“India has the maximum number of young people and these young people will enter the labor market in the next two decades.” These words by the World Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology campus, Jaipur, on September 23, 2015, had all of us listening with rapt attention.
Her interaction with the students of MNIT, and with 180 other institutes across the country including Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology who joined via live webcast, explained how the leading development agency is acting as an agent of change. She pointed out how India is expected to grow phenomenally and is now the 4th largest economy in the world, making it one of the most important players in the world today.
In her view, for India to realize its dreams we must focus on making youth productive, removing the barriers to inclusion, and on creating job opportunities for all.
Dr. Indrawati focused on women’s education and employment. She said that approximately 50 million young women are not educated and nor are they working, except in traditional jobs. Therefore, they are not able to contribute to the growth of the economy. India’s women and children also lack in nutrition. If women are healthy they can be productive and help in the development of the coming generation.
She spoke about the problems women face in transportation, saying that it will make it easier for women to work if such problems are eradicated. In this context, she praised the new women’s only taxi service in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
She mentioned how India is close to her heart due to its cultural similarities with her homeland, Indonesia, and pointed out that the ties between India and Indonesia date back to the time of the ancient epic, the Ramayana.
Despite being on tight schedule, she keenly answered our questions which ranged from shadow banking in China to the implementation of World Bank’s projects, often praising some young enthusiasts. The session was an enriching experience that gave us the golden opportunity to interact with one of the prominent people in the field of development. She motivated us and reminded us of how we all are central to the story of India’s success in the 21st century.
You are the future and you can make it bright, she said.