India Can Become a Neurodiverse Superpower: Panchali Banerjee


India, in the years ahead, will be in a position to showcase itself as a neurodiverse (ND) superpower, believes Panchali Banerjee. A senior behavioural training consultant, Panchali has designed and delivered training modules across all industry verticals. She is also the cofounder of Orchvate.

Speaking to Dhara Chandramouli, director of digital marketing, Rangam Consultants, in a weekly chat show about ND and employment, Panchali said that she has seen a lot of positive changes in the diversity and inclusion landscape in recent times. “Awareness levels are increasing and schools have become more inclusive at least in the urban cities. The study from home system is also to the advantage of ND people. In the years ahead, more children will be diagnosed of ND, and with the early intervention and support, they will all complete their higher education. Online graduation will happen and India would have a sizable ND workforce available for hiring. Companies will have no choice but to hire them,” she said.

Panchali said that companies in the last few years have seen the benefit and business return of hiring ND individuals. That has particularly accelerated over the last year, she thinks, with the work from home (WFH) happening and an ND workplace can be built with minimal investment.

However, India presents an unique challenge in hiring ND individuals, said Panchali. “The source of hiring is only the nongovernment organisations that don’t have educated and employable ND people. We at Orchvate believe that companies shouldn’t look outward for hiring now. Instead, they should look inward because ND talent is already there in the current corporate system,” she added.

Panchali said that many individuals, while being aware that they are ND, constantly mask and camouflage their identity because they fear the social stigma and discrimination. “Imagine if we (neurotypicals) had to pretend to be someone else all the time, how taxing it would have been for us. The ND are mentally and physically exhausted under the current corporate setup. They are not able to give their 100 percent. If they could, ND individuals would have been at least 40 percent more productive than any neurotypical,” Panchali said.