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On entrepreneurship, listen to Infosys’ Murthy

Infosys Ltd co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy said India is facing a huge talent crunch, which, in turn, is affecting entrepreneurship

editorials Updated: Apr 19, 2018 11:03 IST
Co-founder and former chairman of Infosys Technologies NR Narayana Murthy
Co-founder and former chairman of Infosys Technologies NR Narayana Murthy(PTI)

In January, speaking at the 22nd National Youth Festival in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his government is willing to hand-hold young entrepreneurs. While his support for aspiring entrepreneurs is commendable, the plan could run aground because, as Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Limited NR Narayana Murthy, warned on Tuesday, India is facing a huge talent crunch, which, in turn, is affecting entrepreneurship.

The reasons behind this talent crunch are well known: first, the obsolete education system, which still focuses on rote learning and does not encourage students to think independently ; second, as Mr Murthy pointed out, that “unless we become an open society with an open mind, I don’t think we will be in a position to help our youngsters become better entrepreneurs”. Third, we need to link the education system with industry to develop the skills of young people and give them the right exposure so that they have the requisite knowledge to decide on their future careers. Fourth, India does not have a policy on apprenticeship, this needs to change; and fifth, the government has to be largest enabler for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. But many state governments are failing to push through the Skills India and Start-up India programme. This needs to change.

Since jobs are hard to come by — a report on Tuesday said doctors, MBAs and engineers are in a race to become constables in the Mumbai police — India’s future depends on the young entrepreneurs. And it is not that it is not happening; there are hundreds of small tech firms that are providing solutions to India’s multifarious problems, from transport to sanitation, and employing people. Then there are NGOs which are financing and training entrepreneurs. But these efforts will not bear fruit unless the basic issues that prevent young people from becoming successful entrepreneurs are not taken care of.