Interview with Lalit Singh, Founder CEO of Meraqui

What does the word Meraqui mean? What language does it come from?

Meraqui is derived from the Greek word μεράκι which means “the joy of working”. We specialize in working with blue-collar workers who often have inhumane work schedules and work environments. Our goal is to help these workers find joy in their work, whether it’s through job satisfaction or meeting their immediate needs such as emergency funds and medical support. By providing these benefits, we hope to build a strong connection with our workers. At Meraqui, we believe in bringing joy to work, and we strive to make a positive impact on the lives of our employees.

I would like to learn just a little bit more about the gap between the workforce and business and what are the causes of this gap?

I’ll answer this question from the perspective of India, since that’s where we are based.

India is a vast country with a large population, but there are significant geographical gaps in social and economic development. Some states, like Gujarat, Punjab, and Chandigarh, are relatively prosperous, while others, like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha, are underprivileged. One reason for this disparity is that some states have not developed as much industry, which means that their workers often have basic skills but lack the job opportunities.

Although many people in India now have smartphones and use social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, it can be difficult for them to find jobs that match their skills. This is where the real gap emerges – matching job requirements with available workers.

For example, a client in Maharashtra may require 100 workers with specific skill sets for a particular job. It’s not just about having a tech platform to find these workers; it’s also about providing end-to-end services that include logistics and transportation. We believe that technology is important, but it’s not enough on its own. In India, we work closely with our partners to ensure that physical logistics are taken care of as well.

One of the biggest gaps is geographic, but there are also cultural differences to consider. For example, a worker from South India may have different food preferences than a worker from North India. We need to take these factors into account to ensure that workers are comfortable and satisfied in their jobs.

In short, the challenge of matching job requirements with available workers in India is complex, and goes beyond simple logic engines on a tech platform. We leverage technology, but we also work closely with our partners to provide a range of services that meet the needs of both workers and employers.

Why do you pay a special emphasis to the cultural differences?

India is like a continent; it’s truly a subcontinent in itself. People have very different cultures, lifestyles, and food habits. The differences can be so extreme that people might not be able to survive on certain types of food. In addition, there are other differences, such as the way people behave, talk, and the numerous languages spoken. Although we have thousands of languages, we have eight or nine official languages. It can be challenging to communicate with people who only know one language or have different customs.

Even if communication is possible, the meaning and the way they behave in a particular situation can differ significantly. People can also be emotional and sensitive, making it difficult to get along with others.

At this level, people tend to talk about numbers, but it’s essential to remember that they are humans with their own preferences. Meraqui is here to help educate both candidates and clients to be sensitive to each other’s needs and preferences. We believe that if we can work around their preferences, they will start to enjoy their work, which is the core of Meraqui’s mission.

The motto of your company is that the employees are the most valuable asset. Why?

If you ask me, that’s true for any industry. Everything else follows, but at the core of everything, we humans drive the business. Therefore, the real assets are the people. The sooner you realize this, the better it is for you. In our industry, our internal and external employees are the real assets because, as I said, the numbers follow them. The idea is to create a conducive environment for them, to make them feel loved and to give them the joy of working. If you achieve that, the numbers will follow. We strongly believe in this, and our internal company culture has been built around it.

It has taken years of effort to reach a level where people have started realizing that this is how this company operates. Often, when you hire people from the market or from other competitors, they come with their own culture. It’s difficult for them to fit in a culture where human beings are valued as they should be valued. Sometimes, initially, they think it’s just a gimmick, just propaganda.

But as soon as they start seeing it and start believing, and obviously interact with some colleagues around them, it becomes different for them also. They start enjoying the work culture, and it becomes very difficult for them to go somewhere else because they won’t find that kind of culture anywhere else. Therefore, we strongly believe that employees and humans are the assets that we should value.

What kind of instruments do you use to bridge this gap on the technical side?

We have an end-to-end platform that covers everything. When I say end-to-end, I mean that we’ve divided our platform into three broad modules: match, manage, and engage.


