Skill building is key to sustainability across the world

April 17, 2017

New Delhi: There is a big divide between haves and have-nots with only the mobile phones connecting India and Bharat. The idea of sustainable development cannot yield results unless skills and education go hand in hand, especially among young people.

These views emerged at the national conference aiming at 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The conference titled, Shaping India 2030: Sustainable Development and Socio-Economic Perspectives & Challenges, was organised by the Amity School of Economics.

Seema Arora, Executive Director, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, highlighted an urgent need to sensitise the youth and for bringing students in the mainstream of growth and development policies.

“Students are the champions of new ideas and can play a major role in achieving sustainability goals. Consumers have an important voice and companies do what consumers want them to do. Therefore, as a consumer, we should demand environment friendly products,” she said.

Professor Ravi Srivastava, an alumnus of Delhi School of Economics and Cambridge University, said that sustainability is linked to bringing equity in the society which is only possible with equal opportunities for everyone.

Talking about the importance of skills for employability he said that various industry skills can converge into providing a sustainable society.

Srivastava lamented that colleges in India do not promote critical thinking. “Only two to four per cent of the people are skilled. There has been no distinction between education and skills. In India, educated have increased in numbers but skills are lacking, with only two to three per cent of the population being formally skilled. However, since 2007-08, India has embarked upon an ambitious journey to imbibe modern skills,” he said.

Mona Gupta, Adviser, Practitioner & Educator – Sustainability, SDGs, Skills & Human Rights, feels that economists have a role to play in sustainability.  “ITIs failed because they could not build in quality frameworks and could not develop an industry relationship or integration,” she pointed out.

Renu Bajpai, President, USD Consortium of Skills, said that women and sustainability are related. Focussing only on growth will lead to sustainability. “Unless and until we address, the socio-economic challenges prevalent in the society, we cannot achieve sustainable development,” she said.

Ashok Mittal, Professor, Department of Economics, Aligarh Muslim University, mentioned some of the government initiatives that according to him should go a long way in leading India towards sustainability.

Mittal said that demonetisation leads to paper less economy which leads to sustainability which in turn leads to more electronic transactions.

Mittal cautioned that sustainability should never be traded with desirable level of growth. He stressed on the need to provide new inferences on the relationship between the management of information technology, sustainable development and the innovative performance of firms.

Sumit Gupta, Deputy Director, Standards Development & Quality Assurance Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), highlighted the role of sustainability in textile industry.

Gupta shared his experience on how private sustainability standards or GOTS can be used to achieve SDGs. “Manufacturing sector can be used as a benchmark to achieve the standards,” he said.

Dr Shalini Singh Sharma, Director of Amity School of Economics, sharing her thoughts on the role of youth in promoting sustainable development said that the younger generation will play a pivotal role  in the shaping the India 2030 development agenda.

OneWorld Foundation India was the media partner for the second edition of the annual two day conference that was organized from March 23 to 24, 2017 at the Amity University Campus, Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.