Thursday, March 22, 2018

Young India - Unsatisfied, Unscrupulous, Unstoppable


"Where you stand depends on where you sit" - Mile's Law

Over the past two weeks I have come across two views on where India is headed, both seem to contradict each other but at the same time, pointing to a common direction while reiterating Mile's Law.

The first was an Explained session organised by the Indian Express at New Delhi where Manish Sabharwal, the chairman of TeamLease spoke of great business opportunities in the India, while the second one was book by Snigdha Poonam titled, "Dreamers".

Sabharwal was amazingly optimistic and eloquent on the direction in which India was headed. Where most liberals saw clouds of doom and gloom, he saw opportunties etched in the sliver linings. Sample these facts and figures -

- Good Times Ahead: 50% of India's labor force is engaged in agriculture which contributes just 13% of GDP, while 0.7% of the workforce is into ITES which contributes 9% of GDP! With more than 600 international companies setting up captive IT centres in India, the workforce of 3.5 million in ITES is set to double over the next 10 years.
- "Cascading Regime Change": We are already seeing the synergystic impact of recent reforms (GST + RERA + DeMo). Before GST there were only 7 million enterprises registered for indirect tax. Now there are 10.5 million -- a 50% increase in just eight months!

Sabharwal's optimism as the leader of one of the largest employers in India contrasted with that of the journalist Snigdha Poonam who saw the great mismatch between aspirations of millions of young Indians, and harsh ground realities.

If you saw a pop-up on your screen warning you of an IRS investigation in USA or a virus in your laptop/PC/mobile, chances are that you are about to be scammed by an Indian. It seems there are hundreds of call centers in the obscure byelanes of urban India, using desperate job-seekers to con the most vulnerable people across the world --  elderly pensioners, single mothers struggling to make ends meet and all those who are already intimidated by technology.
According to Poonam: "Like it or not, young India is what it is - unsatisfied, unscrupulous, unstoppable. Few young Indians had a clear sense of right and wrong: fewer gave a damn about it. 
The idea of personal benefit over public good isn't owned by them, however. It is at the core of India's value system. Sure, some young Indians will cheat their way to their dreams, but they don't see how they are different from anyone in the news - politicians, businessmen, celebreties..."
Sabharwal's TeamLease claims to have hired someone for every 5 minutes in the last few years and provided employment to more than 1.2 million since 2002. And yet, he also admits that his hiring funnel is very narrow - out of every hundred applicants, less than 5 are hired, trained and placed in various companies.

So there you are - the desperation and angst Poonam sees in the 95 who got rejected is quite different from the optimism of those who did. The way you look at the future depends completely on where you stand.

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LINKS & REFERENCES:

* Explained by Indian Express - http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/manish-sabharwal-problem-is-wages-not-jobs-minimum-salary-unemployment-indian-gdp-5106348/

* Reviews: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/hope-against-hope

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/thane-call-centre-scam-mastermind-who-gifted-girlfriend-rs-2-5-cr-audi-arrested-in-mumbai/story-kiKLnuAVy6gNVlkPhHYEAM.html
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