President of EDII Governing Board, Mr. Raghavan, Director of the Institute, Dr. Dinesh Awasthi, Members of the Governing Board, Students, Ladies & Gentlemen,
First of all my heartiest felicitation and blessings to all the graduating students. May God bless you. May each one of you aspire for the stars. My congratulations also to the winners of various streams. Friends, EDII has grown into a very beautiful institution in this country. Entrepreneurship Development is a niche area. Not only that, EDII was the first one in the country to fill up this gap. But even today, after almost 30 years of establishment of EDII, it remains probably the only one-of-its-kind of the country for which, I would like to pay my profuse regards to the founder of the institution Dr. V.G. Patel.
I have known Dr. Patel from the time when I was a student, and the way he developed this institution is incredible. I am a witness to the journey that he undertook. It has been a fantastic innovation in this country by a person who had the vision to think about it. He could convince the financial institutions at that time to fund an innovative venture. He remained the Director for few years and what is most important is that he stepped down at the right time. Most people in his place would not do that. Now, that is what I call real achievement.
So, I always hold Dr. V.G.Patel in high regard. My compliments to you Dr. Patel. I think you have served this country very well with this innovation. Friends, I have great memories of my association with EDII. I had multiple occasions of dealing with EDII but my first experience was in 1997. I would like to narrate the story elaborately. I joined the IAS in 1981. After 16 years of service i.e. in 1997, I was serving in Delhi. While I had made it to the IAS, I could complete only the first part of Post-Graduation i.e. M.Com. I could not complete the 2nd year because I had made it to the IAS in the first trial. I was supposed to go to Mussoorie for the training, so I had to drop the idea of completing M.Com. In 1997, I decided I must complete it. So, I filled the form. From Delhi, I came to Ahmedabad and decided to stay at EDII. I stayed at this very beautiful campus for a period of seven days. I appeared for the exam from here and could successfully clear it. So, in a way this is my alma mater also. I would request the Association of Alumni to enroll me as a honourary member, if not a regular one.
Now, the question is - Why did I have the desire to complete M.Com. after so many years? The desire had rekindled in me as I wanted to do Ph.D. one day. And, without Post Graduation, nobody would enroll me for a Ph.D. At this juncture, let me share a funny story.
When I was studying in my Post Graduation in the first year, we had Dr. V.G. Patel come to our class in the School of Commerce as a Guest Lecturer. I was a student in that class. Dr. Patel was at that time Managing Director of GITCO, and EDII was not founded at that time. He came and gave us a lecture on Entrepreneurship. One statement that he made left a deep impact on my mind. He said, "If you want to become an entrepreneur, the higher you are educated, the more likely you are to fail". So, he said that the chances of success of graduates in entrepreneurship is better compared to Post Graduates. Ph.D. holders, he said, hold the last chance. He says if you are a Ph.D., you are not suitable for entrepreneurship. So, I was quite convinced that I don't want to do Ph.D. but, then another incident had happened during the time I had cleared my IAS. I belong to Rajkot. One of my friends who was working with LIC, got very enthused. He said, "Hasmukh, we must publish your photo in the newspaper". So, I said, "Look, I don't have the guts to tell them to publish my photo. I am in the IAS. But you try it". He asked me for a photo of mine. This, I am talking about 1981. He took it to the local newspaper and said that there is a student from Gujarat who has made it to IAS and that this had happened in the state after five years. He explained to them that nobody from Gujarat normally makes it to the IAS but after five years, somebody had made it, so the newspaper may like to publish my bio-data and photo. And you know what the newspaper editor said? He said, "We don't publish photo of anybody like IAS etc. But, if he is a Ph.D., we can print his photo." This is a kind of ignorance that we have in Gujarat about the Civil Services.
Even among newspaper editors, this was the kind of ignorance in those days. Now, this incident was in the back of my mind. And, that time I had decided that I must do Ph.D. sometime as IAS was not enough. So, I had the desire to do Ph.D. that brought me to EDII and that was my most important association with the institute.
Now, coming to some serious topic. Friends, India is the most exciting place to be at this moment in the world. You all are lucky that you are graduating at a time when India is in its growth journey. Nobody in the world can prevent India from growing at the highest growth rate of GDP in the world. Compared to China, we are bound to grow at higher rate. And, there are three factors responsible for India to become a star now:
The demographic factor is our young population, the democracy, which is not present in all countries not even in China and the ample amount of demand that we have in this country. There is so much to do in this country - so much of infrastructure to build, so many people to be educated, so much of productivity improvement to be done in each and every sector. There is scope for improvement of productivity in agriculture, in services, in industry, in almost everything that we come across in our day-to-day lives. There is a tremendous scope for improvement in productivity and that is where we are in an exciting place.
