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Wadhwani Public Policy and Research

Rainmaker of Massive Change

Wadhwani Public Policy Mission

The Wadhwani Foundation (WF)’s Public Policy and Research group is developing as the ‘go-to’ place for insights into jobs in India and related reforms that can unlock the creation of more high value jobs. The program drives policy adoption through research, advocacy and evangelization of economic reforms that have a direct impact on job creation.

The Public Policy and Research group supports other WF’s Initiatives through market data, analysis, and insights that would produce the most worthwhile outcomes in its programs spanning Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurship and skill development.

Wadhwani Public Policy Program

The Wadhwani Public Policy and Research Program is carried out through the Wadhwani Chair at the Washington, D.C. based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as well as WF’s Public Policy & Research team based out of its India Office in New Delhi. The United States of America is India’s most significant economic partner, and therefore having a policy footprint in both Washington, D.C. and New Delhi can help both nations realize greater commercial relations.

Wadhwani Public Policy Objectives

To trigger large scale job creation through economic reforms, WF pursues many objectives looking at challenges, the changing economic landscape and the emerging global trends that could impact India. Some of the policy priorities cover areas such as SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurship and skill development including:

  • Creating pathways for more students to become entrepreneurs, start-up businesses / industries creating jobs and contribute to India’s GDP
  • Enhancing employability of students through ‘Skills for Jobs’ and Apprenticeship enabling India to reap a rich demographic dividend
  • Equipping SMEs and start-ups with knowledge, advice and consulting inputs to help solve their problems and ensure their growth and profitability
  • Crafting growth-oriented packages of SME and start-up benefits that incentivize employment generation and business growth rather than exacerbate perverse incentives for such firms to remain small
  • Bringing in measures that help SMEs and start-ups improve their working capital availability and utilisation leading to higher scale of business
  • Bringing in a culture of innovation in SMEs / start-ups and encourage grants to translate the concept from idea to proto-type to fully developed product going for commercial production

Wadhwani Insights into Jobs in India

The Wadhwani Public Policy and Research team undertook an in-house study to understand the reasons behind the lag between economic growth and job creation in India in the last few years. It was based on multiple rounds of interaction with several stakeholders; analysis of existing reports of think tanks, industry associations and consulting firms; and desk research. It analysed the job situation in India amidst the reality of rising unemployment when most investments are capital and technology intensive but not leading to creation of additional jobs.

The study inferred that the possible policy interventions are confronted with several challenge in India given the gross job data inadequacy and inaccuracy wherein multiple agencies undertake sub-optimal employment tracking. The study collated sectors with high and low employment elasticity and ‘jobs-to-investment’ ratio in few key sectors. The study also looked at existing estimates to capture the job creation potential under different scenarios and found that the future job trends would be led by domestic consumption, services sector, micro-entrepreneurship and gig economy. Sectors which are certain to add jobs till the year 2022 were also analysed along with drivers that would propel growth in each of these.

The team would attempt to establish the way-forward for jobs data in India through a pilot at federal or state level. Thereafter, a strategy would get worked out for strengthening the team which would eventually enable the emergence of WF as the ‘go-to’ organisation for insights into jobs in India.

Wadhwani Public Policy Reforms to Trigger Job Growth

WF-CSIS has institutionalised a Reforms Scorecard containing several key policy interventions that could trigger job growth. Looking at WF’s own programs covering SMEs, entrepreneurship, start-ups, education and skill development, WF has prioritised the following reforms for immediate attention:

  1. Create a culture of innovation leading to new jobs by enabling innovation grants from Government of India (GoI) to SMEs
  2. Establish and operate a technology-enabled National SME Advisor/Mentor Platform for growth of SMEs and start-ups, including payments to mentors
  3. Establish Small Business Investment Corporations with GoI support to expand venture capital in 100 cities
  4. Provide tax credits to SMEs based on the net new jobs they create over 5 years
  5. Allow SMEs to get debt of certain value from banks and non-banks with soft collaterals
  6. Require all government agencies and large enterprises to buy at least 30% of their needs from SMEs
  7. Require all government agencies and large enterprises to pay their payables to SMEs within a specified period
  8. Enable Incubators to pay “Entrepreneurs-in-Residence” while they are incubating the start-ups
  9. Make Entrepreneurship a required part of curriculum in Intermediate and College education
  10. Make ‘Skills for Jobs’ training a required part of the curriculum in High School, Intermediate and College education
  11. Make a 3-month Internship mandatory in Intermediate education and a 6-month Apprenticeship mandatory in ITI & VTI training
  12. Establish Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for vocational training in high job-growth sectors through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and operated by Industry

The Foundation is working on research reports and other evangelisation tools that would be used to propel these reforms for eventual adoption at Government of India level. WF and CSIS actively track state level policy changes and shall take up specific reforms agenda with select state governments in future.