Trust walks extra mile so that village kids don’t drop out of school
The Covid-19 outbreak refused to be just a public health crisis; it has shocked the global economy. The pandemic’s impact has been far reaching. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy indicates that over 10 million people lost their jobs just in the second wave of Covid-19.
As many as 97 per cent households have experienced decline in income since the pandemic began. This situation warrants an assessment of how we can reskill youth for jobs.
Backed by success in mass vaccination, our country is on the path of economic recovery. The World Bank sees India growing 8.3% in the ongoing financial year. The International Monetary Fund expects the Indian economy to grow at 9.5% in 2021 and at 8.5% in 2022.
As our economy recovers, we will need to reskill and equip our youth with competencies that are sought after in the post-covid world so there is ample quality talent that to support economic recovery.
We must do all we can to reskill the youth to enable broad-based participation in the job market in the post-Covid world, where new skills are in demand and the way of work stands altered. India’s reputation as a service sector powerhouse is intact and the sector is getting a new lease of life.
Service sector jobs are aspirational and provide ample opportunities for learning, career development and lateral movement.
Youth prefer service sector jobs and see them as a segue into building a career. The services sector requires youth who are trained in skills such as English language proficiency, basic computer dexterity, personality development, soft skills, and retail management, among others.
The non-profit sector in India is playing a key role in driving access to opportunities for skill development in these areas for underprivileged youth. From cushioning our vast populace from the shock of the pandemic to skilling the youth for jobs, India’s non-profit organisations have worked tirelessly for the past year and a half to alleviate human suffering.
Now more than ever, the country’s non-profit sector requires more convergence with other stakeholders such as corporates and governments.
We must all work together to help the youth through carefully designed, targeted interventions meant to train them in skills that can get them employed gainfully.
Solutions for skilling the youth range from classroom training of modules to e-learning programmes. E-learning programmes and virtual classrooms modes have emerged as popular and effective mediums post pandemic as it allows learning as per one’s pace, convenience of time and place.
Many non-governmental organisations have led the creation of extensive training modules for skilling the youth. This includes e-learning modules. Such is the quality and impact of these skill training modules that they are being implemented in the curricula of mainstream universities, which are tying up with Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) for supplying them high quality training material.
The Government of India has designed and implemented programmes such as Skill India which aims to train 400 million people in different skills by 2022. These programmes need active participation of youth, particularly those from the marginalised backgrounds. And non-profit organisations are enabling just that to happen. Civil society organisations are driving population scale change in skill development for poverty alleviation, social justice and wider socio-economic impacts.
Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) have experience of delivering impact on the ground. They have strong on-ground networks and an acute understanding of just what will work to deliver impact. These strengths of CBOs complement the sheer reach of the government and the resources of corporates to effect large-scale impact.
The author is co-founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation titled “As economy recovers from Covid shock, reskilling youth is the top job”. The opinion expressed in the article are author’s own.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made five significant commitments at the COP26 climate summit recently. First – India will take its non-fossil energy generation capacity to 500 GW by 2030, second – India will meet 50% of her energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030, third – India will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now until 2030, fourth – by 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% and fifth – by the year 2070, India will achieve the target of Net-Zero carbon emissions.
Notably, this positioned India as one of the key signatories and spelt out the nation’s commitment towards tackling emissions from the burning of fossil fuel. While this sets out a clear roadmap for our country to follow, the intersectorial contribution of states, industries and people will be important in helping us reach this target.
The conversation on expanding renewable energy capacity by establishing the International Solar Alliance, handing out concessional financing and training by facilitating knowledge exchange are all initiatives already underway.
States have been asked to identify areas for setting up solar parks and given targets to meet energy demands through renewable sources. Private corporations have been roped in to reduce dependence on import of solar cells and international MoUs have been signed to ensure that waste management and recycling are executed properly.
From the macro lens, two major stakeholders – the government and industries – are working to fight climate change, and there is no doubt that their contribution will be key to ensuring that temperature rise is kept below 1.5 degrees celsius. However, this effort requires coordination and cooperation from every individual.
Youth and children will be worst affected by climate change and must be educated about the pitfalls of the society not acting in unison. Ushering in social and behaviour change will be vital as it will drive every individual to adopt a sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyle.
Schools have taken cognisance of the need to make children aware of the repercussions of climate change. They have set up modules to drive behaviour change. From plantation drives to energy-saving practices, today’s children, especially those from privileged backgrounds, are taught the best practices needed to reduce their carbon footprints.
Income inequality creates a big divide, increasing exposure of the poor to the impact of climate change. People from marginalized communities must be aided through innovative and impactful climate solutions.