Everything can happen. I would say sky is also not the limit. Well, you can do so many things even in the sky today. Such unlimited opportunities stand before us in our country. But, there is a big 'BUT' here. It would really happen only if we (means 'You and I') put our act together and do something about it. When I say You & I, 'I' represents the Government, 'You' means the citizens of the country and, more particularly, the young population. There is a lot of responsibility on you. A lot can happen if we put our act together. What is it that the Government can do? The Government has to play a very big role in ensuring that development is not limited to certain sectors only, development is not limited to a particular class of people, but is all inclusive. There should be participation of each and every one of us in the development process - even the poor, the middle class, those people who don't have opportunities, those people who don't have assets - everyone has to be included in the development journey. That kind of an inclusion is a must as far as India is concerned otherwise we will miss the bus. Of course, the government has to play a role of promoting infrastructure development, promoting entrepreneurship and ensuring that all of you don't just look for jobs. You are not going to be job seekers. You are supposed to be job creators. You should not be in line for getting a job. You all should be in the journey of developing yourselves as the finest entrepreneurs of the country so that each one of you can create 200, 500 jobs or even more.
How can the Government help in this? We have to have financial inclusion for this. A large population of our country has been denied the benefit of financial inclusion in this country. Today, as per the NSSO survey, there are 5.7 crore family businesses run by one person and two persons. They are giving employment to almost double the numbers. They themselves are employed, but on an average one enterprise is giving employment to one more person. So, 12 crore people are employed in these informal, one person enterprises. But, how much is the credit they are getting from the banking system? Just little, just miniscule. Six lakh crore is all that they have got from the banking system and that credit has also come from the informal sources of funding like baniyas (money lenders). It has not necessarily come from the banking system. Too little, what is the average capital with them including the borrowing? Around 1.5 lakh rupees only. If only, we could make more money available to small businesses, they could create probably 24 crore employment instead of 12 crore. We have to make available more finances to them.
The banks are not interested to lending to people who don't have anything to mortgage to banks. How can that happen in this country? We have to encourage new people to come to the fore & say – "Yes if there is a talent in you, I will give you money; please go ahead, do your business. This is the kind of financial inclusion we are aiming it and we must make it happen.
You must have heard about an experiment of MUDRA - Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency. It is a new initiative which we have just announced. The Prime Minister launched it. This is exactly the initiative which we hope will take care of the problem of 5.77 crore small businesses. They will be given some funding as and when they require at their convenience without charging too much of interest. Now, this is what we are aiming to do in MUDRA. The second major financial inclusion exercise the government has done which all of you are aware of, is Jan Dhan Yojana. We have been able to open a bank account for each family, in the entire country. The coverage is now 99.9%. So, each & every household has got a bank account. Having done this, now, the Govt. wants to go onto the next step of financial inclusion for them and that involves including each family of this country in an accidental death insurance of Rs. 2 lakh for an annual premium of only Rs. 12 and a life insurance of Rs 2 lakh. for natural death, for an annual sum of Rs. 330 only. These are the two insurance schemes & the Govt. aims to cover each and every family over a period of next two years. There is also a new pension scheme called 'Atal Pension Yojana'. It is also good for each one of us.
All these three schemes of financial inclusion are going to be bigger than Jan Dhan Yojana and because all the schemes will only be through bank account, so one does not have to go to any insurance company or to Pension Fund Authority. All you do is, give a letter to your bank stating your wish to be a part of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti Yojana or the Atal Pension Yojana. The pension scheme is also very good. You can start with a very small contribution; the corpus will grow to give you upto Rs. 5,000 pension at retirement. While this will suffice the needs of disadvantaged people, all of you will be earning much more and can aspire for higher level pension schemes. But, basically, what I mean to say is that Financial Inclusion has to be the theme now and fortunately with God's grace this responsibility has fallen on me as the Secretary in charge of banking, insurance and pension. We are trying our best as team India, to put in place those schemes which are beneficial for the poor, middle class and every citizen of this country.
Having said that let me come to the theme of what you can do as young people. I have only two expectations: Excellence and Right Attitude.
These are the only two things we expect from you. Whatever you do, whatever role God gives to you in your career, please play that role with excellence. Don't neglect. There is no substitute for hard work. You have to play your role with utmost efficiency and excellence. 'YOGAH KARMASU KAUSHALAM'. This is the way Bhagwat Gita defines. You have to excel not only in your role as a professional, but also in your role as a husband, wife, daughter, son, brother or a sister. Don't be wanting in those areas also. Have a proper family-work balance in life. Play your role successfully and excellently without compromising on quality. This is the first advice i.e. excellence. The second advice is attitude. Right kind of attitude. There are three things in this:
Your attitude to work should not be linked with selfish interest alone. Don't link anything that you do with selfish purpose always. Do it because you are convinced about doing it. Do it because you think it is important for you to do it. Do it because it is important for the society and the country. There are some excellent professionals who have got the best of efficiency but they will not do anything unless you show them how this is going to benefit them. Don't link result to the effort. Efforts should be independent of the result and that is 'Karma Yoga'. Effort is in your hands, the result is not in your hands.
