Guest AuthorSreekanth K Arimanithaya
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Finding the mind and soul of Modern India

By | Sreekanth K Arimanithaya | Global Talent and Enablement Services Leader, EY Global Delivery Services

If you don’t push boundaries, how will you break them?

I often read success stories of techies who take up bio-farming on the side. These are inspiring stories of how they bring digital skills to drive niche agricultural success stories. However, I would be truly happy when I read about our farming community taking professional gigs on the side without making choices between the two. Bringing this to reality was central to the conversation with his holiness Swami Tadyuktanada when I had the opportunity to meet him this weekend.

To quickly introduce you to his holiness, Swami Tadyuktanada works with the Sri Ramakrishna Vidyarthi Mandiram (SRVM). SRVM is dedicated to making holistic education accessible to all strata of society, especially for kids from remote parts of India, by bringing together academics, wellness and accommodation in its residential institution.

I came out of the meeting energized and motivated, and here is what I learned:

  1. Education and or versus employability: This topic pops up more often than I wish to see, but it is true that job-relevant skills is the need of the hour. Our entire curriculum has moved at a much slower pace than the technology landscape. But the disconnect becomes starker when you go to the hinterlands. Soft skills, leadership, language skills, short courses on the latest technology, and professional orientation are needed to bridge the gap.
  2. Gig and digital tango: Digital has undoubtedly made many of the above accessible. But we must remember digital is conducive to driving change, not the sole catalyst. For this, we have to intentionally design opportunities. The Bangladesh success story on tapping into gig for economic success shows us this segment’s potential. A gig can be a solution to capitalize on the vast Indian talent market that digital has made accessible. In terms of potential, it is like having set up wide rail networks in the 19th century. The question is how will we leverage the digital infrastructure and freelancing platforms that we have at our disposal today to allow one to work from the remotest of places?
  3. Bringing together two Indias: The urban-rural divide is true, and we cannot move forward as a nation if we don’t move ahead together. So far, job creation focused on setting up urban migration around a few major cities, and now with some efforts, we have spread it across some smaller cities. The hub and spoke model works, but more is needed to tap into our massive rural talent pool. What we need is a radical shift in approach. While we take the jobs to rural India, we need to parallelly help them sustain and grow with what they currently do. For example: If one individual works on the fields from 6 am to 10 am, how do we make that time more productive (especially as India is troubled by small land parcels)? Can the same person pick a short gig second half of the day (provided we create the skill and opportunities)? So the potential of the person, land, and infrastructure are all being optimized, leading to the growth of the individual and the economy. As idealistic as it sounds – can you imagine the radical growth it can bring to the nation and its teeming youth?

What we need to remember as individuals and groups (social, political, religious, corporate, common interest, etc.) is that the growth of India is in its mind (skills and infrastructure) as much as its heart and soul (agriculture, trade, hand-on skills, etc.) — no success we script can be done in silos.

In my quest to find my purpose, I have recently gone back to my roots and am passionately pursuing bio-farming in my free time. I believe food is key to wellness – ours and that of our great nation. If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to write to me or, of course, connect with me. 

Republished with permission and originally published at Sreekanth K Arimanithaya’s LinkedIn

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