Understanding what young India wants

From hospitality, law, and literature to beauty, and more, young achievers talk about changes that have taken place in their respective fields and what they perceive the future to be like

Sapna SarfareUpdated: Saturday, September 10, 2022, 11:14 PM IST
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LITERATURE

Ajinkya Bhasme (30)

Ajinkya Bhasme is the bestselling author of three psychological horror/thriller books. One of the few to have all his books sold for screen adaptation before 28, this Chemical Engineer from IIT Bombay was an ex-scientist making life-saving drugs. His research-based books always speak of mental illness.

75-YEAR-OLD JOURNEY

The advent of social media has helped innumerable Indians explore opportunities that they may not have before. We have progressed a lot in literature, not just with Booker Prizes but with the diversity of thought. Our literature today is not only about mythology but also about psychology, culture, sociology and science fiction to a large extent. Our authors have become researchers and started to think of plots that are more research-driven than drama-driven.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

We still carry a weight of colonial baggage. Literature in India is no different. It is already unpropitious that our readers assume the Indian quality to be substandard. Our readers are still infatuated with western writings despite being unrelatable to the cultural context. I think epics are copiously marginalised when they should hold the global stature of exemplary literature. In a country where we have had great authors, it is shameful that our syllabus promotes Shakespeare over Kalidas. We still use the same ‘praise the white skin’ syllabus. It is the first thing that needs to change.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

I think our readers must actively tell themselves to look for more Indian authors to read without prejudice. We must remember before picking up a book that elitists criticise books for ‘simple language’. But other Indian readers call the same book ‘tough to understand’.

I think the change lies in education. I sense this change is already for the positive. I am optimistic that things will change for good. More stories from Indian authors will see their way into the mainstream media. It might create a chain reaction of readers reading more Indian authors.

ENTERTAINMENT

Parikshit Joshi (27)

As a writer, actor and director, Parikshit Joshi has been active in the digital entertainment industry for the last seven years. He has worked with TVF for about four years and collaborated with multiple YouTube channels and OTT platforms.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

India, as I see it, is a Dichotomy of Democracy. One of the choices was making India a democratic state, despite being a large landmass, diverse and lacking in experience as a democracy. As we progressed, it kept being tough to include the vast diversity. We thus started moving towards homogeneity. Today we face this issue where even minority religions are going through an identity crisis.

I feel similar has been the history of our entertainment industry. Although we have made progress, it might be a surprise for us to have sustained the way we did. But is it a success in its true form? We can debate.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

When the digital industry started to take shape, everyone thought that it would make storytelling a truly democratic affair. But as any democracy has it, people with power, capital influx and pre-existing media presence, in this case, entered the chat and hijacked it. As big brands come in, so do their insecurities. Censorship of content begins. Eventually, as OTT platforms flourished that seemed to be a ray of hope. But as we may have it, a Censor Board was formed to govern it too. I think making storytelling and entertainment platforms democratic in the truest sense is the biggest challenge, keeping aside the standardisation of pay scale and fair pay to artists.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

I think the problem statement comes with hope for a solution. I can speak for myself and many artists I know when I say; that artists themselves have a sense of self-censorship in them. Adding layers of censorship to it kills the joy of telling the story or a joke and kills the story and the joke itself. The best way to tell if a story is worth being told is by telling it. Ultimately stories are meant for the audience. They are a pretty good judge of the stories they want to hear. I hope we can be independent in the truest sense as a country, as an individual and as storytellers.

HEALTH

Divij Bajaj (29)

In a short span, Divij Bajaj, the CEO and Founder of Power Gummies, has captured the ever-growing health market. This young entrepreneur’s innovative nutraceuticals brand is now India’s most valuable gummy company and the market leader in its segment.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

India in 2022 and India in 1947 are vivid examples of how a nation can change and endure over time. After independence, Indian healthcare has undoubtedly advanced significantly. Despite the need for a significant renovation of the healthcare system, India has established itself as a global leader in medical tourism. Ayurveda, yoga, and naturopathy are a few more alternative therapies that have grown in popularity, especially during the past ten years.

