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“Creating an advanced, state-of the art skilling ecosystem is a must for addressing the challenges of future growth and employment,” said Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He was addressing the 6th Growth Net Summit, organized by Ananta Center and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with Smadja and Smadja being held in New Delhi on 18-19 June 2018. 

Highlighting the dynamics of India’s demographic dividend, Mr Pradhan said that manpower is the crucial resource driving the economic growth despite constraints on resources and skills.

The minister said that about 2.4 crore youth enter the workforce every year but only half pursue further education while about 1.2 crore are from the poor and marginalized sections and skilling and mainstreaming them remains a challenge. He also emphasized on the ‘quality’ of education and skills being imparted to this group.

Citing examples of traditional taxi versus cab aggregators and ‘kirana stores’ versus malls and e-commerce, the minister stressed that the character of the workforce is changing and the incoming workforce needs to be more dynamic and smart.  He added that industry bodies like CII and philanthropic organisations as well as corporates are important stakeholders along with Central and state governments, but given the magnitude of challenge more needs to be done.

Mr Harshvardhan Neotia, Chairman of Steering Committee of The Growth Net Summit and Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group, spoke about the need for skilling and industry involvement.

Mr S Ramadorai, former Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation, mentioned various initiatives taken by government and other stakeholders in building and enhancing the skill ecosystem in India and gave anecdotal examples of how these initiatives are improving livelihoods. He stated that industry involvement in skill development is critical.

Mr Masahiro Fukuhara, Founder and CEO of Institute for Global Society, outlined Japan’s intervention in skill development to match industry needs and academia. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is now dealing with this issue.

Ms. Lourdes Casanova, Senior Lecturer at Cornell SC Johnson College for Business, USA, stressed that the role of women in skill development and gender wage gap prevailing across societies needs to be addressed. She also highlighted issues of migrant workers and their children. 

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