Knowledge Economy for 5-Trillion Economy: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out the mission to make India a $5-trillion economy by 2024. We are a $2.7 trillion economy currently at the end of FY19.
To reach this goal of 5 trillion club growth of 8-9% would be required in the years ahead. Achieving this kind of growth in the present circumstances seems to be a significant task, especially when economic conditions of the country are not smooth. It is clear that such kind of growth seriously needs investment in human capital of the country. This would require to shift the major focus from just ease of doing business towards sectors such as education. A holistic approach is therefore required to be truly successful. The government needs to lay emphasis on ways to encourage innovations, breakthrough ideas. An important asset that India has is its young population, however, if these youth are not channeled into the right direction they might create a burden. This brings us to analyse yet again why education is the key to achieve 5 trillion goal.
Education sector has huge potential to improve country’s overall stature worldwide. Investments in this sector will give results in the form of- higher literacy levels, job-creation, higher living standards, advanced technology, scientific innovations, health-awareness, development of scientific temper, social awareness, therefore overall well-being.
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This is an age of globalisation where countries are at competition, economies compete for the same set of services, products, etc. The thing that differentiates developed countries with developing ones is educated workforce. An educated and skilled person is likely to get high-wages because of her higher cognitive skills, early understanding of technology, etc. It is a fact that each additional year of education boosts a person’s income by 10 percent and increases a country’s GDP by 18 percent. The government must make heavy investments in education of individuals at primary, secondary and college levels. If the population of a country is educated, income distribution will also be balanced which would help in bringing down disparities and help to boost growth.
The annual status of education report 2018 has shown 70-74% of children are regular in schools, and far fewer in secondary schools, this figure lags much behind developed countries.
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The focus should be on general schooling as well as specific areas such as skill-development for space science, building defense equipments, etc. This would also make India self-sufficient in production and reduce dependency on imports. People can be provided with diploma courses or specific courses which may find them work. Educated people are likely to take up job in secondary and tertiary sectors and help them shift from agricultural reliance it may also help to end the disguised employment in indian farms. Comprehensive programs especially for girl children must be rolled out, only when a girl is educated can she take up jobs and contribute towards the economy.
Skill-development programs in various activities such as- food processing or technical knowledge for small to medium scale industries can be provided to women in villages along with revamping of policies such as MGNREGS can help women to take up jobs and contribute towards the economy. Baby steps in education sector can do wonders if formulated and implemented honestly. Certain policies must also be formulated especially for differently-abled people, ethnic minorities, migrant groups.
Another important paradigm shift is required in the mentality of young population. Today’s youth largely has a job-seeking temperament. A job-creation mentality is rarely visible today. A job-seeker mentality of Indian youth has created an imbalance with rising number of people seeking jobs but very few wanting to create one. This is a very big reason why the so called dream companies are American or European or Japanese in origin. Today’s economic slowdown has lower demand as a major contributing factor, low demand originates because of economic-crisis in households, which is again due to low-paying jobs or no jobs.
It is a shame that there is not even a single Indian university in top global 200 list. It must be analysed where we are lagging behind and work towards it. At last, reforming the education system such that classrooms offer more practical knowledge which could be used in real life is immediately required. Spending time in schools and colleges won’t do unless some learning takes place over there.
In a nutshell, – “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
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