It is highly unlikely for a competitive examination to be organized in the country, in which the youth of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa do not enthusiastically participate and register unprecedented success. Owing to their triumphant performance in these strenuous examinations, the youth of Bihari secure admissions in the country’s most prestigious colleges-universities or successfully bag rare government jobs. The sacrifices made on behalf of their parents and other family members are equally significant for determining the probability of their success. However, due to this, a sizeable chunk of Bihar’s image goes out of the state.
However, now the time has come for Bihari youth to think of alternatives, beyond the prospect of jobs as a career path, instead of simply settling. They have to emerge as entrepreneurs instead of subordinating anyone. They should become their boss and give employment to other young individuals as well.
Right now they are employed in all kinds of jobs, such as government officials, teachers, engineers, architects, bankers, journalists, etc. In their assigned roles they are doing justice to their jobs and are brimming with knowledge and talent. They prosper and thrive, no matter where they go. But the truth is that somewhere deep down they are afraid or avoid becoming an entrepreneur. They do not have what it takes to undertake risks. That is not their fault. Since childhood, they have been fed at home and in society to land a stable, secure, and well-paying job. But, the youth of Bihar has to enter the world of business. The time has come to write a new script.
The reason to be surprised is that people in Bihar did not change even after economic liberalization. It has been thirty years since the winds of economic liberalization started blowing in the country. But Bihar has not been able to experience the winds of development. There still exists the same mentality in society.
The people of Bihar and the society, in general, want their son or daughter to get a government job somehow. That is all they want. I cannot comprehend why the Bihari people, who are equipped with all the news and current trends of the whole world, are unable to understand that now the era of entrepreneurship is trending. If one has a fluttering idea, they can follow it and become someone as accomplished as N R Narayana Murthy (Infosys), Sachin-Binny Bansal (Flipkart), Shiv Nadar (HCL).
These tycoons emerged only after economic liberalization or rapid expansion of their businesses. All of them are first-generation entrepreneurs. They are now employing thousands of people. Sachin-Binny Bansal has earned thousands of crores of rupees by selling his company to Amazon. Now he is investing in new areas.
Industry watchers of Bihar know that only Anil Agarwal (Vedanta Group), Alkem Pharma, and Aristo Pharma have carved a niche for themselves in the decades that have passed through it. I want to politely say that the SIS group, established by me, has also become a key name in the service sector. It is probable for some more names to be added to this list.
All these groups of Bihar had started even before the era of economic liberalization. They started their business when there was Inspector Raj in the country. During that period, people had to wait for hours to get their work done in public offices. The government officials would not even agree to talk to you without paying a bribe.
But, where did Bihar or Bihari change even after economic liberalization? Biharis are still not ready to become entrepreneurs. They are still looking for only one secure job. If they get a government job, they are satisfied. Otherwise, anything with a pearl salary would work for them. They think that they can find a job where they can work for the rest of their life.
From there, they can retire by having a garland of sandalwood wrapped around their neck. Why are dozens of entrepreneurs like Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip, Deependra Goyal of Zomato unable to inspire the youth of educated Bihari families? Biharis are taking their success with impunity. Inspired by them, they are not moving towards becoming an entrepreneur. The mindset of Biharis to do only a job cannot be considered as very ideal thinking.
Producing a product by setting up a manufacturing unit is a Herculean task. There is always a need for huge capital. The youth of Bihar can also indulge in the service sector of Bihar. In this way, they can start their work from a small office. They have to start their work based on a unique idea and continue down that trail with honesty, hard work, and diligence. Once all these factors fall into place, success is bound to follow. One must chase their goals with a focused-unilateral vision.
It has been the grave misfortune of Bihar that the youth, neither think of becoming an entrepreneur nor do the renowned industrial houses plan to set up any of their units in Bihar. To date, no big group like Tata, Reliance, Mahindra, Goenka, Maruti has even considered it appropriate to invest in Bihar. When a big factory is established in a region, several small units are opened by the locals around it to deliver the goods.
Since none of the well-known groups established operations here, the people of Bihar lacked the opportunity and exposure to become entrepreneurs. Be it any city of the nation, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ludhiana; you can always find Biharis, employed in all kinds of jobs.
Out of these, even if ten percent of such Bihari youth starts working in Bihar, it will be far better for Bihar. That will lead to the overall development of the state and the strengthening of the entrepreneurial environment. The need of the hour is that the society of Bihar should think about doing something beyond just jobs.
(The writer is a senior editor, columnist, and former MP.)