What is your current area of focus?
My focus is on youth and rural economy.
Anything to happen in any society is more like the fact that people living in the society are more like a train and the number of people are like a train and the number of people is like a wagon. The one who takes chance as an engine is an entrepreneur. At any point of time any wagon can decide to become an engine or entrepreneur. The moment the entrepreneur is created, a number of wagons can easily be taken care of. This is the importance of being an entrepreneur and especially for the youth because the dominant population of society is comprised by youth anyway. And the youth always carries a greater chance of becoming an entrepreneur than the old-age people for a simple reason that they can afford to fail a good number of times as no entrepreneur can achieve success immediately as it never happens. There is nothing wrong in failing a few times. This is where my heart goes out to people who are living to take some risk so as to create their own path and destiny as well. So, the opportunities in society should be multiplied in favour of those people who are willing to take risk and they shouldn’t suffer in the long run because they have taken risk. So, the policymaking should encourage people not to worry about taking up a job, thinking that even if I fail there will be a better job waiting for me because I will have the credential of enterprising.
Suppose you take a job today, then you can always take up a job, no problem in that. But, after having a few years of experience and with some savings of your own, if you are encouraged to start something of your known, there should be major incentive for that. Then suppose you fail even after that then it should not be seen bad. Rather, people should invite you for a job with greater position because this guy has an experience of enterprising.
Enterprising should be seen as more of a qualification. Ok, it carries a monetary risk, but it should be a career gain. I mean, it should lead to a career gain. Everybody should appreciate you in the society and organisations should come forward to offer you the job of a CEO.
Is it happening anywhere in the world?
Frankly speaking, it is not happening in any part of the world at the moment. But that doesn’t mean it cannot happen in India.
In my view, the world has already entered a new phenomenon, which has been provided by the internet connectivity. As a result, whether we understand or not, we are all in the same game worldwide. Now, the thing is the opportunities are multitude for the youth because no longer your idea has to be only India specific. And your idea can connect you to Europe, Africa or anywhere else in the world. So, the opportunities are in abundance in that sense, then there should be policies also accordingly so that it empowers youth to take more chances.
Education should be followed by some experience of working in some organisation. Eventually for an age-group of 30-40 years, there should be plethora of opportunities available to take chance.
Till date, the first preference of our youth is taking up a job. Now on, first preference should be that of not taking a job.
I mean you should be willing to create a start-up which should be able to create even a monthly revenue earning of Rs 50,000 to begin with. Later on you can grow your company to the size you want.
Millions of people should be taking up start-ups with minimum of funding requirement.
For example, there lies good chunk of land owned by the port authorities in Mumbai. If I become a minister, I will develop it as a residential and commercial complex. But each building will be built be erected by fresh pass-outs.
When you become an entrepreneur, then your utmost challenge is how to earn money. That kind of a little push is required initially.
My concept doesn’t mean infusing huge capital. But it only requires to create opportunities for today’s youth.
What is your second idea?
My second idea is connected to this idea as I have already discussed. My second idea says that if you look at a football field as an empire, then you find 22 players and you are not allowed to play into the ground. Rather you are asked to stand at a corner of the field. What will you call it stupidity. Isn’t it?
It is exactly what was happening in the country. People are living in towns and cities are quite less when compared to those 90 pe cent area is comprised of villages. When migration happens, these rural folks are compelled to urban areas in hectic search of job. Villagers who are having houses of 2000-3000 sq ft in their village, are compelled to live in slum areas when they migrate to cities. Hence these rural folk should be made to live in their own villages and doing some kind of commercial activities there itself. It means something has gone wrong with the country’s economy over past seven decades.
How can it be done?
There are business domains which are quite efficient and cost-effective in the rural areas. For that, think about nutrition and all other such industries which can be very well developed in rural areas. The idea is to check reverse migration. I believe in the development of small-scale and cottage industries to be developed in rural areas.
