Aatmanirbhar Bharat

23 May 2023

India is a country with over 1.39 billion people, 31 percent of which are between the age of 18 and 35 (Census of India, 2011) and many of these young people are in search of jobs, despite being educated. For example, only one in every four urban males under 29 years is employed even though they hold at least a certificate or diploma (National Sample Survey Office, 2013). It is the universal assumption that support for innovation for entrepreneurship development is the sine-qua- non for accelerating the economic development of any country.

Before delving deep in the subject, it is cardinally important for us to understand the concept of Innovation. Innovation is production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production and the establishment of new management systems. In fact, it is both a process and an outcome. In simple words, we can understand innovation as a new or changed entity creating or redistributing value. The renowned author and Management Consultant, Peter Drucker has aptly explained it, "Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth". In the present age of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the technological advances have been constantly innovating the Indian job sector, giving rise to millions of new jobs. According to the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) research, the future is set to see another three million new jobs in the IT space, catapulting India's tech army to reach 7 million by 2023. The new-age jobs are envisioned to spawn in emerging technology areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), big data, blockchain, Augmented Reality (AR) and data science, among others. While these technologies add greater efficiency to enterprise operations by reducing human hours and increasing productivity levels, the new jobs also call for skilled professionals adept at handling digital tools, which most Indian enterprises apparently lack at present.

These Digital technologies are bringing a barrage of benefits to people across the country. Mobile learning, for instance, is significantly flourishing in India, providing affordable, accessible and quality education to a huge populace in the country. These digital learning platforms are giving people instant access to several learning programs to study subjects that interest them. One just needs a smartphone with an internet connection to carry the entire world in his/her pocket. Similarly, with platforms like Linkedin, it has become so easy for recruiters to post jobs, conduct interviews and eventually absorb talents as per the enterprise requirements. From a candidate's point of view too, social media has emerged as a great job searching platform through which they can stay updated about multiple job roles and successfully seek an opportunity to work in their dream organisation. Likewise, the logistics industry is rapidly transforming by leveraging digital technologies like Al and ML, thereby pushing employees to upskill themselves every now and then to stay relevant in their jobs. When speaking of healthcare, the sector is already doing miracles by integrating robotics with medical practices. This upgrade has brought significant improvement in the precision scale and ramped up the success rate of surgeries. Leveraging other advancements like data analytics and big data, professionals in the healthcare sector are now able to store and analyse patient records anytime, which otherwise was a pressing concern for patients a few years ago. If we look at the Telecom Industry, Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) has predicted that it will produce 14.3 million new jobs in the upcoming decade. In the automobile sector, Al and Internet of Things, IoT, are the biggest digital tools to bring large-scale transformation, augmenting vehicles with high-tech concepts from connected-mobility to self-driving cars. While the industry is at its nascent stage when it comes to leveraging these technologies, the future is set to be a completely connected world. This will again need professionals who can handle such innovative technologies and bring concepts alive in the real world, giving customers innovative offerings like never before. While looking at the e-Commerce segment we find, from online shopping to digital payments, players in this space are consistently striving to create and offer seamless customer journeys while keeping their preferences and changing trends in mind. Currently, not only private but also public sector banks are associating with fintech companies to enhance their traditional mechanism and replace it with digital technologies to cater to the digital-first customers.

The instances evidencing the impact of innovation on employment growth are numerous- The country's first biotech startup Biocon was started in 1978 as a garage start-up, with just 03 employees in an era where innovation and entrepreneurship were unheard of. Today, it is an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company that is catering to the unmet global need for affordable life-saving medicines. Besides making a huge impact on global healthcare, Biocon has, over the years, created over 12,000 direct jobs besides having a multiplier effect on employment through the several ancillary businesses it relies on or supports. Similarly, Infosys sowed the seeds of India's US$ 180 billion information technology industry that employs over four million people directly and has created 12 million indirect jobs. The industry today contributes as much as eight percent to the country's GDP. Companies like Biocon and Infosys have demonstrated how unleashing the power of entrepreneurship and innovation can bring multiple benefits to the country and usher in a better life for millions of Indians. It is a matter of satisfaction that the prompt and timely realisation dawned upon Government of India that incentivising innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) creation is extremely important for India's future growth prospects. The faith that enabling entrepreneurs to propel ideas into sustainable businesses will add value to our economy in the long run and help the country achieve self-reliance, culminated into launching of the Government of India programme 'AatmaNirbhar Bharat', which undoubtedly is a laudable step in the right direction. Now, let us discuss the initiatives taken by Government of India for promoting innovation so far: Various Government Ministries/Departments viz. Ministry of Education (MOE), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Bio-technology (DBT), NITI Aayog and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) have launched schemes for promotion of innovation. Make in India launched by Central Government in 2014 to attract foreign investors and Industrialists to manufacture here in India, represents a comprehensive and unprecedented overhaul of outdated processes and policies, especially a complete change of the government's mindset a shift from issuing authority to - business partner. The scheme aimed at creating an ecosystem and environment for Manufacturing with protection of Intellectual property and encourage innovation and skill development, gives tax benefits, lower excise duty, access to Indian Market.

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