India needs to create jobs at scale: Nilekani


India needs job creators and Amazon has the potential to do that at scale, said Nandan Nilekani, chairman, Infosys, speaking at the Amazon Smbhav summit. “If you have 5 million suppliers on your marketplace and each of them creates 5 jobs thanks to the market expansion, then collectively they have the potential to create 25 million jobs,” he said. Small businesses will be important for economic growth and job creation he said, and increasing digitisation and using data to offer lending and other services would only help them grow further.

The pandemic has further spurred the number of people who are selling their goods online. Operating during the pandemic meant that the company had to make over 100 fundamental process changes in the flow of goods, from sourcing them to delivering them within a very short period of time. “In India in particular, you could see with the how dramatic some of the shutdowns were during periods, how important online became as a lifeline even for businesses that had been entirely offline before,” said Russell Grandinetti, senior vice president, International Consumer, Amazon. The company initiated new programs and brought 50,000 new businesses online and intends to grow this number of over a million in the next five years.

The digital infrastructure that has been created, like UPI became even more important, with services like Amazon Pay which saw a rapid rise in adoption during this time. “We have rolled out a lot of the pieces of digital infrastructure like UPI and GST which again benefits small businesses…,” said Nilekani. As these companies become more digitally literate, they get better access to credit and other services. “In India, most of the credit has gone only to large businesses because it can be difficult for banks to assess the creditworthiness of small companies,” he said.

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