There are many clusters in the country. Think of Surat which is full of those clusters. They are not owned by a single person, rather than a group of family people. In cluster culture everybody involved is benefited out of it. You name any product and you will find they have been manufactured in various clusters across the country. It means that Indians are traditionally entrepreneurs and not that job-seekers.
Do you know that before Britishers came to India, 50 per cent of the country’s population comprised of land-owners and 20 per cent people of various kind of artisans and we used to export those stuff to foreign countries. We were always an entrepreneur society in yore. In due course of time, our self-confidence destroyed. This fear has to go and for that government and society both have to encourage entrepreneurship.
You have recently authored a book ‘Arth Aur Anarth’ which was unveiled by the Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. Kindly comment on it.
More than being a union minister, Nirmala Ji is a person of great understanding of things because she is herself a great scholar.
There is a sense in the present Modi government at the Centre as it wants to do some good for the country and everyone living in the country as a whole. In fact, the government wants to know what should be the best way to reaching out to the people living on the last mile in the society.
I wrote the book in English and then I’ve translated the book in Hindi this year. The book says that the world is right now passing through an economic turmoil and the reason for which is that the power of money has been hijacked by negative forces worldwide. At a time when the power of money should lead to prosperity of the entire society, it has been hijacked by few people with negative mindset. As a result, there is a concentration of money in a handful of people comprising less than 1 per cent of the population of the world. Majority of people is struggling to survive in every country. So, the whole model of socialism and capitalism are falling apart. And so-called powerful nations like the USA and the UK are now dealing with ever growing poverty. Thirty per cent of America’s population have turned poor over last 30 years. Even aged people in the USA are compelled to work in two jobs in a row to survive. The reason that people have converted economy into manipulation and speculation, Moreover, the way they are controlling the global economy, which is inter-connected, through the speculation in currency and commodity and everything. The currency conversion in itself is fundamentally a criminal act. Trading of currency should not be allowed by law anywhere in the world.
India is a new player in this whole thing because it has not been totally affected by this drama as yet. Now that India is rising, it has a choice. So, India can take the advantage of knowing that what is going on in the western world is not 100 per cent right to run an economy. It can learn what is the right thing in that economy and it can do away with whatever has gone wrong with the world economy because it ahs got a real life example of several countries before it.
You need people who understand the world economy and also understand the inherent strength of Indian population. For India it should come as an opportunity which comes after a few centuries.
How do you see the efforts made by the government in the country in the form of actions taken in forms like Demonetisation and GST?
You should know GST is a vital reform the country ahs been waiting for decades. The taxes are like bumps in the economy. But taxes are necessary for the government. Otherwise how can a government run. So, if all the bumps are converged into one, will you not like to have a single bump in place of a host of bumps?
GST has eliminated all kinds of unnecessary taxes and making government make money from an uniform tax.
Poverty is a man-made phenomenon as it acts like a tool which is controlled by the people sitting on the corridors of power.
Demonetisation has to be understood in a very different context. Demonetisation has become a tool of attitudinal transformation. Attitudinal transformation cannot be measured by numbers. The shocker of whole Demonetisation has brought the entire country to sit up and debate that can be have a country where dishonesty cannot pay? Gradually the whole nation is realising that if the government is honest and the tax-payers are honest, it will bring prosperity for everyone living in the country, It is like a shift in that direction. The nation has been going in wrong direction for a longer period of time. You tell me why are the talented people do not like to live in their own country? In the country you have to be dishonest to become successful for quite a few decades. Hence there is a need for reversal of the country’s economy. A train has to stop to reverse itself. The reverberations of Demonetisation will be felt over 10 years down the line.
As the country is passing through the biggest democratic exercise, which is general elections. There is a talk in various political circles that you may be roped in by the ruling party to contest in the forthcoming polls. What is your view on this?
Coming into elections, working for the country is an honour for any individual. And since I’ve already come to a point in my life as I’ve turned 61 years, I feel that I should contribute for the right formulation of the country’s economy so as to bring prosperity to those living on the last mile. The leader of the ruling party at present is honest in himself. I would love to participate and contribute to work with people who are in power.