India has the largest labour force in the world with over 500 million people who are of working age. India is in a demographically favorable phase. Although India’s demographic dividend is usually lauded as one of its strengths, this has to be understood with caution. Unless skilled, and provided with employment opportunities, the huge demographic dividend that aims to propel India onto the world stage might end up being a liability rather than an asset. Consequently, this implies that the ratio of working age population to total population ratio is on the increase, leading to a need to provide productive livelihoods to the increasing number of young entering the workforce and also to those who are unemployed or under-employed.

India is graduating millions every year, but less than 3% of its workforce is equipped with the skills to do a job. With over half of its population being less than 25 years of age, the young workforce presents a tremendous opportunity to harness the country’s demographic dividend for the sustainable growth and social progress of the nation. Hence, the key to realizing the demographic dividend is the conversion of unskilled labour to valuable human capital. This can be possible by means of skill development initiatives. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there will be a demand for 500 million skilled workers in India by 2022. The huge deficit of 496.6 million skilled workers needs to be addressed in just six years, making skill an urgent national priority.

This need for skilling of human resource can be achieved by means of support of the CSR activities of the corporates in collaboration with the government and social sector organisations. Skill building is important tool for reducing poverty apart from enhancing competitiveness and employability. The private sector by deploying its CSR capital on skill development projects, stand to benefit enormously from the availability of a large skilled and disciplined workforce as it will help to build the overall capacity of the industry, which is currently facing a demand-supply crisis. Such a workforce can translate into better levels of customer service, reduced absenteeism and employee turnover, increased productivity and efficiency, along with reduced recruitment costs. It is such collaborative thinking and action that is required on the part of the government and the private sector, which will not only propel growth but will also, ensure that the growth achieved, is sustainable, inclusive and equitable. The Magic 7 CSR Summit will act as a nurturing ground for such fruitful collaborations to take place.

In order to ensure enhanced collaborations in the field of skill development, we need a national forum that understands the sentiments and needs of the industry and that of the nation. A forum where key insights can be gauged about the skill gap that needs to be covered in India. A forum like, the Magic 7 CSR Summit 2017.