Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday said by giving seed money of Rs 2,000 to 3.5 lakh students of Delhi government-run schools under the ''Business Blasters'' programme, the AAP dispensation is investing in India's economy as it is grooming "future entrepreneurs".
Earlier this week, the Arvind Kejriwal government rolled out the ''Business Blasters'' project under which seed money will be given to students of classes nine to 12 and they, in turn, have to invest it for running small businesses.
The programme has been launched under the ''entrepreneurship mindset curriculum'', which is aimed at developing young entrepreneurs at the school level.
In an interview with PTI, the deputy chief minister that he sees this programme as seed money for India's economy.
"When we had allocated a budget of Rs 60 crore for this project, we knew that it is the seed money for the country's economy," said Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio.
He said India will not become a five trillion dollar economy just by people talking about it.
"How will we become a five trillion dollar economy? Not by just the prime minister saying so. For long we have been taught that India is a developing country and we will have to teach the same to future generations if we don't address the core issue," Sisodia said.
The only way to make India an economic powerhouse is to have an entrepreneurial mindset and the Aam Aadmi Party government is working on this, he said.
It is mandatory for every student to take part in the ''Business Blasters'' programme. It is not only for the students of commerce or business studies but also for those who study humanities and science, the deputy chief minister said.
He said that with this project, the AAP government wants to address the problem of joblessness.
Sisodia claimed that India has 25 crore homeless people and lakhs of civil engineers who are unemployed.
An entrepreneurial mindset would involve utilising the talent of these civil engineers for providing homes to the homeless and in a way invest in the country's economy, he said.
"You have 18 crore people who sleep without food every day and then you have unemployed youth from food science and agriculture university. We do not have a scarcity of farmland. The only thing missing is the mindset. We are working to create that bridge which is currently missing," the deputy chief minister stressed.
About successful return on the investment of the seed money, he said it is a risk which the government has taken.
"The new education policy talks about taking risks and even the new age education says that children should be confident. As an education minister, I am ready to take the risk. We are giving Rs 2,000 seed money to children and giving them the freedom to invest it.
"In case you don't make a profit, you will learn from the failure and in case, you earn a profit, then you will learn entrepreneurship," Sisodia said.
He said that even during the pilot project, carried out among 41 children in a government school in Delhi's Khichripur, some made a profit of Rs 650 over the seed money while another group earned a profit of Rs 24,000.
"There will be losses. Someone will incur a loss of Rs 650 and some of Rs 2500," he said.
Teachers are being trained and they will scrutinise the projects of students.
Some projects will be chosen and business coaches will guide the students. Then, district and state-level competitions will be held which will culminate in a carnival at Thyagraj Stadium in February next year where 100 projects will be displayed, Sisodia said.
According to the plan, investors will be invited to the carnival and students will talk about the investment they need for their project.
Sisodia said this means that their projects won't die.
Some students, chosen by certain criteria set by universities like NSUT and DTU, like innovation and investment, will get direct admission into BBA without an entrance test, he said.
"We spoke to universities and said that these students would have been chosen out of 3.5 lakh students and would have practical knowledge. Students who come through entrance exams learn from books and clear an exam within three hours but these students will have practical knowledge.
"I can assure you that in future, ideas like Facebook and Twitter will be coming from here," the deputy chief minister said.
Sisodia exuded confidence that the ''Business Blasters'' programme will change the way children perceive their studies.
"I spoke to children about the outcome of the project. We learnt that once children develop confidence, they also start doing well in studies," Sisodia said.