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Learning Entrepreneurship

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It is natural for the youth of Uttarakhand to be angry following the revelations on the recruitment scams that seem to have been endemic in the state. The pain is greater as government jobs provide much sought after security in an economic environment where private sector salaries are pathetically low. It has been the declared goal of state governments to boost the private sector, as it is quite obvious that government jobs nowhere near suffice to meet the needs of the increasing youth demographic.

If this were a post-developed economy, enforcing minimum wages would be one way of providing a decent livelihood to the people but, in the present stage of the state’s economy, such a move would only lead to denial of employment to low-skilled workers. It would be natural to assume that improving workers’ skills would lead to higher earnings but that is not the case in practice. This is because there is a cap on the price of the end product. Higher skills should lead to higher productivity but, particularly in the service industry, this does not always work out, as there are other factors involved. Also, owners of established enterprises are loath to pass on profits to the working class.

One answer is the promotion of entrepreneurship among skilled workers who have adequate experience in their domain. Efforts are being made in this direction but the age profile of the target group would be in the 30-40 years category. This is a stage in people’s lives when they prefer security to taking chances, because there are families to be cared for. (In this context, the Agnipath scheme will prove a boon as it will give young persons the funds and maturity required to take chances.)

It is unfortunate that in a state like Uttarakhand with enormous potential in various spheres, there is a culture that looks at government jobs as the ideal way of life. Youngsters waste the prime years of their lives appearing for examinations that will provide employment to only one percent among them. These ten to fifteen years can be spent on learning marketable skills and developing basic business acumen. Government is nudging society in that direction but most essential for success is the availability of top category mentors who can provide guidance to even the smallest start-ups during the crucial period before breaking even. The fact that there are quite a few youngsters who have achieved success in this way should encourage others to take up the challenge.