towards start-ups in India would be daunting.

In our country, an average school going youngster, conducts his academic pursuits with a single minded objective to land into a commensurate job. Lack of social acceptance and associated stigma with the ‘failed business’, discourages parents to push their wards towards entrepreneurship. In a battle of Indian family decisions in the choice between ‘good job’ over ‘dhanda’, the former is a winner nearly always. The thought of creating wealth, employing people, or entrepreneurship has to be a considered occupational choice except beyond the traditional family businesses. Recognition of this mindset, gap and building a campaign to address this itself at the highest policy level is a big win for our country.

Therefore, over long term the most desirable outcome from the Start-up India/Stand Up India would be to drive this mindset shift towards wealth creation on a sustained basis. The second aspect which may be looked over medium term would be to find interventions which encourage continued induction of new entrepreneurs into Indian economy. As a measure to look beyond the promotional aspect of communication, the government should be looking to establish a foundational framework which catalyses removal of inherent barriers to be an entrepreneur in India.

From international examples, the governments have worked out success stories to create a culture of entrepreneurship. Some of the inventions which have impacted our lives in recent times have all been result of government backing to enterprising youth. From technologies and tools (internet, GPS, touch-screens) which are a common practice today have had in many ways been nurtured by constant effort of governments to encourage research.

Apart from constant resource infusion into research for indigenous solutions for our problems, the Start Up India umbrella would need interventions to bring talented youth to take risks. These interventions such as increased access to finance, reduced regulatory burden, may be differential tax (non-tax) regime, reducing risks/fear of failure,
protecting intellectual property—which are centered on a young entrepreneur would go a long way in holding promise with action.

As always the campaign would be only be as good as its execution. StartUp India Stand Up India, would be expected to set the pace and momentum for change which is both within and without. Commitment of political and administrative leadership at the highest level across spectrums— with continued participation of multiple line ministries at Centre and state governments would determine success. The beginning is being made already by attracting some of the finest entrepreneurs of our generation. Ultimately, we need to come to a stage where increasing a number of global wealth creators of tomorrow are from this land.

Vishal Sharma, Senior Manager—Advisory services, EY has also contributed to this article.

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