The match logic AI engine runs in the background. Typically, a client comes to us with requirements like needing a packer for a housing location or a machine operator who has basic skills and is between the ages of 18 and 35. We capture 40 additional variables to ensure that we look beyond just these few requirements. We capture more variables, like food preferences, skill level, and etiquette, to find the best fit. We run our AI engine, which takes these variables into account, and selects the most suited candidates.


Onboarding is a big journey, and there are complications related to compliance needs that we have to deal with. From there, we handle regular attendance, automated payroll, and compliance needs. We maintain multiple registers on the system. This entire process, from onboarding to attendance and payroll, falls under the managed platform.


Finally, under engagement, we talk to clients, partners, and candidates on a portal. Everyone has their own app, whether web-based or mobile-based. For example, a candidate will have a mobile app called Meraverse – Meraqui’s universe analogous to the Metaverse – so we call it Miraverse.

When the candidate logs in, they will be offered letters that are released paperless. They will also receive their best links there. The most important feature, which many people  appreciate, is the ability to get emergency funds with just one click, even if it’s not the salary date. For example, if the salary date is the seventh of every month, but on the 20th, the candidate wants to withdraw some money – say, 3,000 or 4,000 rupees – they can request the money and get it within half an hour in their account and receive a message over their Meraverse.

We try to engage with candidates in multiple ways so that even if they leave a client, they don’t leave Meraqui. This way, they remain a potent candidate for us who can become a worker tomorrow.

What are the most important skills for the workforce right now and in the near future?

We all understand that there is a lot of automation happening, and AI data mining is becoming one of the most coveted skills for white-collar workers. However, I strongly believe that having ChatGPT with you does not eliminate the need for a content writer; it rather adds to their productivity and the way they work.

For me, the evolution of technology is not an impediment to employment. Instead, we just need to retrain and reskill workers on new technologies that may arise in the future. The future of India in this regard is still a few years away, at least five years before we start talking about significantly different skills.

At Meraqui, we work primarily in the manufacturing and logistics sectors. As we know, the “China plus one” strategy has caused a shift in manufacturing from China to other parts of the world, including India and Vietnam. From a manufacturing perspective, we feel that there is a lot of potential for growth in India. The government has been actively pushing the Make in India campaign, which not only focuses on manufacturing but also on creating multimodal logistics platforms that enable seamless transportation across different modes of transport. In India, logistics is even more important than in many other countries due to the vastness of the country, making efficient transportation critical.

We have chosen to work in the manufacturing and logistics sectors because we believe that there is still a long way to go before complete automation is achievable.

Every month, there are one million new jobs added, mostly at that level, making a total of 12-13 million jobs per year. I do not see any threat of unemployment for the next five to ten years, at least, from both the supply and demand sides. However, when the time comes, we will need to reskill and retrain workers on new technologies such as robotics. There will be a need for people at various levels to manage and handle these new technologies. Therefore, the jobs that are relevant today, such as machine operators, loaders, and delivery boys, will still be relevant tomorrow, but they will become more sophisticated and require some retraining and reskilling.

Perhaps, there will be a hybrid model, such as using drones for delivery, but humans will remain essential for the foreseeable future. In summary, the jobs that are relevant today will still be relevant tomorrow, but they may require some reskilling and retraining.

How important will reskilling be in the future?

One of the things that Meraqui is focusing on is upskilling, which will be our next level of focus. How do we upskill and re-skill our talent workforce? How do we plan for their career development? No one talks about this, but it’s crucial even for those starting as helpers to aspire to become supervisors and manage a factory. We have developed a concept for Meraverse, where an individual who wants to become a supervisor can access three different courses: one on manhandling, another on basic English, and the third on technical learning about the job of a supervisor.

These courses are accessible through reading materials, watching videos, and podcasts. After completing the courses, an online test is provided, and if an individual scores 80%, we can recommend them to clients as aspirational supervisors.

This is a win-win situation for both the candidate and the client, as the client is constantly scouting for the right talent to use for more critical jobs, like opening new stores or plants. We are trying to help both sides by providing them with the necessary training needs as and when required.