NITI Aayog CEO highlights education and skilling as India’s key to future success

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BVR Subrahmanyam, CEO of NITI Aayog, emphasised that India needs to significantly ramp up its skilling initiatives to achieve its goal of evolving into a developed nation with a multi-trillion-dollar GDP. “If we have to simplify the challenge for India in becoming a $10 trillion or $20 trillion or $30 trillion economy, I will reduce the entire challenge to one area — education and skilling,” Subrahmanyam said at the India Banking Conclave 2024, jointly organised by NITI Aayog and Council for International Economic Understanding (CIEU) in Delhi.

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“Education, skilling…education, skilling… that is the key for India to unlock future”.

Subrahmanyam highlighted that India’s workforce needs to be the best in the world and that is the only way the country can capitalise onopportunities in the future. He noted that education and skilling was the main reason why one part of India was doing well while some other part was not performing to the same levels.

“The more you invest in our people in terms of education and skilling, the more you will see the payoff coming. That is fundamental. Our new education policy has brought in a lot of features for this purpose”, he said.

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Subrahmanyam also noted that it would be incorrect to go with the notion that education and skilling is needed only for new entrants (young people in 15-19 years). “A chap who is operating a lathe machine may get a CNC machine or robot tomorrow, then he should know how to do that. The country needs as much skilling as it needs reskilling and upskilling. Government skilling programmes have to account for that and be massively expanded”, Subrahmanyam said. 

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On banks, Subrahmanyam stressed the need for a banking sector of different size and scale if India was looking at $10 trillion or $30 trillion economy. “How many Indian banks are in the global league? There should be at least 10-15 Indian banks in the top hundred in the world. That’s kind of scale we need. Are we thinking about that or planning for that?”, he wondered.

A day is not far off when the CEO of a bank would be a technical person and not a banker. “Financial part you can engage someone to do it. But tech part you cannot borrow from somebody else. Talent profile has to change and tech has to be integrated with banking”, he said.

Incumbents in banking sector must change and transform themselves to engage with fintechs. “You will never be able to match them in innovation because they are working in a different environment. You need to get them into your system,” Subrahmanyam said.

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