Subroto Bagchi is Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority. His present charter is to create employable skills for 1.5 million youth by 2024, mostly school dropouts. This is a full-time assignment, in the rank of a Cabinet Minister. For his services to the State, he takes a salary of Rupee 1 per year.
Bagchi was invited by Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha in 2016, to set up the Odisha Skill Development Authority to harmonise the various skill initiatives of the Government and directly impact the skill development of 1.1 million youth under the Chief Minister’s Employment Generation Programme, first initiated in 2014.
Upon taking charge, Bagchi has given a new sense of direction, instilled urgency and above all, has made skill development as something aspirational in the eyes of everyone. He has led the creation of a brand called Skilled-in-Odisha. Under his stewardship, the Government ITIs have become a vibrant and proud institution. A partnership has been created with the Singapore Government by which, for the first time in history, more than 215 ITI teachers and officials from Odisha were trained in Singapore. On short-term, employment linked skill development programmes like DDU-GKY under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development, Odisha has been the best performing State for three years in a row. Odisha is now home to World Skill Centre, an iconic institution, in technical collaboration with ITEES, Singapore, that would be one of the largest skill development centres in India, at an outlay of US $193 Million.
Bagchi has made Odisha a sandbox for innovation in creating the “Nano-Unicorn” programme under which skilled youth are matched with philanthropic capital to start small businesses instead of becoming job seekers. This was piloted with 200+ youth and now is being stepped up for large scale adoption. Under Bagchi’s overall guidance, Odisha has now become well-known in the world of skill development. The groundswell created by a set of leaders, directly mentored by Bagchi, has led to the State to bring home, the first ever gold medal for India, at the recently concluded, World Skills Competition in Russia. As a run-up to the World Skills Competition, Odisha ranked the No 2 State at the India Skills Competition 2018.
In addition to leading the Skill Development initiatives of the Government of Odisha, Bagchi has generously given his time and energy towards entrepreneurship development, attracting industrial investment into the State, leadership development in the Government, and innovation in various spheres. In the wake of the COVID-19, Bagchi was given the additional responsibility by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha to be the Government’s Chief Spokesperson to align the 45 million people in the State for the fight against the pandemic.
Prior to his work with the Government of Odisha, Bagchi spent four decades with the Indian IT industry where he is best known as a co-founder of Mindtree. Mindtree is one of India’s most admired software companies that built the AADHAR platform among its many other contributions. In 2021, Mindtree revenues exceeded US $1 billion with 23,000 employees globally and a market cap of US $10 billion.
Bagchi is a well-known writer with best-sellers like The High-Performance Entrepreneur, Go Kiss the World, The Professional, MBA at 16, The Elephant Catchers and SELL. His latest book SELL received the CK Prahalad Award for the best business book of 2018. His books have been translated in all major Indian languages as well as Chinese and Korean.
Bagchi has been inducted into the Order of Engineers by the University of Florida and honoured for his contributions in management and Information Technology by the Utkal University with an Honorary Doctorate in Literature and by the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology with an Honorary Doctorate in Science.
Bagchi has served the boards of IIM Bengaluru, Indian Oil, IIIT Bhubaneswar and he currently serves the Board of Governors of the Software Technology Parks of India. He and his writer wife Susmita, support the cause for prevention of blindness, geriatric care and mental health and school education towards which they have pledged their personal resources and time. In 2021, they committed US $50 million to help set up a philanthropic cancer hospital and a palliative care centre in Bhubaneswar in association with Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation and Karunashraya respectively.