To overcome the scarcity of local talent, and to make the local youth employable, a major project is being launched by NASSCOM Haryana in collaboration with the State government. The Project aims to plug the skill gap in the State, by first assessing the skills of the youth studying in various technical and non-technical institutions, says Subinder Khurana, Chairman of the Haryana Chapter of Nasscom. Khurana is a veteran of the IT industry, having incubated several IT startups, and till recently he was a Vice President at IT major Cognizant.
The government has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 1.3 crore for this Project, which should be launched by the end of this month. “The Chief Minister has given his assent, and as soon as an MoU is signed, this Project will be officially launched in 20 institutions across the State,” says Khurana. A Taskforce, led by the Chief Secretary, Haryana, and including eminent educationists and top professionals from the IT industry, has formulated this Project, and will oversee it.
To implement this partnership project, a number of interventions have been identified: Skill Gap Analysis, faculty and select students' training programmes, industry visits, internships, in-house training programs, participation in job fairs organised by colleges, and campus interviews. These interventions will be delivered as per a Plan and process, and outcomes will be measured. Khurana says that individual companies can customise these interventions within the overall objectives.
As per the Plan, a hundred students from twenty chosen colleges will be identified, and engaged for a period of one year – during which a collaborating IT company will provide different soft skills and training. Khurana says that this will help to resolve the major problems being faced by the IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) industry, of a lack of local talent, and a failure of the academic institutions to impart employable skills to the students. The Project will help identify talent on an on-going basis.
The main objective of Nasscom-Haryana is to develop the State as a leading destination for the IT and BPO industry. “We want Haryana to compete successfully for investments with national and international destinations. IT should also help in the social and inclusive economic growth of the State, and help in the growth of infrastructure – both in Gurgaon and across Haryana,”
There is also a need to upgrade the civic infrastructure – in terms of roads, sanitation, power, water, and several other issues that directly impact the lives of citizens. “Right now Brand Gurgaon is losing its sheen, because of the inability of the City managers to provide a good quality of service and life to residents,” he says.
One solution for this problem is to expand Gurgaon, by developing Manesar into a world class destination. The concept of Greater Gurgaon has to evolve, as the locational teams of IT companies choose new locations after a very microscopic investigation. There is need to ensure that connectivity is improved between different parts of the State, especially Gurgaon and Manesar. “Better roads, better transport network and communication facilities need to be created,” he says. Khurana believes that since Manesar also has the locational advantage, and a lesser cost of realty space, its growth will help reduce the pressure on Gurgaon.
“Gurgaon has now to establish itself as a destination for a specific IT domain. Bangalore is known for high-end IT development, and Pune for smaller leaner start-ups. Gurgaon is known for BPOs, but this is an industry of the past – we have to look towards the future,” he asserts.
Khurana wants the Indian IT and ITES companies to graduate towards high-end work – developing new IT products, entering Business Analytics, and mining Big Data. One of the IT companies that he has mentored has developed a high-end back-up product called Dhruva, which has gone on to win global acceptability.
“How we promote new ideas is critical. Promoting start-ups is very important to make India a technology leader,” he says. The real idea now is to play on the value side, and offer services that impact the client’s topline. The service should be less about cutting cost, and more about adding to the revenues of the clients, believes Khurana.
“There is also need to invest in schools and colleges, to meet the industry requirements, by imparting soft skills training, language training and vocational skills,” says Khurana.
When asked whether IT companies could go to smaller towns/rural areas, the response is negative. “For an IT company to set base, there is need for local talent, management, power, infrastructure, and strong IT services. Right now the rural areas do not have the right infrastructure, but slowly the things will change,” he says.
Having an entrepreneurial streak, Khurana has mentored several companies, that include Just My Neighbourhood and SmartRide bus service. While Just my Neighbourhood helps communities to connect online and share services and experiences, the Bus ride is helping Cyber City employees travel with ease across the City.
Being an active member of the The Indus Entreprenuers (TIE), Khurana has had experience of incubating several startups, and interacting with young talent. In his view, Indian youth have the talent and experience, but they lack basic skills of business – such as Marketing, HR, Sales. “At TIE we have created a mini-MBA Programme that trains students for 2 hours in various business functions. We invite an entrepreneur and an industry expert, and help the youth to understand business in a practical manner,” he says.
In addition to his work with NASSCOM, and in the IT space, Khurana has been an active and responsible citizen of Gurgaon. He has been participating in various civil society initiatives to help the Millennium City become a better place to live in.
“Gurgaon is our home and we should all work together to make it a world class place to live in,” he says. Khurana says that the ‘Third Eye’ project is one of the most important projects that he has worked on, to bring sanity on Gurgaon roads. “At one point of time the policemen were clicking 2,000 pictures daily, and it helped greatly in bringing discipline on the road. This Project was conceived and planned by us, we created the software, and brought in Nokia as well,” says Khurana, while recounting that once the brother of then Commissioner Deswal was challaned for violating a traffic rule.
He is also on the Committee of the Bio-diversity Park, and helping it become more green, to act as a green lung of the City. He was also behind the successful move of diverting the traffic in Cyber-City, to make the road one-way.
While asking the citizens of Gurgaon to consider the City as their own, Khurana believes that Gurgaon has what it takes to become a Millennium City. What is needed is a sense of responsibility and unity of purpose among the various stakeholders.