Ambani stresses imparting skills to Indian youth

May 1st, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by admin  

By Parveen Chopra
New York, May 1 (IANS) Two key areas India must focus on are education at all levels and giving skills training to the youth entering the work force, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said here. Speaking at the annual fundraising gala of the American India Foundation (AIF) at Waldorf Astoria hotel Wednesday, after being honoured for his economic and philanthropic commitment to India, Ambani praised the organisation which announced its commitment to expanding its vocational training programme in the country to 100,000 urban unemployed youth.

According to AIF, 70 percent of the Indian workforce is under the age of 30, and 80 percent of the young people entering the workforce do not have high-school education or skills that are needed in the job market.

Ambani said that in a billion-strong India, where some see a billion problems, there are a billion opportunities too.

Calling for a more equitable social order, Ambani, among the top five richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $43 billion, said the business of business is to bridge disparities between the rich and the poor. “There cannot be an island of riches in an ocean of poverty,” he said.

He also called for the successful American Indian community to fully commit itself to the development of India.

Besides Ambani, AIF also honoured General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt at the gala, attended by 900 corporate leaders, philanthropists and community leaders.

AIF was able to generate nearly $6,500,000 at the fundraiser: $2 million from dinner ticket sales and the rest through pledges by various people, the amount that will be trebled by Ambani and doubled by the Indian government.

AIF’s stated mission is to accelerate social and economic change in India. By mobilising people and resources in the US, AIF has invested in over 100 Indian NGOs since its inception in 2001.

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