A few weeks ago, I had received an invitation from the Director General of the National HRD Network, Dhananjay Singh that NHRDN had partnered with the Department of Labor and Employment of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and they would hold an event on 29th of August.
So yesterday, my colleague from VBeyond, Baleshwar and I made my way towards the Scientific Convention Center at the heart of the city. It was teeming with police and security staff, as the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Deputy CM, Minister of Labor and Employment and senior bureaucrats were expected to arrive.
From the NHRDN, Dhananjay Singh, Chief Mentor of Maruti Suzuki, SY Siddiqui and Former Director of IIM Lucknow Dr. Pritam Singh. Dhananjay in his speech pointed out that UP’s job portal Sewayojan is being seen by other states as a best practice. The CM also launched the mobile app of the job search portal on the occasion. It was shared that 600,000 job seekers have registered on the portal
The CM in his speech made a promise that 7 million out of the total unemployed estimated to be 10 million in the state will be ensured employment in the next 5 years. He said that for companies to be attracted to open their enterprises in the state, law and order and simplified labor laws would be a priority, He shared that they have already reformed labor laws and they have been sent to the centre for approval. He stressed that unionisation that is detrimental to the industry will not be tolerated and shared the example of industries in Kanpur and said that UP will not go the way of state like West Bengal. He also stated that he’s ordered the engineering colleges who were keen to shut down, to instead use their facilities for skill development and delivering short term diploma and certificate courses. The government is also looking at each of the 72 districts to have a specialty product for which it has historically been famous and to build the skills in people for that, like shoe-making in Agra, Brassware in Moradabad, Chikan stitching in Lucknow and so on.
Post lunch there was two panel discussions – one was on “Building a seamless Public Private partnership Model for Promoting Employment in State” which was moderated by Muninder Anand (MD – India and South Asia of Center for Creative Leadership). The private industry was represented by R Anand , Sr. VP – HR of HCL. HCL has been on a growth spree in their Lucknow centre and Anand shared with me before the discussion that they are looking to scale up the centre to 5000 people in next three- four years, by primarily hiring local talent. The government was represented by Rajesh Kumar, Mission Director, UP Skill Development Mission. It was an interesting discussion that focused on how employment is different from qualifications, and comprises of ecosystem factors as well as intrinsic factors like skills of the individual as well as soft skills. Anand was of the opinion that industry is consulted by the government when a policy is made but where the policy often falls short is at the “last mile” where if industry is involved it can have a better chance of success.
The second panel was on “Small Towns- The next Destination for Mining Talent”. It was moderated by K Lalit ,GM – HR, IR & Admin of Tata Motors – which has a manufacturing factory for their commercial vehicles division. Others in the panel were Prof. SP Singh, VC of Lucknow University who bemoaned the lack of communication skills in students and wondered about where they could be employable. Alok Sinha, Principal Secretary, Industries, Sanjay Jha, VP-HR and Business Excellence, Mahindra First Choice Wheels and Dharam Rakshit Sr. GM (HR) Hero MotoCorp were the other panelists; the panel was divided over the issue if there was any difference in talent between small town and the metros. One panelist actually shared how on his flight to Lucknow how many people in the flight were Lucknow people who were working in the US and Europe. A point was made that since costs of corporate rentals and land is much lower in small towns what is stopping corporates from opening centers there. Which brought us back to the point of communication skills and how small town talent that does not move out to the metros, often is found lacking in English which is the language of business
As Baleshwar and I were speaking later, the benefit and challenges of being located in a smaller city is something we know very well in VBeyond. We pay a fraction of real estate rentals compared to Mumbai and Gurugram (where we originally started) and since most of our talent is from Lucknow and nearby areas – the cost of living and therefore the compensation is also much lower than what we would pay for the same skills in a metro city.
All in all, it was an educational experience for me to attend the Summit – my first such event in a non-metro and I look forward to connecting with the larger HR community to make Lucknow a magnet for talent 🙂
Coverage of the Summit in the media in News18