Healthcare is a topic on which people are more informed today. They are changing their lifestyles to include things that can affect their health. Since its independence in 1947, the government has introduced several policies and programmes to enhance the nation’s healthcare infrastructure and implemented programmes which clearly show the transformation of our healthcare industry.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

Despite its growth, India’s healthcare sector has many challenges like a lack of institutions and insufficient human resources. One cause is rural population neglect. It is difficult for the majority to receive proper support because health services, especially allopathic ones, are expensive. In addition, there are still a lot of other issues, such as lack of infrastructure and an overwhelming patient count that our nation needs to address.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

Like we have eliminated Polio with proper awareness and plan of action, we should now aim at Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies. We will progress towards a healthy nation with many problems averted if we help spread education and awareness about this and enable them with fun ways to achieve their goals. It can be done in a series of public and private partnerships where the private sector is incentivised to spend additionally for consumer awareness.

LAW

Ishanee Sharma (30)

A passionate lawyer, Ishanee Sharma, an alumnus of the National Law University Delhi and the prestigious Harvard Business School, runs her law firm. The firm aims to become a legal confidant of its clients and provide high-quality legal solutions.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

In these 75 years, we have witnessed many sacrifices, achievements and crises. Our resilient democracy helped us withstand many a challenge. It is time for our nation to resolve to emerge as the world’s best. Today India is the 5th largest economy in terms of GDP and the 2nd most populous country in the world. In the 21st century, we are a force to be reckoned with. Our true strength at this juncture lies with our youth. With an average age of 29 years, India has one of the youngest populations in the world.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

Ease of justice is just as important as ease of doing business or ease of living. One-fifth of the world’s youth live in India. This huge human resource, if properly trained, will drive our economic progress. JUSTICE: SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICA – that is the vision of justice that our preamble promises to every Indian.

The truth is only a tiny percentage can approach the justice delivery system when in need. Modern India was built on the goal of removing social disparities. This goal must be fulfilled.

There are issues with service, remuneration and infrastructure. There is a need for the effective representation of all matters before the judicial forums and equal access to justice.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

2022 will be seen as the year of revival and rejuvenation. Now India should be a land of start-ups. The current government has made remarkable strides in decriminalising corporate civil offences. But other related bodies of law are also in need of reform. Broad-basing benefits see economic growth leading to higher tax revenues. India’s recent changes to ESOP taxation should apply to all Indian start-ups, not a select few. In terms of the functioning of the courts, I hope the coming years bring a massive reduction in pendency and backlog. Delivery of much-needed speedy justice to affected parties is ensured.

HOSPITALITY

Rachel Goenka (34)

Rachel Goenka is well-known for being the CEO and Founder of The Chocolate Spoon Company. Amongst the several awards she has received, her debut book ‘Adventures with Mithai’ won the ‘Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020’ for India in the category of Pastry and Desserts.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

Indian culture is synonymous with the food and hospitality industry. This has been a deep-rooted part of this phenomenon. The industry has only gotten more progressive over the years. This includes an increase in the number of international cuisines and concepts now available. Today’s customer is more experimental, which has seen a shift in the offerings beyond flavour profiles and taste to immersive experiences.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

There needs to be more government support for the industry as far as ease of doing business is concerned. The hospitality industry is one of the largest employers in the country yet faces numerous challenges with overall operations. With government support, it will help not only business owners and their employees thrive but can additionally help the country. Hospitality plays a massive role as far as tourism is concerned. More support is required.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

As we see the Indian consumer evolving, I see a rise in demand for global cuisine. From an operations point of view, ease of processes should be the ideal progression with less red tape, fewer licenses to conduct business and more fiscal and policy support from the government.

