Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Great Indian Story

When anybody in the world thinks about India, one of the first thing that comes to their mind is cheap labor. After my month long travel in India, about one thing I am sure is, there ain't any labor available, forget about being cheap.

Skilled and non-skilled people should be available in abundance in a country with population over a billion.

Non-skilled Labor
These are the people working below the poverty line, on minimum wages. Of all the medium-scale industries I visited, every owner has the same problem. They have set up
almost automatic factories and need a very little number of hands to run the factories, but they can't even find those bare minimum hands. The problem is not money. They told me, if you pay them more, they are going to get drunk and not return to work next day. It is a big catch-22 problem with no solution in sight.

Skilled Labor
We have heard stories but multi-national companies complaining about not being able to find enough talent. This could be attributed to the lack of "quality" higher education. We do not have enough high-quality institutes to keep up with the pace of industry consumption of talent. At least this problem has a solution: Open more institutes of excellence.

And The Rest
And here lies the main problem. There is a big chunk of population that are enough educated to decline minimum wages jobs in factories but are not qualified to work in big competitive environments for multi-nationals. They are best suited for specific industries like manufacturing, distribution, textile, petro-chemical etc, where they can develop a particular skill over time and have a happy life thereafter. But the problem is supply is much higher than demand and we will always have these people who are very well capable of achieving great heights but will never get an opportunity.

I wish we find solutions to these problems soon, otherwise the story won't be so great after all.

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