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Demographic Advantage of India Print E-mail

T Joseph Benziger

India’s population exceeds a billion. The population growth trajectory of India is about nine percent. Many of us are under the impression that the manpower in India is great. Quantitatively, maybe this is correct.

A human being can be a great asset to his family, society and to the world. But it need not necessarily be true in all cases. Though the potentials for growth are very high for human beings, they are not always realized. A human being can also be a mere liability. For a human being, life does not end with satisfying the urges of hunger and sex. The scope for development never ends for us. There is always something worthwhile to learn; something deserving to be done; something enriching and ennobling to be obtained.

The value of any resource depends on its usefulness and special characteristics. Human resource should be developed systematically. Organized efforts are called for to develop skills and features of good personality. When it comes to this, India has to do some sincere soul searching. Mere numerical strength of its population would not lead to its development; it can be only an impediment.

A member of the National HRD Network has observed that due to the acute shortage of skilled manpower in the infrastructure sector, infrastructure companies are unable to take advantage of the immense opportunities thrown up by the government impetus to this sector. This is definitely no good news.

A consultancy firm and the Project Management Institute have found out in a special survey that 53% of the companies they had surveyed face unavoidable delays due to non-availability of experienced labor. During the decade 1999 – 2009, such project delays have caused a loss of Rs. 54000 crores. In Indian context failures to meet deadlines have occurred in 82% of the projects; and 41% of the projects have to suffer cost overruns!

Lack of skilled labor and employee commitment threaten India’s progress. Half a billion Indians do not have any special skill. The distribution of opportunities of professional education and employment is done not on the principles of human resources development but with a view to gain political mileage on caste considerations or to amass wealth through corruption. A study has revealed that 75% of the engineers and 85% of graduates in arts, sciences and commerce are ‘unemployable’. This is a sad reflection on the institutions producing them. The certificates and diplomas they hold are not worth the paper on which they have been written. This has caused an ever-widening gap between the demand and supply in the employment sector.

In India children are not taught to value the dignity of labor. The youngsters should believe in themselves and work with confidence to develop their skills in the area of their work.

The organizations also should attach more importance to the skill development of their employees. The world is fast changing. As new methods are introduced in industries, the organizations should help their employees to keep pace with them by well tailored programs of training and development.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme assures the workers Rs. 100 – 120 for ninety days. Such schemes implemented to retain vote banks contribute to shortage of labor.

The youth should realize that they can come up in life only by hard work and skill development. Short-cuts hardly lead anyone to success.


Deccan Chronicle Editorial, March 22, 2010


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