Karan Nohria (22)

22-year-old Karan Nohria opened Silly in June 2021 and will launch Silly Delhi at this year's end. He has received the Youngest Restaurateur award by Mid-day, Best Newcomer Restaurant by Restaurant India and Food Connoisseurs India and Best Mixologist by the Times Food and Nightlife Awards.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

India as a whole has taken a turn for the better. The hospitality sector has changed drastically in the last few years. The people have brought about this change for the people. Travel opportunities have increased recently with many new cuisines to discover and explore. People are adapting to new tastes and accepting different ways of enjoying themselves. The standard of living has also improved in many ways. It has led to a rise in demand for quality services from hotels and restaurants.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

Mumbai has been in a state of flux. Inflation has increased. The price of everything has gone up, except for the prices charged for products and services. More light should be shed on taxation and tax rebates in the hospitality sector. In terms of day-to-day issues, rentals in Mumbai with the production cost are through the roof! And yet, people expect the same service, hospitality and quality; without paying a small fee towards the service charge, which helps servers and staff stay motivated. Issues like these exist because of the lack of public awareness.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

When it comes to the industry, we are a people-centric company. We put a lot of effort into plating something that we can all enjoy. Some pointers that I’d expect to see and change would be – importance given to the industry. This is not just restaurants but also cloud kitchens and QSR formats; by the people, customers, or government. Taxation and tax rebates are to be given some consideration. In turn, it provides a leeway to play around with the remaining capital.

TECHNOLOGY

Kyle Fernandes (24)

A keen developer since age 15, Kyle Fernandes is the CEO and Co-Founder of MemeChat, a meme-sharing platform. He runs it with his school friend and Co-founder-MD, Taaran Chanana. The company recently launched India’s 1st NFT Marketplace for memes called ‘The Meme Club’.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

In recent times, the Indian start-up ecosystem has propelled India to be at par with other countries concerning digitalisation and digitisation. We have innovated technologies like UPI. Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking has also climbed up to 46th position from the earlier 48th position in 2020. Newer innovations have ushered in the idea for the third iteration of the World Wide Web (aka. Web3). The government has boosted technological advancements and assisted start-ups in the technology sector to nurture innovation and technology-led entrepreneurship.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

Technology is one area that affects almost every other business function. It is the driving factor of how the world operates. IT issues must be considered. One major issue is the penetration of technology. Another that adds to the limitations is compliance. It is a big problem concerning clarity, crypto ecosystem or any fintech space. If regulatory governance and compliance services wish to stay ahead of innovations, they must strive to update the policies.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

The subcontinent has become highly conducive to the start-up culture. Its momentum is building tremendously, and the rapid integration of technology is opening up several opportunities for growth, inclusion, and further investment. With government support and recent advancements in Computer Science research, Indian entrepreneurs are on their way to making the nation into a technological hub to look up to. India has a strong track record when it comes to championing digital infrastructure. We look forward to newer initiatives by the government to empower new start-ups – as innovations happen through them.

BUSINESS

Bala Sarda (30)

Bala Sarda is the CEO and Founder of VAHDAM India. This first global home-grown tea brand has the vision of becoming a sustainable, ethical, home-grown brand. It is the 3rd start-up of this fourth-generation tea entrepreneur.

75 YEARS OLD JOURNEY

I’ve seen a drastic change in the way Indian brands are perceived. People worldwide now truly perceive Indian products to be of better quality. In my opinion, brands reflect the trust being built with the consumers. Over time, Indian brands have been doing it consistently. Indians are always considered to be good managers. It’s time to tell them that we are creators, disruptors, innovators and risk takers. It is India’s decade. I am sure about seeing large, global home-grown brands coming out of India.

ISSUES STILL PRESENT

In my opinion, ease of doing business has become significantly better. Yet there is still scope to do better. Better incentives for starting start-ups and better taxation for private enterprises can give a boost. We have a large workforce, quality engineers and capability. We need to make India a global manufacturing hub over the next decade that can be a win-win.

FUTURE YOU WANT TO SEE

We hope for home-grown brands from India to be supported more with better incentives.

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