The result has got some extraneous factors and those extraneous factors are beyond our control. It could be your past baggage of Karma; it could be somebody coming in between the opportunity. The results also depend on the efforts of the entire society. You are a good person, but if you were in Nepal and an earthquake occurred, what would you do? You have done all to build your business but the entire business crumbles when the earthquake strikes. How can you prevent it? So, the results are not in your control always. The results are controlled by some other power. All you have to do is to put in your best efforts.
The second is when the results come after putting your excellent efforts, how do you deal with the results? All of us have the habit of getting into a lot of excitement when success comes. We become elated, we start jumping, dancing and when there is even a minor failure, we become depressed easily. But it should not be like this. Elation and depression should not have any place in your life. Please learn this very important lesson today. We want neither elation nor depression. We want balance, equanimity of mind. Whether the result is good or bad, everything is acceptable to me –that should be our attitude. Only a person, who has got such sturdiness of mind, equanimity of mind, can make it big in life. Nobody else can do. You have to accept the result as they come.
Let me tell you a small story.
There was a farmer in a village. The farmer had got one beautiful horse from the forest. He trained the horse very well and the horse became very good. The king was told by somebody that there is a farmer in the Kingdom who has got a beautiful horse and that horse deserves to be only in the king's palace and not in the farmer's house. So, please try and get it. The king sent his people to the farmer and enquired about money for getting the horse. The farmer said sorry, explaining that the horse was a part of his family. He said, "I can't sell this horse." The people of the king went back. All the families of the village came to the farmer and told him that he was an unlucky fellow. "The opportunity was knocking at your door but you did not avail of it. What a foolish decision you have taken." The farmer replied, "Look, I don't know whether I am lucky or unlucky, but I have done what I thought was right." Few days passed and it so happened that the horse got lost. The villagers again told him, 'Didn't we tell you how unlucky and foolish you are! Now, you have lost both the horse and the money." The farmer said, "I don't know whether I am lucky or unlucky but whatever has happened is ok. After a few days, the horse came back with another horse from the same breed from the forest. So, now the farmer had two amazing horses. So, everybody said, "You seemed to be unlucky but it you are luckier than anybody. The farmer, however, was not elated. He said it was just God's desire and offered to train the other horse too. He asked his son to train that horse.
Now, when the son was training the second horse, it so happened that the horse attacked him, threw him out and the fellow lost his leg. So, again the villagers called him unlucky. He replied, "I don't know whether I am lucky or unlucky, but I will accept it." After a few days war was announced. The government decided that every family will send the young people in the war and so all the young people in village were hired for army. Farmer's son was the only one left in the village because he was crippled. Sadly though, all the sons of the village died; the only one to remain alive was the farmer's son. So the villagers again came to the farmer and said that how lucky he was! He said, "I don't know whether I am lucky or not. But, it is a God's will. This is the attitude of equanimity of mind. Whether the results are good or bad, take it in your style. No point in opposing. Nothing is lost as long as you are alive. Everything can be recreated. I don't know how many of you have got a chance to listen to the Stanford University Convocation Address of Steve Jobs.
One very significant statement he made was that, you can never connect the dots and make a picture of the present or of the future. You can connect the dots of the past only and find out whether everything is actually falling in place for you. If there is anything unfortunate happening to you, it is because it was destined to happen like that but ultimately most of these turn out to be good for you. Many of you will agree that there are events in our life which appeared unpleasant on the face of it but in the long run led to good results.
Just to give you all an example of my personal life - after my SSC, I needed some financial support so I had to take an education loan. Then, I came across an advertisement of Banking Services Recruitment Board (BSRB) and thought of applying for the job of a clerk. During those days, a clerk in a bank had job hours of only about two to three hours. They used to go at 11:00 a.m. and come back at 2:00 p.m. I applied for the job of Banking Service Recruitment Board (BSRB) and they sent me the call letter for written test. I did the written test horribly, and as a result, did not get the interview call. I did not get this job. Had I got the job, I would have never dreamt big in life. So, this is what you have to see that you can connect the dots of the past and not of the future.
With these few words of friendly advice from life's experiences, these are not sermons; I would like to really wish all these young people a very bright future. Let us all be a part of their journey.