Bhubaneshwar: Bansidhar &Ila Panda Foundation (BIPF) in partnership with FICCI, Odisha organised a panel discussion on ‘Achieving Aspirations of Rural Youth – Challenges and Avenues’ , here on Thursday. The panel discussion is curated under BIPF’s flagship thought leadership platform, ‘Ideate’.

The keynote speaker for the event was Yamini Aiyar, President & CEO, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. Other panelists were Bijay Sahoo, Group President (HR), Reliance Industries&Chairperson, FICCI Skill Development Committee, Mumbai; Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services, Bengaluru; Prof. Fakir Mohan Sahoo, Research Professor, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar; and Anil Pradhan, Founder, International Public School for Rural Innovation, Odisha. Fatima Mahdi Karan, Business Editor, New Delhi, moderated the panel discussion.

Speaking on the objective of the panel discussion, Shaifalika Panda, CEO, BIPF, emphasised on the importance of understanding the ambitions of rural youth, and said, “India’s ability to harness the potential of its demographic dividend will decide its future. To achieve this potential, collective action is required to set up an ecosystem which will address the virtuous cycle of skilling, upskilling and new employment generation.”

Panellist deliberated solutions to the roadblocks in achieving our demographic dividend and making our rural youth more productive.

Bijay Sahoo, Group President (HR), Reliance Industries Limited said, “Aspiration of rural youth is rising beyond the rural hinterlands. They are willing to get educated, develop skills and compete with anybody else in the world. They just need a supporting hand – from government, industry and society. BIPF has rightly chosen the theme for this year under Ideate- Aspiration of Rural Youth. This will help in identifying opportunities and supporting the rural youth.”

This is the 8th Ideate series. Since its launch in 2012, this leadership platform by the Bansidhar &Ila Panda Foundation has organised panel discussions on topics ranging from maternal & new-born health, education, water & sanitation, immunisation, sports for development and urban healthcare. BIPF is the social arm of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA), working in the verticals of Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Livelihood and Advocacy & Appreciation.