idia-inc.jpgGarry came out running of the interview room with joy and relief wonderfully painted on his face. “Yahoooooooo!!!! I’ve been placed!!!!!!!! Isn’t it great??? All my worries are over now. I am on the top of the world.” The general reaction of any budding engineering student once he has just got a placement in a “cool” IT firm.

And that is when I wonder what he is feeling so happy about. He has just joined the ranks of the billion other technical “Global Cleaners” of the world. Yes, like it or lump it that is what you are getting from most companies when they come for on campus recruitment. Almost all jobs today are outsourced, even for engineers. Now most of these jobs are low end, low technology and labour intensive jobs. Developed countries like the US with a large population can’t find cheap labour to carry out such work. So they come to developing countries like India where the population is not only large, giving them cheap labour, but also technically sound. Now with the employment situation in India, people don’t care what kind of job they get as far as they are being paid more than what they would expect. The problem is, such salaries are peanuts for these companies. Theses companies will make $100 per customer per day and pay its employees $10 out of the $100. I was once reading a Demotivational Poster which said “A company that will go to the far ends of the world will find that it can hire people for 10% the cost of the Americans”. Now tell me who is gaining more.

The worst hit section of our country because of all this is the R&D cell. Seems the whole concept of R&D has died for the up coming engineers in the country, especially in the IT sector. Original ideas seem to have died out. We are blindly processing ideas given to us by the west without much thought of our own. But then again one can’t really blame them for not taking up research or higher studies. What the companies offer seems so much more lucrative. Who in their right state would choose a life long investment into research which may or may not give results compared to a full time job with a 6 figure salary with so many other perks?

However, is it the real solution to the problem at hand? People tell me that an outsourced job is the stepping stone to the path of becoming the brain behind a company. And that is the solution. They very conveniently replace failure with “outsourced job” and success with “brain”, not realising that very few actually get there. And those who are able to, have to move out of the country as the R&D is based outside the country, causing Brian Drain. A solution causing another problem.

This is nothing but economic slavery. Why should we do a hundred dollar job for just ten dollars?

Despite this, our finance ministry claims of the economic growth because of these jobs. Let me introduce you to reality. These companies will fizzle to a country like China as soon as the Chinese start speaking English. The only reason this industry is even thriving in India is because we are better in English than other countries. Can we talk of economic growth with such an unstable basis of growth?

So now tell me this. Brain Drain, no R&D, an Unstable economy and fake Jobs. The “Yahoooooooo!!!!” tastes bitter now doesn’t it??

What is the solution?? It is time to get original in our thought process. It is time to bring about a change not only in the industry, but in schools and colleges. It is time to get our heads together and seriously think of R&D. The brain behind the global IT industry happens to be predominantly Indian. Sad thing is that most of those Indians are not in this country. College students should go in for walk in interviews to the high end companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc and stop depending on campus interviews. The general curriculum in schools and colleges should change, encouraging or should I say forcing new ideas. The whole concept of learning by rote has to be limited enormously. Students should come up with their own assignments helping them to look up 10 different sources of information rather than 1 prescribed text book. This will compel new ideas to come up in a huge way. Plus the whole concept of education will become interesting. Students will then run to school and walk back home. Unless we get original we do not stand a chance to break these invisible chains of economic bondage. An idea doesn’t cost you a thing, only if it is your own.

Vijay Krishna