For three quarters of known economic history, i.e, until 1750 AD, the Indian subcontinent accounted for one third or 33 percent of global GDP because of its free markets and private enterprise-driven economy. The subcontinent’s manufacturers, traders and businessmen freely established business enterprises and marketed their goods across the country and around the world. This centuries-old Indian tradition of free enterprise was weakened by the British who ruled India for nearly 200 years. They suppressed indigenous industry and trade under preferential imperial tariff rules and regulations. Nevertheless, a substantial number of private industry leaders persevered to promote large industries and corporates that funded India’s freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. These post-World War II leaders of industry were poised to lead post-independence India into a new era of economic revival and prosperity. But a sharp left turn into socialism scotched India’s ancient tradition of free markets and private enterprise transforming high-potential post-independence India into one of the world’s poorest and most under-educated nations.
Almost half a century after independence, the country’s political leaders acknowledged the cardinal error of free India’s disastrous “dalliance with socialism”. In 1991, the late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government at the Centre decreed the historic liberalisation and deregulation of the Indian economy. As a result the annual GDP rate of growth doubled and 400 million citizens were lifted out of extreme poverty. Since then in the new millennium a host of privately promoted start-up enterprises — especially in the hi-tech IT, ITES (IT-enabled services), pharma and biotech industries — have captured the imagination of India’s large 300 million-strong middle class.
In this issue of ParentsWorld, we highlight how despite — or perhaps because of — the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and employment, a growing number of parents and educators are becoming aware of the importance of nurturing entrepreneurship skills within the next generation to prepare children for the looming uncertain future. As our experts interviewed for this feature explain, entrepreneurship skills such as creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, leadership, communication, resilience and ability to adapt to change are critical for success in 21st century workplaces. Our path-breaking cover story provides parents a roadmap to nurture entrepreneurship capabilities within adolescent children.
Also, check out our Early Childhood stories on designing safe and cheerful toddlers’ rooms and managing children’s emotions and behaviour during the pandemic. Moreover, our highly-qualified columnists, the UK-based parenting expert Sue Atkins and well-known periodontist Dr. Shweta Kumari answer parents’ queries ranging from ways and means to manage children’s online learning during the lockdown to inculcating good dental hygiene practices