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This post is from the Thought Leaders Desk of Saksham, where we invite thought leaders to share their opinions on matters of national importance related to our mission of ending unemployment. Authored by Ashwin Srivastava, CEO of Sapio Analytics, this delves into a review and analysis of the concept proposed by Shashank Mani, founder of the Jagriti Yatra and author of “Middle of Diamond India” through his bestselling book published by Penguin Random House India.

Concepts can be proposed while sitting and researching in a swanky office, but experiences are gathered only by meeting people, capturing their stories, and diving deep into their emotions and abilities, leading to creation of transformational thoughts. The new book by Shashank Mani, founder of the Jagriti Yatra and the Jagriti Enterprise Center- Purvanchal, attempts to create a transformation in the way we see India.

Written in an autobiographical manner replete with engaging experiences, the book goes way beyond being an encapsulation of the journeys of Shashank and 7500 Yatris as he calls the leaders energised through the Jagriti movement, leading into the creation of a concept that may very well change the way we look and plan India’s growth.

What lies in the Middle of Diamond India?

C K Prahlad proposed the concept of the “Bottom of the Pyramid” in 2002, explaining how there exists fortune in serving the bottom of the population. Shashank explains how India is now shaped like a Diamond with a large population in the middle, and this population needs to be well understood and treated differently from all the conventional strategies the global concepts of management have ever taught us. If this population of India is rightly engaged, through the integration of guru-shishya tradition and creation of strong coaches and mentors, besides creation of the right ecosystem of such engagement, they can transform the growth story that India is currently writing.

Saksham, as an apex mission by the Government of India focused on ending unemployment in the nation, also believes in the power of this Middle India, that needs to be seen and understood uniquely. Hence, in partnership with Sapio Analytics, it launched an Artificially Intelligent Livelihood Enhancement Guide that acts a lifetime guide for each of the individuals in this space (as well as the bottom that will be automatically driven up with support of the rooted middle), understanding their true pulse in the process and using the pulse to guide them towards improved livelihood with not only better jobs but also better options of self employment.

“Middle of Diamond India: National Renaissance through Participation and Enterprise” talks about the unique traits of this middle, and how they are not driven solely by the pursuit of material growth. It speaks about the significance of families and communities in the very fabric of this population. Owing to this unique nature of this population, if we fail to deploy additional intelligence focused on having pulse on this population, and keep on following the conventional methods of governance and management, we shall not be able to extract the true value of India’s demographic dividend advantage.

The book also talks about India’s unique demographic dividend and how India is in a race against time, as this advantage of a large youth will only remain short lived. If during this short period, we can end unemployment, we can then reap the benefits of this divided more sustainably.

While talking about employment, the book delves into the power of Udayamita, and explains how the future shall be written by collaborative enterprises, coming from the middle of India, and building not just for the middle but also for the international markets. It talks about the need to go beyond subsistence economy, and embrace the true power of this population of India, in driving a transformational economy on the back of innnovation.

Saksham believes in having empathetic conversations using artificial intelligence, in understanding the true pulse of this middle of the diamond India. It does so, by taking into account conversations on families, community, socio-economic background, and a dynamic level of consciousness. The guide bot has found interesting parallels with what Shashank notes through his on-ground experiences. Businesses can’t just expect the citizens to do something because there of the inherent assumption of their need of something; decisions are not based purely on needs, and parameters such as dignity and respect in society, thoughts and beliefs in the family members, and engagement of community, also play a role. That’s why a company trying to hire drivers in a city do not find them easily despite a very large population with matching skillsets and even relevant aspirations. It goes deeper than that!

The Middle of Diamond India needs to be deeply investigated and understood, while not painting them all under a common colour. Within themselves, they are very unique and diverse, and are harbingers of cultures that have defined them.

Look at this Middle as Creators and not just Consumers

Continuing with the parallel of Prahalad, after his introduction of the concept of the bottom, he went to elaborate methods to maximise fortune by treating this bottom as consumers, applying principles of materialism in the process. Shashank turns the table by asking all stakeholders to treat these citizens as creators and collaborators in the creation of an economy, with our goal as Government of India representatives being establishment of an ecosystem that provides them the right purpose and creates an environment that promotes innovation and creation.

In the process, he delves into solutions, giving us insights through stories of journeys and successes. Circle of trust from a cultural context, enablement of market connect and mentorship, the power of women empowerment in this entire context, methods to harness collective intelligence by creating togetherness, growth from small towns, and many more thoughts and concepts are outlined in the book. In the process, the book explains India’s parallel with China and the US, and explains ideas on how India may grow differently than other economies, primarily because of the core spirit of participation and enterprise that define India.

Saksham was created with the belief that India can only become developed, if the power of development is decentralised and empowerment directly reaches the masses, with the masses driving this movement. Through partnerships with Rojgar Srijan Kendras and Livelihood Enhancement Centres across corners of India, it maintains physical touch with masses, thus understanding them in a way that even the digital advances can’t. This is how it enables businesses to have physical workforce in all locations of India and encourages them to hire and retain staff in small cities as well. If a company is hiring in outskirts of Bhopal, Saksham through its agency Sapio Analytics, should be able to find the right match there, thus allowing recruitment and retention in areas beyond the cities!

Experience the Journey

The book also speaks about the power of Digital, and how if rightly used as a tool to engage and collaborate, rather than isolate, the digital revolution spearheaded by artificial intelligence may become one of the biggest boons in India’s growth story.

Since this book delves into topics through narrations set by Shashank’s own adventures and that of the thousands of leaders that have come out of his movements, it allows us to experience the experience felt on ground, and hence it is recommended we “experience” the message of the book by reading the book itself.

Thanks to Shashank for bringing to the fore the Middle of Diamond India.