By Captain (Retd.) Ravinder Joshi
INDIA since time immemorial has been a land of entrepreneurs. The majority of population has always been self-employed, be it as a farmer, a trader, manufacturer or service provider like hotelier, banker, entertainer, and musician. Even the army was formed on voluntary basis, i.e. people would take up arms at the time of emergency only and after the war, the majority would return to their earlier profession.
There were very few people who would opt to be servants, though slaves were either captured from the enemy or purchased from slave-traders. Obviously the entrepreneurs had to be enterprising, intelligent and resourceful. This was a unique culture and their legacy is amply evident today as Indians are the brainiest people in the world.
Today, there are more than three crore Indians living abroad in more than 110 countries. In all these countries Indians are at the top. They are considered as the most affluent persons in these countries.
Unfortunately, the present Indian education system prepares us to be seekers and not creators or masters of a job. The British, when ruling India, discovered that Indians were free by nature and their upbringing and education system made everybody free as an individual. Everybody used to get basic minimum education?the so-called primary education?and later on specialisation in their chosen field, be it agriculture, manufacture, trading, art and music, theatre, entertainment, health care, education, astronomy, mathematics, etc. or any other conceivable profession in life.
There are more than three crore Indians living abroad in more than 110 countries. In all these countries Indians are at the top. They are considered as the most affluent persons in these countries.
In a bid to destroy the basic Indian way of life, the British introduced the present mode of education, as they needed servants to perpetuate their rule in India. They made their servants lead a good and sheltered life. They also made such rules that common people had to go to these persons for the necessary permission to ply their trade/profession. Thereby, gradually, government service acquired a high social status and the government servants were considered as part of the ruling class.
Simultaneously the British destroyed the native education system to make us true slaves. Their modus operandi was akin to the technique of domesticating animals.
The present education system has prepared us to lead a sheltered life of a slave. We are willing to become servants provided we do not have to struggle for food. We don´t mind if our masters abuse, ill-treat or degrade us. The education system kills our entrepreneurial spirit and slavery is dinned into our minds, day in and day out. Of course, we have given it a dignified name, and sought a job and security. Now let us see the other side of the coin.
Without entrepreneurs there cannot be any creation of jobs. Since Independence, Central and state governments have created jobs by becoming entrepreneurs themselves. It resulted in the creation of a large number of enterprises (PSUs) where efficiency and productivity were extremely low and quality was almost non-existent. Even when the markets were regulated and there was always shortage, most of these enterprises continued to survive, but the country had to pay a huge price. A day came when we had no money for essential imports like crude oil and defence items and in 1990 we had to mortgage our gold to meet the import requirements. This opened the government´s eyes. Since then we are in an era of open market and globalisation.
Initially, even private-sector industrialists cried against this reform, apprehending closure and stiff competition. However, our ancient entrepreneurial skill came to our rescue and our private sector industries started growing from strength to strength. Today they realise that their market is global and many companies are afraid of competing with India.
Governments at both state and Central level are forced to cut down their expenses and fresh recruitment is almost nil. Surplus staff is being removed through Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). Many of the enterprises are either privatised or trimmed to face the global challenge. The result is that government jobs have dried up, and for one post there are more than 1,000 aspirants.
What is the alternative? Let us see the field where the competition is less today. We are importing items worth US $ 65 billion and exporting worth US $ 55 billion. This total trade represents less than 1 per cent of the world trade. The irony is that populationwise we are more than 16 per cent and are expected to be the third largest economy in another five years´ time. In other words, we can increase our trade almost 20 times. Many Indian companies have earned a good name and big global manufacturers want to source their requirements from India. Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu alone exported spare parts for automobiles and other engineering machines worth Rs 10,000 crores during the year 2002-03. They are able to supply best quality products at very low rates.
In the Information Technology sector, software worth 7 billion dollars was exported. Value-added items like gold and silver jewellery has a huge demand worldwide, and so do organic food fetch a huge premium. What is needed is to be sincere, hardworking and, most importantly, to have a dream to rise in life. The choice is unlimited? agriculture, manufacturing, and trading, service provider, entertainment, etc. Almost 70 per cent jobs are in the service sector, like banking, education, hospitality, health care, constultancy, tourism, sports, etc.
To be successful with one´s job one has to be well prepared, otherwise failure is not far. Therefore, why not adopt an easier option and be a job creator where competition is less and returns are extremely high?