Foreword | A Livelihood for each of us
January 2023
December 12, 2022

Foreword | A Livelihood for each of us

It takes courage to declare that every Indian shall thrive by 2047. And clarity to bserve that this will manifest only via a satisfying livelihood for everyIndian adult who so wants. It is my privilege to add a few words to the inaugural narration of this journey by The/Nudge Institute.

World over, the construct of livelihood is coming full circle fast, and we are as a society yet to be mindful. In short, formal, industrial blue and white collar jobs are ones whose sell date is near.

India in an interconnected world must be as efficient as the best to flourish and grow. Efficiency in the coming years will be borne from innovations and automation leading to infinitely productive machines. A really close look at the fastest growing corporations in any sector, retail, electronics, automotive to simple services like cloud kitchens, you will see this transformation underway. By2030, this will be mainstream in every human endeavor and by 2040, global industrial systems will need 95% less workers than they have today for the same output. There is room for increase in output to meet the needs of an abundant, sustainable world, but not nearly enough to cover the 20-fold increase in productivity underway. In other words, no vertical will be wiped out, the best in each vertical will be employed to program machines and innovate in that vertical.

Not only will this happen in India, India needs to embrace the infinity era of innovation and automation. This is necessary to both emerge as a $10+ Trillion economy, but more importantly as the primary means to achieving ten fold breakthroughs indelivering essential services like health, education, finance and justice for all. India from all signs is on its way and in achieving these goals, will endup with an upper middle class of innovators and innovation engineers in every sphere that will power the bulk of its economy. It's interesting that a $10Trillion modern economy will only need between 30 Million to 50 Millioninfinity era workers. And no, we cannot stop this, if we try, India’s edge, our growth and revenue which is the source of our population scale social programs vaporises.

So what will another 500+ Million adults do? The answer fortunately is right under our nose; intensive farmers and entrepreneurs, both of which are India’s DNA. India’s 90+ million intensive farmers have a pivotal role to play in a sustainable world where the civilisation’s survival depends on soil and water rejuvenation. Meanwhile, all the automation in the world will not replace the need for human touch, local innovation and community. India’s 80+ Million small entrepreneurs are nothing if not agile and innovative. With on tap finance, knowledge and innovation tools along with global access, our farmers and entrepreneurs will each take care of their families, generating local employment for others while feeding the world and powering innovative products, services for all.

An India thus employed is not only possible, it is perhaps a more vibrant and happier India than one that wakes up and goes to a factory competing with robots.

Building this dual future of global class innovation along with micro farming and enterprise at scale needs every imaginable intervention in ease of business, ease of life, policy, infrastructure, education and finance. And when we look closely, behavior shifts, attitude change and most of all, ecosystem creation is what the nation needs. It is said that if we give a person a fish, they will eat but if we teach them to fish, they will eat for life. This is at best condescending. History has shown that if we create opportunity, people teach themselves and if we dare to inspire, humankind creates opportunity. We need a new breed of social entrepreneurs that can reimagine and drive resilient livelihoods for all.

The/Nudge Institute is choosing to be the voice of this aspiration that is an inspired, thriving India. I earnestly hope they succeed, and wish them the best. I hope you the reader, see that this mission will take all of us and add your unique fistful of soil to nurture this forest.

Lalitesh Katragadda is a pioneer in crowdsourcing and platforms for the underserved. His creation, Google Map Maker, tripled the world's digital maps corpus, mapping 4 billion people in 187 countries. He has since focused on India’s nation building with several contributions to India Stack and architect of Arogya Setu. He is currently focused on Indihood, a crowdsourcing cloud to democratise computing for communities that he founded.

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