Productive India not very distant from Political India
Swapan Dasgupta recently drew a sharp line between his versions of Productive & Political India. I don’t see these two worlds as divergent as he made them out to be. Let me explain why.
Politicians, among a million other frailties, are known not to keep promises, keep people waiting and have a ready excuse for every lapse. Let’s juxtapose these infirmities with Indian job aspirants.
Most of them miss deadlines when it comes to submitting their resumes to search firms. Even if the resumes arrive after several prods, the documents look more like that of their bosses. If the resume passes muster with the front line recruiters of the employer, confirmed interview slots are suddenly reneged upon. Should the individual make it past the selection panel, offers that are agreed upon verbally are disputed and declined in sudden U turns. At the extreme back end of the selection process, candidates very often don’t show up on the scheduled day of on boarding. In the unlikely event of the recruiter being able to get through to these evasive guys, the reasons touted could range from, “My mother did not want to relocate”, “I have a problem with the weather of Chennai”, “The office is too far from my house,” and “I have to keep going back to my native (sic) which this company won’t encourage”.
Ask a recruiting manager of a new gen company about how many candidates he has to work with to select just one. Chances are it would be more than 30.
When we castigate politicians for not attending legislative sessions, we should also reflect upon how many hours of effective work transpires in technology companies with serial interruptions for coffee & tea breaks, smoking interludes, lunch recess, sporting events on TV, private calls (mostly from placement companies) and plain malingering.
Early in our stay in Bangalore, a senior manager of one of India’s top three software exporting companies lamented to me that his job was more of a police inspector’s than a technologist’s. He had to fake client calls in his glass chamber to drill a sense of urgency into his work force. It appears that even more ingenious methods are employed now to get unprofessional employees to meet client deadlines.
I am not an advocate of the political class one bit if that is what some of you are sensing. But the convergence between the political, bureaucratic and the technology sectors in terms of unacceptable work habits signals a pattern that many seem to be missing.
The backgrounds of these three genres appear to be the same. There is a distinct “sarkarI” feel to the arrogance that one has come to associate with most of our technology folks. Is it the steep dowry that imbues coders with this attitude? Just as it does with civil services selects from some states? Or is it the “on shore” induced fortune that manifests itself in multiple flats and cars? But to their credit, coders make tax washed money which netas and babus don’t.
In my lexicon, the real Productive India comprises Indians who work in smoke stack industries and on the farms. But there is an alarming flight from the farms to the dehumanizing cities rather than to the factories that China was able to achieve.
Services professionals with the possible exception of those pounding the pavements for new bank accounts, insurance covers and SIM cards till their souls and soles wear out, are increasingly beginning to look and behave like our politico-bureaucratic class that has killed enterprise in India.