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Job creation will drive next phase of reforms

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On the 25th anniversary of India’s economic reforms, a general consensus seems to have emerged within the country and without that the next phase reforms must address what has so far eluded agreement among the principal stakeholders: land and labour. Make in India will not happen if these two main factors of production remain entangled in political one-upmanship.

The government has made some overtures in the domain of land reforms, but the issues surrounding it have not yet fully crystallized. Unless there is clarity and consensus around land reforms, including land acquisition for implementing government’s industrialization and infrastructure development projects, the vision of converting India into a global manufacturing hub will remain unrealized. It is essential to pursue efforts towards a comprehensive land reforms policy relentlessly to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

In the field of labour, the exercise for rationalization and consolidation of labour laws undertaken by the government in the last two years has suddenly taken a breather. Despite earlier attempts to push the agenda forward, the feeling that the main stakeholders were not taken fully on board has provoked angry reactions among the major trade unions, which have threatened a nationwide strike in September. Recognizing the possible implications of unilateral action, the Prime Minister has reportedly decided to proceed more cautiously in future by taking the workers’ representatives into confidence.

Industry lobby FICCI had set up a special tripartite group to consult the stakeholders and make suitable recommendations for the government’s consideration. As convener of the special group, I held extensive consultations and submitted my report making a host of recommendations. Among other things, I advocated gradualism and proposed an incremental approach to labour law reforms in place of the wholesale reforms that were being attempted.

There really is no alternative to dialogue, compromise and consensus in the realm of social re-engineering. The efforts may appear tardy and frustrating at times, but sustainable results can be achieved only if we are able to hone the strategy of tactical retreat with a view to eventually finding the winning formula that will be acceptable to all.

The rolling back of government’s publicly announced EPF policies earlier this year is a case in point. The massive street protests in Paris in April and May 2016 against the French government’s labour reforms that were perceived as pro-capitalist portend social unrest that may become intractable if such sensitive matters are not handled with understanding and empathy.

The fact that recent amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act encountered widespread criticism from academia, social activists, international organizations like Unicef and others exposes the absence of broad-based dialogue and consensus building that is the cornerstone of progressive and sustainable labour reforms architecture.

Despite all the wishful rhetoric over the last two years of the present government, it is now common knowledge that enough jobs — especially decent quality jobs — are not getting created in the economy, particularly in the organized manufacturing sector. The government would do well to ensure that the frustrations of youth poised to enter the job market are effectively contained. Towards this end, the recent announcement about massive injection of funds for skilling and re-skilling potential job seekers is most opportune.

The concerned department and agencies of the government must quickly respond by setting up capacity and infrastructure to absorb the funds and put them to best advantage. The youth are impatient and care must be taken to ensure that the burning embers are not allowed to be stoked by “indosceptics” who have a problem for every solution.

Clearly, job creation is the single most important direction to follow in the next phase of reforms. If adequate numbers of jobs are available in the marketplace, the resistance to labour reforms on the part of the traditional trade union movement will surely mellow.

Meanwhile, the government should re-establish confidence and trust among employers’ and workers’ representatives by organizing impartial and meaningful tripartite consultations on labour reform proposals that are doable. There is no point in biting off more than you can chew. The priorities and pace of reforms must be carefully calibrated so that the achievements can endure in the long run.

The government has three more years to go in its first term. There is sufficient time to readjust the trajectory so that results start showing before it must inevitably return to the hustings. Alarm bells are not ringing just yet, but a gentle reminder is not out of order.

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Strategies to Quash Financial Crisis for those who are into Mid-Life Entrepreneurship

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Dec 8 : There are an  increasing number of Entrepreneurs going through financial struggles, because of poor planning and knowledge and let’s discuss the way out

The nascent stage of entrepreneurship is not the easy road, especially if one is a mid-life entrepreneur. Most have them have started their journeys by taking a dip in their savings and leveraging it to catapult their business forward. Vaibhav Datar calls for a sound planning and strong command over one’s financial assets which would assuredly help resolve expenditure, stress related to expenditure and negate the involvement of middle men (read taxmen) haggling the hard earned money and taking control over whatever little time the entrepreneurs have.

Not having a well paved path can lead to entrapment of the ventures who go back to the safety net of their salaried jobs but without any lessons learnt. These once enthusiastic entrepreneurs often end up blaming the market, the customer and external factors without realizing that the real change needs to occur within. Only if they had taken a hard look at their money and controlled their urge to splurge, things would have been different.
To avoid this conundrum, listed are the few strategies which will help mid-life entrepreneurs to move away from financial crisis towards financial abundance.

Vaibhav Datar said, “Creativity is directly proportional to the capital influx. In certain times if the entrepreneur experiences a dry financial spell, it is time to change the strategy and put creativity in full gear. The distinct element of being ‘out-of-the-box’ is helpful while it remains aligned to the industry and the business motive. This leads to combination of creativity and proactivity that can concord the perfect recipe for success.”

