President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said skill development and vocational training should be the focus areas for capitalising on the ‘demographic dividend’ and boosting country’s economic growth.

“Any economic development has to have some social ramifications. In order to keep pace with rapid global changes, we need to consistently fine tune skills of our workforce.

“There is an urgent need to incorporate the skill development and vocational training in the process of our economic growth,” he said while inaugurating the India International Trade Fair (IITF) in New Delhi.

Mr. Mukherjee said India will achieve the demographic dividend by 2030 — 50 per cent of Indian population will be in the age group of working force and world’s largest workforce will be in India.

“If they are not in sync with skills and enhance their employability, instead of being a demographic dividend, they may become a demographic liability. Therefore, we have to keep that objective in mind.” he said.

Besides, Mr. Mukherjee said, empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalised groups is an essential part of the inclusive growth and that there must be a clear vision to pursue a development process for them that is environmentally sustainable.

The theme of the IITF is ‘Inclusive Growth’, highlighting the performance of central and state ministries, departments and private sectors in the related fields.

Mr. Mukherjee said, “This year’s theme - inclusive growth - has brought together several entrepreneurs (from various states) to display their products.”

IITF is focusing on different aspects of inclusive growth and has tremendous potential to contribute to creation of employment and advancement of technology, he said.

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