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Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India, Government of India addresses the Nasscom Tech and Leadership Forum 2022
Nasscom Tech and Leadership Forum 2022 highlights the "The Power of Transformation" in conversation with Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India. Speaking to the Union Minister, Debjani Ghosh, President of Nasscom talks about India's Techade: Aspirations and Actions as we stride ahead to become a trillion dollar digital economy. Here is an excerpt of that conversation-:
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar: Data protection is a discourse that is some years old. You know, as a as a member of Parliament, I was one of the few that actually approached the Supreme Court on this issue. We have our draught legislation that then went to Parliament, and now the parliament has given it back to government over the Commons on it. And but the origins of that bill are about three the the the provenance ofthe bill are about three years old and a significant amount of changes have happened since that. So there is a natural number of people who are commenting on and writing to me, talking to me about whether the bill is needs to be further improved, further discussed whether the bill meets the full spectrum of the need to be a and flexible given the changes in the future. So those that discussion is on. Give me my own view on this is and I say this and I've said this in the past that it is important to get the next bit of legislation very right. And I don't mean very right in terms of the details of the right. As much as the ability for it to be flexible and evolutionary, I think we would be making a big mistake if we are moving to legislation that is very hard coded, very embedded in terms of principles that may not be necessarily evaluable and are very, let us say, cutting. And so and for all of those reasons, I think the fact that we need a new digital law because our current legislation is 20 years old, the idea that we and we need a more of a law for the internet and that we have this data protection law that addresses the issues of the citizen's right to privacy and lays out the rules for all of the internet. It is. But you know, the flipside of that is we want to make sure that the the momentum of our Start-Up ecosystem is not blunted by even one percentage if if the regime hints at a higher degree of compliance costs and higher degree of compliance bureaucracy. So these are all issues that you know, frankly, the prime minister has always said in these areas, you must have as much public consultation as possible. And you know, we are talking to people. The bill has been referred back to the ministry as you know, and I have been flooded with letters from all kinds of industry associations, critique, you know, critical of it, supporting it and so on and so forth. So we will continue this conversation for a little bit longer, in my opinion, because I mean, I would not want to just rushing into something, and I have to, in a sense, then go back with more amendments and correct things and so on
and so forth. You're absolutely right. The goal needs to be needs to get a signal that the Indian cyberspace to safe, trusted. It's open, it's accountable and most importantly, very predictable in terms of what the jurisprudence around it is. And I think that is our mission and that is our goal and we will work at it
Debjani Ghosh: Now lets switch tracks a bit to talk about talent, which is also another big charter that you hold. You know, the prime minister rightly said that in coming years, India will be the biggest supplier of workforce to the world. Completely agree with that. In fact, in the in the report that we just launched, It was interesting to see that over five million workforce that the tech industry employs nearly around 1.6 million digital. That means one out of three are digitally skilled and the number is just growing every day. It was also interesting to see that, given that globally there's a gap between demand and supply in digital talent, India actually has the shortest or has the lowest score of twenty one point one percent gap between demand and supply, whereas countries like US UK are in the high 27 to 30 percent. So we actually have a huge advantage there. But today the needs are changing, especially for our industry. What we are seeing is people want companies are hiring more for your, you know, the way you think, how fast you can learn and the skills can be taught. You know, it's more for your attitude than your aptitude and your aptitudes with what we have, we are training them on. So question to you is, is what you thought and how we can change the education, the core education system to focus on growing this, the cultural for a generation of learners curiosity, you know, people who collaborate, people who ask questions, sort of how do we instil that curiosity and love for learning versus just embodying knowledge? Is that is that a goal and how do we enable it?
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar: Well, I think that is a very good question, and it is a very relevant question, more relevant, more than more relevant even now. Even so, in the post COVID, you know that we are living in bed and there was a demand for a new renewal of skills. There is a demand for more and more digital skills, and there is a demand for more and more people to skill themselves digitally. So, you know, there is a completely, in my opinion, a new paradigm to learning that is evolving post-COVID during COVID and post-COVID. And there is a new part of what people want to learn. So both these things are happening almost simultaneously. Look, as far as if you just step back a minute to look at where India is today on the education, learning and skilling space we have now in 2020. So let me give you a little backstory in the five years since the prime minister launched the Skill India mission. I don't know if you have it, but this is a good number for your audience to know. The government skilling programmes skilling alone, not education, by the way, has killed all 50 million Indians, five crore Indians. And of course, these are all primarily blue collar, with some small percentage of the white collar space in the tech space. But I'm putting the number out there not to show the efficacy of our schooling system, but to show you the numbers that are in the skilling network at any given point in time. Now, fast forward to 2020. The government has created, in my opinion or enacted the the biggest reform in education since independence, which is a new education policy which in a sense converges vocational training and education. The conventional education in old people, the new model for children where they can choose higher education when they get out of school, they can choose skilling and vocations when they get out of school and go. They're can to sports. And all three are essentially independent career tracks that are available to them that they can start thinking about wandering about experiencing whilst in school. So it is not that you end up with the standard and suddenly are left with either an option of dropping out of school or going into a bachelor's programme in that you get admission. So I think there is that fundamental reform that has happened. The second thing is on the 15th of July, about eight days after I was given this responsibility, the prime minister told us passed us with a reimagining skilling in this new post-COVID world. So we are doing a lot of things on skilling that go to the heart of your question, which is how do we take those who are skilled who need to be? How do we take people who are skilled, who need to be upskill? And how do we take people who have absolutely no skill and make them skilled? And this could be a graduate becoming a tech tech, getting into the tech workforce? It could be a tech workforce who is going up the value chain and learning and other forms of. What and it could be somebody who is completely outside the system who has never been in the tech space and wants to be part of the digital space and gets in there through a series of skilling skills and programming and coding and then getting into the into the workforce. One thing is sure the amongst the young Indian today, whether he's in Lucknow, he's in kahoma, he's in he or she is in Zinogre or in Bengaluru or uni or Jubilee or Dawa. The appetite for all our young Indians to get on this education, skilling, micro entrepreneurship, you know, workforce of sort of the runway is tremendous. And I think, if anything, I'm excited about his responsibility and excited by what we are doing. But sometimes always overawed by the the sense of expectation and the the the the the audience that we are addressing. Because India is such a huge country and one of the things that the prime minister has done is, in a sense, unlock and unleash ambitions and aspirations of every Indian across India. And so that can be a little more inspiring sometimes and breathtaking in terms of I just finished the programme today. It was a political programme and a party programme. And on this all the questions that I had to take what to do with skilling. So and I think that there's a lot of good and other people are aware of that. They are very aspirational, but it puts a lot of pressure on us to deliver exactly what they want. And you know, we are working with future scares prime with people such as yourself on the higher end of the skill matrix on how to address the white-collar demands of the world. And I was recently in Dubai and I was at a meeting breakfast meeting with a large number of traditional labour, let's say, labour companies or workforce outsourcing companies. And they were all now interested in rejigging and reimagining their engagement with India from being purely blue collar to now blue collar and white collar. Because every economy is digitising businesses as far away as Africa digitising, and they all want the white collar capabilities as much as they want our blue collar. So I think it's a good opportunity for India, and we are we are very engaged on it and I hope we will deliver.
India's Techade: Aspirations and actions with Rajeev Chandrasekhar at NTLF 2022
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