Vaibhav Datar said, “It has been observed that people tend to reject monetary help with no conscience. It is in the nature of human to be sceptical about the compliments or help that because one does not accept and acknowledge that what he/she earns is a reward for their hard work and knowledge. Compliments often digress to negativity where the receiver tends to believe in the ulterior intention of the other party and create a disbelief over something absolutely trivial. Humans immediately reciprocate a compliment with another one as we do not like obligations. Same thing can be applied to monetary assistance. We are inclined to believe that borrowing funds sets a bad example and any monetary transaction is pushed away because human mind doesn’t allow one to feel worthy of it.

Unless there is a valid reason behind this understanding, one should not push away help of any sorts and this idea needs to be implemented with immediate effect.”

Vaibhav Datar  said, “Quite often, people end up giving more funds than required. Why does one do that? The answer is recognition and appreciation. In one’s zest for adaptability & acceptability, it is accepted that respect and love can be bought with money.However it does not work that way. By spending more, people create an impression that monetary benefit is something that doesn’t matter as much as it should and by adopting this reckless behaviour, people often pave path to more such opportunities. Nothing can be negatively drastic than that.

In this time of online transaction and digital money, the feel of the actual currency is taking a back seat and earning money is no more a joyous option as it once was. By being grateful towards the earned money and understanding the value, not only entrepreneurs but every person will reminisce the value of every rupee earned and be more conscious of where it is being spent.

Financial knowledge has utmost importance when it comes to managing money and being aware of the flow of money takes the cake in any financial planning. Buy a book on financial independence, play business games like Cash flow 101, make friends with financial planners, read financial papers and increase one’s financial literacy.

Money is equated with water. As always said by the traditional people in India, akin to water flowing through leaking taps money goes away faster than you thought. By undertaking a critical analysis of the money being spent and understanding the conjecture at which it can be optimized, the entrepreneur can reduce the chances of acute dearth of cash and can rely on the well thought measures to punctuate the entire money repository for various other purposes.

As I go through innumerable life coaching conversations with mid-life entrepreneurs, I find an increasing number of them going through financial struggles, because of poor planning and knowledge. Let’s be more aware about our future financial needs and take concrete steps towards becoming a rich mid-life entrepreneur.

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ITC Infotech’s start-ups initiative to go global from 2019: CEO

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Bengaluru, Dec 8: In an effort to help start-ups showcase their solutions to a wider audience, ITC Infotech, the IT services arm of diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd, will make its flagship co-creation and technology innovation platform “iTech” an international event from 2019, a top executive said here on Saturday.

“We are planning to organise iTech in Britain and the US from next year,” Sushma Rajagopalan, CEO and Managing Director of ITC Infotech, told reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural day of the fourth edition of the event here.

With its operations spread across 18 countries in the world, the Bengaluru-headquartered company employs around 8,000 people globally. It currently has three development centres in India and one each in the US and Britain.

As part of the two-day “iTech 2018” event, ITC Infotech ran two parallel tracks — a start-up “Showcase” segment and a programing “Codeathon”.

The start-up “Showcase” was designed with the objective of providing innovative technology start-ups a platform to present their solutions directly to businesses in three areas — fintech, healthtech and Industry 4.0 — which included, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing, among others.

“This platform helps start-ups compete among themselves and bring fresh ideas to the tech ecosystem,” said Rajagopalan, adding that the top start-ups in each section would be rewarded with prize money.

Three winning teams will get a chance to win a prize money of Rs 2 lakh, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000.

“We also nurture interested winners and take them to the market,” Rajagopalan added.

The innovative start-ups can also get access to the expertise of the research engineers, analysts, business and technology consultants and industry domain experts at ITC Infotech’s “Innoruption Labs” that the company set up four years ago.

“Innoruption Labs can help the start-ups develop prototypes of their solution. In many cases in the past, we helped start-ups develop their solution and bought it from them later,” the CEO noted.

“But it is not necessary for the startups to join the ITC Infotech ecosystem. They can just take the prize money and find their own way to growth. The iTech is a no-string-attached platform,” she added.

For the “Codeathon” segment, teams were invited to address programing challenges that included building interactive mobile user interface (UI) component using platform specific software development kit (SDK), offline analytics for mobile app, offline app sync, process automation and labour matching for farming.

“Our vision is to continue to be a very forward-looking, industry-focused technology company. We are operating with a theme of ‘connected everything’. Innovation is a way of life for ITC Infotech,” Rajagopalan said.

IANS

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Start-up conference in Goa in December, says Prabhu

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New Delhi, Nov 29: The government is organising a start-up conference in Goa in December for budding entrepreneurs to woo global funding, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.

Addressing the TiE Global Summit here, Prabhu said that the government had been taking several steps to promote the start-up ecosystem in the country.

“We are working on a policy to provide mentorship to start-ups. We are having a series of talks with the regulator for reducing the regulatory burden, as well as meeting global funds for providing funding support to start-ups,” he said.

Describing India as one of the most congenial ecosystems for start-ups, the Minister said that efforts were underway to make these the “new drivers of growth for India”.

Noting that over 30,000 start-ups had already been registered in the country, Prabhu said that these numbers did not reveal the actual existence of many more which had not approached the government for assistance.

In 2017 alone, 15,000 start-ups were registered, he said.

Prabhu also said that since start-ups help create jobs and boost economic growth, the government was working on strengthening the ecosystem for them in various sectors, including in agriculture and services.

IANS

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