The ancient saying Udyogam purusha lakshanam is understood in common parlance as work is the identity of a man. Scholars have enlarged its interpretation to mean engaging oneself in higher spiritual discipline assuming the status of job. All jobs that one takes up are udyogas. For this column, it suffices to stick to the commonly understood meaning of the aforementioned ancient saying, pointing out that the term purusha has tended to include the other gender also, given the rising presence of women in the world of employment as it were. Readers of dailies got tickled recently by the land’s incumbent Prime Minister saying that even producing pakodas for a living is also employment. The widely read off-the-cuff line attributed to the VVIP, interestingly or sadly emerged on the national scene in a grim context of soaring unemployment in the land, in addition to the unguarded declaration by the top brass in the government that it was committed to create two million jobs annually to address the arduous task of providing work to people on a mass scale.
As the entry of more than 10 million virtual elements to the country’s workforce annually is mind-boggling to any administration in the country, the shortfall of opportunities for employment of any sort (barring pakoda making) compared to the mass of aspirants for jobs, one is prompted to observe that despite high grades in various qualifying examinations and tests conducted for screening and selecting the right candidates for specific jobs, it is not sufficient to be just competent but more importantly to be competitive.
Skill in doing work and academic excellence with proof of records such as marks card and certificates are different kettles of fish. We have been informed by industry circles that more than 50 per cent of India’s engineering graduates emerging from colleges and Universities in numbers said to be about 1,00,000 every year are not competent enough to be employed in industry. More shockingly, it has been disclosed from circles in the computer software world that 94 per cent of the graduates in Computer Science don’t possess the skills enough to meet the needs of the sector. The number of subjects and courses available to the country’s youth are so large that one can specialise as a professional similar to specialisations in the medical field.
Close to 25 lakh students pass out from Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) each year across the country with no valid data on how they are employed mirroring an apathetic outlook to harnessing the trained human resource. The just announced measure of setting up a National Board for ITI augurs well for the mass harvest of skilled workforce.