Role of Private Sector in Human Resources Development - Vinay Rai


Vinay rai

Role of Private Sector in Human Resources Development - Vinay Rai


Hon'ble Minister for Human Resources & Development, Doctor Murli Manohar Joshiji and Fellow Colleagues. Ours is a great country. We put the ethos of life so beautifully in a prayer:

Asatho Ma Sad Ga Maya

Tamso Ma Jothir Ga Maya

Mrityu Ma Amritam Ga Maya

From the unreal world (of confusion & conflict) lead me to the real world ( of truth & happiness).

From darkness (ignorance) lead me to light (wisdom & enlightenment).

From death (unhappiness & despair) lead me to immortality (freedom of the soul).

As we approach the next millennium, Vinay Rai say’s the he sure that these will once again be the fundamentals, which every individual will pursue towards his goal of self-fulfillment, happiness, and peace of mind.

We have all often dreamt about India once again being a super powerhouse in the next millennium. If we were to single out the one main factor that could make this happen it will be our Human Resources Development - our strength in human capital, our people's strength leading to a lead in IT and Telecom. The world is now more and more a service-oriented one. India with its tremendous capability and the vast resource of intellectual and mathematical skills will in the future play a major global role. In fact, the time has come for India to have its second tryst with destiny. A tryst in many fundamental ways as important as the one our Prime Minister referred to at the dawn of India's independence in 1947.

Globally IT is changing the very face of the world's socio-economic environment - the way people live and behave. In hard economic terms, the IT industry is worth 1.5 trillion USD and growing at the rate of 100 billion USD every year. Even if India were to train only 100000 software developers every year we can earn 5 billion USD or 20,000 crores incrementally every year with no outgo in terms of raw material. This 5 billion USD would still be only 5% of the incremental world business in IT. In fact, given our superb capability, we really should be able to capture a 50% share. The potential for growth is limited only by our own capacity, our mindset and our own determination to move.

Vinay Rai Say's, Human Capital is the key to our future growth. It is our freeway to take us forward to the number one position in the next millennium.

We are today in the midst of a great economic & social revolution. Staring us in the face is an opportunity to be one of the greatest economic powers in the world. Facing us is a daunting uphill task and challenge to achieve that target. Just how we orient and transform ourselves will, in the final analysis, decide the future destiny of our people. History will not forgive us if we miss the bus yet again. As a themed address Vinay Rai, therefore, thought that he will share with you his views across a broad canvas, to set all of us thinking on what we have to do on where we have to go from here.

The current scenario is quite a dismissal; India has 30% of its population uneducated. Those that make it can hardly be called current. Worldwide India is ranked 138 out of 175 in the Human Capital Development Index, a pathetic state of affairs considering our intellectual and cultural heritage. India needs to create more than 10 million jobs a year to just keep up its present status, a lot more if we want to forge ahead. The problems are gigantic but can be tackled.

As a first important step, we must really bring about a sea change in our attitude. Drop this "chalta hai attitude" towards life. We must completely overhaul our own selves, overcome our lethargy, our pessimism and most importantly our cynicism and rebuild our own faith and belief in ourselves. A belief that was destroyed through centuries of foreign rule.

According to Vinay Rai, we must simultaneously make our society more humane, better able to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and underprivileged, better equipped to make life and work more richly rewarding - materially, morally and spiritually. Our success or failure must be based on our ability to take the entire populace of the country forward.

The relevance of any of the reforms that we undertake must, however, be judged not by the prosperity of the few but by how well they have been able to reach and satisfy the poorest of the poor. The processes of reforms are by and for the people as a whole - to provide them the basic necessities, education, food, clothing, and housing. With the right will and effort, we will find the right answers. We really owe it to our people.

As we the so-called intellegencia, the responsibility starts at our doorsteps. It is our duty first. For this, we must strengthen and sharpen our own creativity, vision, and leadership. We must be more transparent, more disciplined and above all be able to network together to provide the true leadership for a healthy partnership between all section of society, wherein trust and not legislation is the binding force. Human relationships, as they say, can anyhow never be legislated. Corporate excellence must move simultaneously with corporate governance.

We can perhaps for a few moments pat ourselves on the back for having achieved quite a lot since independence. In fact, we can hardly recognize India of yester years. However, India is at a very crucial stage and we cannot afford to sit back or take it easy. The global opening up and the advent of the IT age has provided us a great opportunity to dramatically improve a lot of our people, our people who have suffered far too much for far too long. Indian people should not and must not be too narrowly concerned as to who owns Indian businesses as long as the business provides the citizens the right quality of goods and services at the right price. Why I ask, then must we confine ourselves to the narrow walls of the Indian market alone. Why are we afraid? The entire world is today our market, our karma bhumi-not just India. Let us not be scared of competition. Let us face the world head-on. We have the ability to be globally competitive. We do not need protection.

