GES Summit: Ivanka Trump, advisor to US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, heaped praise on India’s growing technological prowess, saying the country has made its outreach from Moon to Mars. “Through your own enterprise, entrepreneurship, and hard work, the people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty – a remarkable improvement, and one I know will continue to grow under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. All of you are helping India’s middle class reach its goal of nearly 500 million people by 2030. You have opened new universities across the Country. Your doctors and scientists are discovering medical cures and life-saving technologies. Your engineers and architects have built modern wonders that grace your skies. And Indian spacecraft have traveled to the Moon and to Mars,” Ivanka said at the Global Entrepreneurs,” she said.
The US first daughter said what India is achieving is “truly extraordinary”. Ivanka’s speech wasn’t just plain flattery but facts that have helped India make a name for itself in the comity of nations. However, the country can’t afford to just sit back and feel happy. There are multiple challenges, on almost every front – from jobs to poverty to tensions in some parts. As Ivanka was addressing the summit on entrepreneurship, here it is important to talk about what is holding India back, despite being home to largest young population of the world and some of the top Global CEOs of the country.
Most of the discussion on slow growth of entrepreneurship in the country focus on government support and absence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Lately, a number of start-ups have gone bust. Over 200 start-ups were reported to be shut down in 2016, while this year also has not been good for start-ups. According to start-up tracker Tracxn, only 800 start-ups took birth in India in 2017, while this number was 6000 in the previous year.
It is true that all start-ups cannot succeed, and not everyone can come up with a winning formula all the time. But then, it is also true that some basic fallacies of the society and systems are holding the country back. The biggest of them is almost rotten education system that fails to produce mass number of well-trained youth who can take on all challenges life offers. The failure of education system leads to unemployment and then to social tensions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi often emphasises India’s youth power from all stages he get access to – be it in India and the world. However, problems for the Indian youth are bound to multiply in coming years, especially when new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are said to take away millions of jobs in coming years. Ivanka’s praise, however, is still a matter of pride for India. But then a lot needs to be done.