08 Oct Lost Your Job? Piyush Goyal Thinks That’s a ‘Very Good Sign’
BY JAHNAVI SEN ON 06/10/2017 • 13 COMMENTS
According to the railways minister, the reduction in jobs just shows that more and more young people want to be entrepreneurs.
New Delhi: While most people in the country are concerned about layoffs, job losses and the lack of employment generation, and the impact this is having on India’s young people, railways minister Piyush Goyal seems to think the decrease in employment opportunities is a “very good sign”. His logic suggests that young people are using the proverbial lemons life is throwing at them to make not lemonade, but gajar ka halwa.
At the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit on Thursday, industry executives expressed concern about the country’s employment situation. Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal talked about how India’s top 200 companies had made “significant” reductions in their workforce in the last few years. “If these top 200 companies are not going to generate jobs, it’s going to get harder and harder for the whole business community to pull society along with it,” Mittal said. “And then, you will leave millions and millions behind.”
But Goyal wasn’t having any of that. Interjecting, he said, “Can I just add a little bit just to change the perspective from what Sunil had mentioned?… What Sunil just spoke about companies bringing down their employment is a very good sign, in fact. The fact [is] that today, the youth of tomorrow is not looking to be a job seeker alone. He wants to be a job creator. The country today is seeing more and more young people wanting to be entrepreneurs.”
Where do Goyal’s beliefs come from? Is there evidence that shows young people, after losing their jobs, are immediately filled with a new-found energy (not to mention the capital needed) to start something of their own? And even if they do, are they likely to be able to stay in the game for the long haul?
The Indian Express recently put together data from different sectors on the number of jobs that had been lost – and the picture that emerged of entrepreneurship was not at all pretty. In addition to everything else, a total of 212 startups shut down in 2016, 50% higher than the previous year. And this trend has continued into 2017 – Stayzilla and Taskbob are two of the biggest names to have called it a day.
Not surprisingly, these numbers aren’t really generating a lot of hope in the young entrepreneurs of India that Goyal is so excited about. According to a Livemint report, the first nine months of 2017 saw just 800 startups come into being, while all of 2016 had seen 6,000. If the thousands of people losing their jobs are really that enthusiastic and financially able to get their own initiatives up and running, that number should be going up, not down. Startup investments have also been low in both years, the report says. “While the amount of start-up funding so far this year has already exceeded last year’s levels, the volume of deals is lower, according to data from Tracxn. Start-ups have raised roughly $8 billion in the first nine months of the year, compared with $4.6 billion in all of 2016, Tracxn data shows. The volume of deals, however, has dropped to 700 compared with more than 1,000 in 2016, according to Tracxn”.