Our leaders must understand the young generations mood
Yes, the CPI (M) Politbureau that met in New Delhi recently saw the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee clashing with his colleagues over the need for banning any strikes in the IT sector in the State. West Bengal under the now wise CM is trying to get out of a stagnant phase that was started by no less a veteran Communist than the venerable Jyoti Basu. Basu was also present along with the new boss, Prakash Karat, the more bourgeois type middle class urbane Communist.What was shocking is that these highly dedicated and also highly off-tract men had the gumption to say that IT is not an essential service!
It is what is the limit to go on strike. In Kerala, in Trivandrum, in front of the Secretariat, right in the face of the CM’s office, there is a permanent shelter where strikes, bandhs is a daily occurrence. We can see what Kerala and West Bengal had become economically backward. In Kolkatta too the daily parade of striking workers was once a routine. Not any more. Under the current CM there is a wide realisation the State had to move with the world. So, the IT industry is getting all sorts of preferred attention. The CPI (M) politibureau has some old hands like M.K. Pandhe, had the guts to speak for the need to organise IT workers elsewhere, notably in Bangalore. For which the IT industry body, NASSCOM, came out with a rebuttal saying IT workers are now what is called “knowledge workers” a term innovated by Peter Drucker, some 30 years ago and now the term had transformed into a new work culture for an entire generation. As it was said knowledge workers are not workers in the conventional sense, they are potential entrepreneurs in their own sense. Everyone of them is expecting to set up his or her own start-ups and this motivation is entirely new to the Indian environment. This is the generation when the youngsters who in their early twenties start with a very high salary their fathers would have got at the end of their entire long career in government or outside.
So, the new generation start with high motivation to go forward, to innovate and create wealth.This new generation of wealth creators are the critical mainsprings to the economic transformation of India, an India that is high-tech and at the same time global in outlook and also very competitive so that Indian economy is kept in IT readiness always. The BPO sector is the new flavour of the season. Any graduate good in communication skills in English language is now sure of landing up in some remunerative job.
This is happening everyday in Bangalore and elsewhere. The tragedy is that our politicians, not only the ageing men in the CPI(M) but also in other parties are also obsessively ignorant about the IT and its impact on the economy and our day to day lives.
Lalu Yadav is also said to have derided the IT. Of course we can understand way Bihar is what it is. Only a radical change in our education strategies, more so in university education could make a change in outlook in backward States like Bihar. I am even dared to hazard the guess that in the New Delhi corridors of power there is a poor realisation of what IT can do for the common citizen. There is a lack of enthusiasm in delivering many of the services (both essential and non-essential) to the cities in remote corners through the cyber space. May be a crash course or series of presentations to our minister, MPs and party activists can be arranged by the NASSCOM!
The Internet revolution is not fully understood at higher policy making levels. Nor is there any realisation that more and more the world’s business is conducted online. Today you can’t live, can’t breathe without using Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! We hope our government is using e-mail routinely.Google is the fastest growing company in the world and also the youngest company that had set new business growth strategies. To put it more bluntly, it is Google that drives the New York Stock Exchange and thereby the rest of the world’s financial markets.
So, only fools will talk of IT in the way our comrades and their counterpart ignoramuses in other political parties are talking about. Ignorance is no excuse to take them seriously. They deserve to be condemned in the clearest terms!
Just now I read how China had been shying away from five year plans and using some other terminology like programme. Planning is a Stalinist concept with all associations of repression and mechanical driven targets. I feel in India too we have to put the Planning Commission into the background. There must be more IT-driven citizen-centric ministries. Queries to ministries must be answered instantly. Even ministers must come for interactive discussions. IT enabled services in our governance norms will make our government citizen friendly and the current remoteness one feels with Delhi had to be removed.
Anyway, let us build on what we have done in IT. India is admired for its IT prowess. But our leaders, opinion makers and the political class must realise how this new recognition to India had come about. It is IT, IT and more IT only. Let us create a climate for the new generation to achieve more.