The recent COP26 saw parties acknowledging the need to fully embed science in thier decision-making processes. We must build robust climate change mitigation strategies through technological innovation to address climate change at the grassroots as well as globally.
A number of corporates have now adopted robust sustainability practices and are imbibing systemic change by adopting technology to fight climate change, while civil society organisations have stepped forward to address climate action at the grassroots.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rededicate ourselves to innovate to mitigate climate change. It has highlighted the impact of infectious diseases on the global socio-economic landscape.
Climate change threatens to trigger the spread of a number of viral diseases with drastic repercussions. The urgency to act against climate change has never been greater.
Over the past decade, India has experienced several climate emergencies, from flashfloods to droughts to heatwaves. India’s action towards mitigating climate changeis dependent on multiple factors.
Our country requires all stakeholders – the government, corporates and civil society organisations to work closer than ever and devise solutions for the greater good. Each of these stakeholders brings unique strengths to the table and their roles are complementary.
While the government has scale, corporates have the wherewithal to fund research and innovation. Civil society organisations have reach and on-ground connect, matched by rich experience of delivering solutions at the last mile.
All these stakeholders must combine strengths to help humanity emerge out of the impending climate crisis.
The author is co-founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation. The opinion expressed in the article are author’s own.
The ferocity of the pandemic has forced innovation in health, education, and several other domains. It fast-tracked change that was considered radical not so long ago.
by Santanu Mishra
COVID-19 was a black swan event that had far-reaching ramifications across sectors. No sphere of human activity has been left untouched by the impact of the pandemic. But, in its truest sense, the outbreak of COVID-19 was a healthcare crisis. It shocked global healthcare systems, exerting unprecedented pressure on them. Make no mistake, our healthcare systems have emerged from the biggest health emergency of this generation. The ferocity of the pandemic has forced innovation in health, education, and several other domains. It fast-tracked change that was considered radical not so long ago.
A case in point is the way the pandemic shifted administrators’ attention to healthcare, an area that has traditionally not been the highest concern. It also forced innovation in healthcare administration and delivery. The result is the emergence of virtual health or e-health services . The e-health services market in India is expected to reach USD 10.6 billion by 2025.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, a 2019 McKinsey survey of health system leaders revealed that the adoption of virtual health services was highly concentrated in synchronous telemedicine, with limited investment in the full suite of available virtual healthcare technologies. Virtual healthcare adoption was low among communities from the lower and middle-income groups due to factors of cost and access. With the harsh progression of the pandemic, virtual delivery of healthcare services proved its worth to the society and the nation at large.
We are of the firm belief that India’s critical developmental problems can be solved by an influx of entrepreneurial energy, intentional capital, and resources through public-private partnerships – channeled into the social sector.
A combination of factors like technological integration, convergence of corporate and development sector stakeholders, and the emergence of a new crop of Social Enterprises is helping India achieve its sustainable development goals faster.
India is witnessing technological innovation which is solving societal problems with speed across various sectors. One such example lies in the healthcare space, where technology is helping drive access and is improving the quality of services rendered. The pandemic has shown that having a strong digital layer is a prerequisite for providing access to quality healthcare across the country. The only way to make healthcare delivery successful is to combine technology with the skill available on the ground.
For a large and diverse country like India, it is crucial to expand healthcare service delivery through the online medium. According to reports, the telemedicine market holds the most potential in the e-health segment in India and is expected to touch USD5.4 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31%. With artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive modelling, virtual delivery of healthcare services is well on its way to grow and democratize healthcare in India. Increasing adoption of virtual delivery of healthcare services augurs well for India and will help our country prepare for future health crises by improving resilience of the healthcare sector.
There is a need for all stakeholders to work collaboratively to increase the accessibility of quality healthcare services to all. The government, civil society organizations, and businesses will need to collaborate to innovate in the e-health services domain and innovate for social good to address the needs of people at the grassroots. The Ministry of Science and Technology recently announced the launch of a special incentive scheme to support several startups in telemedicine, digital health and artificial intelligence.
The healthcare sector is evolving at great speed in the post-pandemic era to grow and contribute to the Indian economy. According to data from Invest India, the Indian healthcare industry is projected to reach USD 372 billion by 2022 while the digital healthcare market alone is estimated to reach. USD 6.5 billion by 2024.
Expanding the virtual delivery of healthcare services will be critical in helping India achieve universal health coverage. The pandemic has taught us that a strong healthcare system is an absolute necessity for India and the world. Strengthening healthcare services with telemedicine and virtual healthcare to provide universal health coverage require policy intervention as well as increased cooperation among all stakeholders.
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Trustee, Smile Foundation