Talent-rich India is the human capital of the world

India offers intellectual capital and human talent: High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan at the Indian Newslink Lecture on February 27, 2023 (INL Photo by Vikas Devarakonda)

High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan seeks closer partnership with New Zealand

Venkat Raman

Wellington, March 1, 2023

With its vast and varied talent, India has emerged as the human capital of the world, the country’s High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan said, speaking at the Indian Newslink Lecture on February 27, 2023 in Auckland.

Giving her Reflections at the Lecture on ‘Balancing Immigration to optimise Human Capital,’ she said that with the largest and highly qualified and highly skilled workforce, India offers perfect solutions to the skills shortage faced by New Zealand and its youthful population will be an ideal demographic mix.

“With a population of 1.4 billion, India is a country with a huge resource base. The average age of our population is 29 years. There has been a major expansion in educational institutions and universities including the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management. We have a New Education Policy (NEP) in place,” Ms Bhushan said.

New Education Policy

India’s NEP, in its updated, 2023 version, aims to make significant changes to the way education is delivered in the country with a focus on making the education system more inclusive, equitable and holistic.

The objective is to move away from the outdated and narrow vision of rote learning and memorisation and promote critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills. The NEP emphasises teaching a wider range of subjects, including the arts, sports and vocational skills, in addition to traditional academic subjects.

The new policy also seeks to provide a more flexible and diverse range of educational pathways, allowing students to pursue the subjects of their interest and commensurate with their talents, aspirations and goals.

Ms Bhushan said that young people in India are not only highly educated but also well-trained and highly skilled in various fields including Engineering, Information Technology, Medicine, Hospitality, Management and Marketing.

“The Indian diaspora has made a name for itself as a reliable, hard-working and honest resource. Mobility of human capital will accrue benefits to the national economy, employers and all stakeholders. India has several Mobility Partnership agreements with many countries in Europe including Portugal, France and Germany. Workers from India can help meet the resource gap in New Zealand in almost all sectors,” she said.

Mobility Partnership

Ms Bhushan was reviving the suggestion made by India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during his visit to New Zealand in early October 2022.

By implication, Mobility Partnership entails the free movement of people between New Zealand and India, which in effect eases entry procedures, enabling citizens of India to obtain visas on arrival at any port in New Zealand and a similar facility for New Zealanders visiting India.

Dr Jaishankar believes this is the first step in launching a meaningful and purpose-oriented business relationship with India. He had raised the issue with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Washington on September 27, 2022.

“India is open to business but its success would depend on the strength of our partnership. Our ‘Digital India’ programme opens many possibilities for cooperation. There is a need for mobility of talent so that we can promote globalised talent and become a truly global society,” he said.

International students from India are also an invaluable national asset as they have proven in almost every country around the world.

Thanking Mr Wood for his sympathetic consideration given to students who were stranded in India during the Covid lockdown, she suggested approval of their post-study visa.

“I understand that with the start of the new academic year, Indian students who have been granted admission are able to obtain study visas,” she said.

Qualifications recognition

Ms Bhushan appealed to the New Zealand government to consider recognition of Indian qualifications to enable Indian migrants to contribute to the progress of the country.

Australian Education Minister Jason Clare is currently in India, leading a delegation of higher education leaders to promote collaborations between the two countries.

Mr Clare attended a student exchange programme and held a series of meetings along with India’s Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to provide momentum to bilateral relations in the domain of education.

The two Ministers are due to sign the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications which locks in the rules for mutual recognition to access education in both countries.

Mr Clare said this will be the broadest and most favourable recognition agreement that India has signed with another country.

“This will enhance student mobility between both countries India’s National Education Policy, which has set a target of raising enrolment in higher education and vocational education to 50% by 2035, provides a genuine opportunity for Australian education providers to do more to collaborate with India,” he said.

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