Friday, June 16, 2006

Its about the people

The previous post about education and the point on how our artificial shortages in the education field can be turned around to our advantage simply by increasing supply (not of IITs, but of decent schools and colleges) brings me to a point about the strength in our people.

Indians were among the biggest labour suppliers to Gulf infrastructure projects. We could have set up big infrastructure companies, but we missed that bus.

Indians are perhaps the largest number of contractors employed as coders abroad. Here is one place where we have converted that into an industry, that of IT services and it looks like we are getting someplace.

Indians are nurses in many hospitals around the world. We can convert that by selling as a destination for medical tourism. We are getting some business here too.

Indians are teachers in many schools across the world. Why cant we use that opportunity to create world class schools in India for Indians and foreigners? Many Indians are very well known professors. We ccould use their talent to establish some great universities and research centres in India. We are nowhere in this field and with our current shortsighted policies, we are going to stay where we are are.

In all of these industries, and any other industry, it is all about the people. Yes it is about infrastructure also, but then where does infrastructure come from? Another set of people.

We can be a supplier of labour to companies around the world or we can turn it around or create an industry out of any of these or other industry. For that we can either have our government enable those opportunities (which will never hapen) or be indifferent (as in the case of IT). Unfortunately, the mindset of the old men in our government is one of shackling our industry, our economy. Hopefully our private enterprise(s) will find a way to unshackle our country in some of these fields or in new fields.

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