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The renewed focus on manufacturing sector, innovation and skill development will create millions of new jobs in India, top banker Chanda Kochhar said today as leaders from neighbouring countries Pakistan and Sri Lanka also vowed to take steps to boost employment generation.
Speaking here at a WEF Annual Meeting session on ‘Transforming South Asia’, Kochhar said, “India has been so far growing on services sector growth but the country is now focussing on manufacturing also which will create millions of new jobs.”
With Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe on the panel, Kochhar said that in terms of creating jobs, India is also focussing on innovation and skill development.
Sharif said that Pakistan is also focusing on skill development as 70 per cent of the country’s population is below the age of 30 years.
“There are a lot of institutions providing skills to these people. Government is also providing more money so that applicants can get easy loan.
“This is getting momentum in Pakistan. We want our young people and SMEs to become a major part of the economy for both exports and Pakistani markets,” he added.
Sharif further said Pakistan is also encouraging banks to give loans to entrepreneurs on easier terms and lower interest rates.
“The government is also doing its part, but it cannot offer jobs to everybody and primarily it has to be the job of the private sector. We are working on that. We have come out with various schemes to provide jobs to the youth. Government is not asking only those institutions to bear the cost, it is also pumping in the money,” he added.
Wickremsinghe said there is need for both formal and informal jobs.
“The South Asia or what we call Indian subcontinent is going to be the biggest region in the world in terms of population.
“The young people in Sri Lanka want a good life and economic development and we must give them that,” he added.
Kochhar said there is a huge focus on creating entrepreneurs in India.
“The government is going to make funding easier and more accessible for people to create startups. India has done a great job on financial inclusion and it is not only about ICICI Bank.
“It is not just about opening bank accounts but also the benefits to the people are going directly through these bank accounts,” she added.
Kochhar said the data is also helping in providing micro credit to the right people.
“We have coupled that with special schemes like small loans which are given to people on a proxy kind of basis such as how much utility bills they pay and how much they spend on education etc.
“To start with, we were much slower and even 2-3 years ago a large number of people did not have bank accounts, but a huge progress has been made in these 2-3 years. We still have a lot more to go, but with the penetration of mobiles and technology, that enables us to make much more progress here onwards,” she noted.