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India on the move...

Ok..we all know that India is on the move @ roughly 10 % per year.

Almost every day we read about this growth rate in the media - along with analysis on whether this rate is sustainable and if it is inclusive or limited to urban middle class.

Another oft-repeated idea is that of India being in a demographic sweet spot. We have the largest number of people between ages 15-45, the productive years.

And when it comes to the IT/IT ES/BPO sectors, we hear about the unemployability of a large number of our youth, thereby driving the salaries of the employable pool ever northwards.

So, here I go again:

India has a huge rural population that is seeking to migrate to the cities and towns in search of employment. Why? A couple of off-the-bat reasons: 1. Agriculture no longer provides a sustainable livelihood. 2. Villagers see a 'better life' being lived on the TV at home and the aspirational energies kick in.

But most of these rural youth are unemployable in the high paying service jobs because of their poor communication skills in English and because no one bothered to teach them a bit of Java or C in their mother tongue. Some of them end up as security guards in IT companies and gated communities. And a vast majority work as construction labor building our malls, tech parks, and apartment complexes.

I really don't see how we will go on building these concrete behemoths in our urban centres for the next 2-3 decades, and expect the children of these security guards and construction labor to learn technology, and get into high paying jobs.

I also fail to see clearly how Reliance Fresh or Walmart-Airtel or Subhiksha will end up improving the lot of our farmers. May be they will create a new set of entrepreneurs who will strike it rich through the franchisee or logistics route.

Well, none of the things I have said so far are new.We all know about this line of the discussion also.

I just want to connect this line of thinking with the recent (and ongoing if I may say) turmoil among the IT/IT ES/BPO sectors about a stronger rupee (or a weaker dollar) and the crisis in US Sub-prime markets impacting Indian BPO or even urban real estate scenarios.

Here we have the second largest market in the world for food, education, health care, FMCG, and services. And because of our geographical and cultural advantages, we have access to many other markets. But our economy is still in an export-driven growth model.

If our major companies start addressing the domestic economy and domestic pain points, in a matter of years, the growth will start being driven by domestic consumption. And a stronger Rupee will then benefit every one.

And a strong domestic consumption will spur the growth in providing access to better health care, food security and especially education to all the disadvantaged sectors of the population.

The political class seems to be bereft of ideas. Rather people with ideas seem to be scared of politics. The only hope is the inexorable growth of Indian entrepreneurship, especially among the middle and lower middle class Indians who are hungry for success and do not mind tapping any markets, especially the rural and semi-urban markets.

More later...


BPO has become one of the keys to success in the busy world of Business. A smart way of managing time, saving expenditure on technology and resources, preserving energy and making efficient use of manpower by business firms are the qualities that may do justice to the acronym. The flexibility of the work force in a Business firm can be maintained, if a path is paved for the BPO industry.
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Kumar Narasimha said…
Well said, Hanuseo. Are you guys planning to take BPO to rural India and thereby leverage the arbitrage even more, and pass on the benefits to your customers?