Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Sustained India Shining- Skills and Human Capital development is THE Lever

Sitting in Delhi at the India WEF summit, currently listening to our finance minister, P.Chidambaram, who is amongst the most sophisticated speakers i have heard, i am struck by the broad fundamentals that mean that 7+ GDP growth rates in India are definitely certain- 1)fundamentals of India continue to be really strong; 2)India has been mostly unaffected by the rot in asset classes; and finally, 3)the resultant deflationary pressure- reducing price of oil, energy and commodities , reducing input pricing.

However, one point that the minister made really struck- the US in his opinion (that i completely endorse), will continue to be the most dominant economic engine mainly because it is a talent magnet- the best brains of the world want to and will continue to go there. Hence, a provocative question- as the first world continues to implode, and the government's worries about inflation wither away, but growth still continues to be at 7%, is it time for India to shift gears on human capital development, and move into a much more aggressive drive to create deep pools of talent?

India is already an extremely entrepreneurial and capitalist culture. Whilst financial capital is a challenge, i don't think India lacks money. However, what India desperately needs is technology and skills, both of which are directly linked to human capital. Also, given the entrepreneurship and innovation in India, i am pretty sure that the only help the education and skills sector needs is an unfettered environment- Deregulation, no governmental interference and stay out of the way.

Now is the time, in my opinion, to change the paradigm of education in India, to deregulate, to bring innovation and help create skills that create the 10 Million jobs we desperately need.

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