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Is the Indian Government Really Serious About Addressing The Problem of Skill Development?

According to a recent economic survey , India has lost 10% share of the world's BPO (business process outsourcing) market to countries such as China, Philippines and Brazil, over the last five years. Frankly speaking this did not come as surprise as India share in the outsourcing market pie is constantly shrinking. All this is happening due to many reasons, however, one of the big reason is the problem which we as nation has failed to acknowledge.


The problem is we have many millions of degree holders but almost 80% of them are unemployable. Due to easy norms in setting up colleges and universities we have increasing number of graduates joining our job market , however as the quality of education being imparted is vastly different from metros to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the quality of talent which we get - leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Setting up a service center in a tier 2 and tier 3 city has its own advantages as it is far less cheaper than in the heart of the metro for that matter even the border areas. Moreover, the talent available is these cities comes at less salaries hence bringing down center’s daily cost of operation. In the latest budget, government has allocated , 55 lakh crore for infrastructure development, which further gives boost in the arms development of these cities. Now the only factor which bothers many contact center owners is availability of quality talent. If (in an ideal case scenario) the local available talent is at par with the required norms then, this will not just stop the exodus of our youth to metros for job opportunities, in fact it will bring down attrition and absenteeism to a considerable level. However, in reality as the quality of talent available is low and those who are near the metros are unwilling to relocate to semi urban areas , hence the burden of rising operational costs keeps on increasing day by day.


Despite of the fact that, a 17 per cent increase in education budget is expected to help accelerate skill development in the country, the progress will be painfully slow. In a recent TV talk show on Headlines Today – “Right To be heard”, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner of the Planning commissioner accepted the flaws in our education system however didn't shy from passing the buck on to the state government. He said that central government can only release the funds, it is up to the state governments to ensure these funds are properly utilized. What he failed to understand was the need of a proper checks and balances in place to ensure that the funds diverted towards improving the education standards are properly used.


What is the answer? IMHO, it can be privatization. Don’t leave it on the state governments because the blame game will never stop. A better idea is to have independent body who not just oversees rather executes the central governments schemes and is accountable without any political interference. There might not be many takers for what I say and may question the practicality of such a suggestion. The answer is, we have left an important aspect of children’s life with the governments who have failed repeatedly to deliver then, why not build a consensus and look for alternate solutions. It might be tough call but right solutions and never look easy or beautiful, however, someone still has to do it!

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Tags: bpo, development, education, government, indian, outsourcing, skill

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Comment by Priya Verma on March 5, 2013 at 5:54pm

Some very valid points raised. I remember watching that program too, i expected him to give honest replies , however, all that he tried was to be diplomatically/politically correct.

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