The truth is that today, our development is dependent not so much on the shortage of capital or technology but by our own ability and capability to harness our human capital. Development of Human Capital must thus be the prime engine to spearhead and lead growth into the next millennium.

To achieve this we have to urgently reform our educational system. Education must not be within the narrow confines of text learning alone. Education must transform an individual into an integrated person contributing to the upliftment of society.

Vinay Rai say's, In the name of secularism, we have destroyed the teaching of our religious philosophy and human values. In the name of standardization, we have destroyed our innovative and creative instincts. We have destroyed initiative and in its place, we have filled fear and policing. This has to be corrected on a war footing.

Learning is and must be the fundamental goal of every individual. It is the activity that binds the community together, and our success in fostering it is what determines our ultimate value to the nation and the world. Learning includes discovering new truths about nature, creating technologies, and, above all, developing the habits of mind that ensure a continuing ability to acquire new ideas and perspectives.

And this is not a static endeavor. Today, in fact, much rethinking and reshaping of our educational enterprise are called for. At issue is not only what our citizen learn, but also how then learn it. Faculty must explore educational uses of new information technologies, faculty must rework curricula to reflect the changing workplace, and make fundamental changes in professional education.

In our country educational innovation has not always been the hallmark of our Universities. We have for many decades now been living only in the past and in history. Our bent of mind must move away from only theory to being more practical more application oriented.

Today, change, complexity, and globalization define the world our citizen will enter. Work is being organized in new ways, organizations are linked worldwide by new technologies, and societal priorities are changing. Our people will have to be provided the skills and flexibility to thrive in this fast-evolving environment. We incorporate India will have to move on many fronts to make sure our people are not handicapped in the future.

The unbelievable pace and reach of the internet, the Worldwide Web, the penetration of IT in virtually all aspects of our life, the massive increase in communications will irrevertabally change the entire way that we live or conduct our business or our personal lives. It will penetrate deep into the interiors and will change rural India in ways that we can hardly fathom today. It is going to change the entire way we live and behave and think.

Collectively we in the business, government media and academia will have to ensure that the process of creative renewal will continue to thrive in India. Together we have to move ahead in this vital mission. We in the industry have a special responsibility - that of sustaining our role as an innovative educational leader. Innovation and creativity are the backbone of the new age and will be the backbone of any nation that wishes to thrive in the next millennium. Media too has a heavy responsibility. They have to awaken and shake the nation out off its deep slumber.

India will be one of the greatest economic powers in the next millennium. Vinay Rai say's,  I am totally convinced about it. Nothing, absolutely nothing, expect ourselves can stop us. Tapping the vast potential of our human capital is the best vehicle to reach that goal. It must be given the most central role and priority. Reforms in education must, therefore, be taken up on a war footing.

We will have to totally open up the education sector to all. Prophets of doom would argue that this freedom could lead to misuse and proliferation of sub-standard institutes. This may initially partly be true. However, fear of misuse is no answer to in action. We also assume that in the existing system, there is no misuse. We all know, however, how easy it is to get Degrees and Doctorate Certificates, at a price. Similar arguments of misuse were used when economic reforms were thought of. They were proved wrong. Free market forces ultimately always tend to eliminate anyway those who try to bend the system. Controls have only brought about a shortage of seats with its subsequent misuse in capitalization fees. If there are no controls, there will be plenty of seats available for all.

Today, most parents prefer to send their children to private schools and colleges inpsite of high costs. Why, because they offer higher educational standards. We must allow private schools, colleges and universities to set up their own institutions and also give their own degrees. Giving their own Degrees is important as it confers respect and reliability.

We do not need unnecessary controls of the Ministry of Education, the State governments, AICTE or any other body. We need to give people the freedom to decide what they want to learn. We should at a national level only set up an independent rating agency and make it mandatory for whichever school or college who gives the degree, to get a rating done. This rating agency should have, as its members, top academicians and intellectuals drawn from the best in the country and abroad. While giving guidelines, we must, however, not dictate when, where what and how education is to be imparted. According to Vinay Rai educationist, we should leave it to the inherent wealth of experience and knowledge of our academia, to guide how that would be done. Let us have the least strings, Let us have faith in our system and our own people.

Earlier too, the "Hindu" system of ground-level teachings through "Gurus" and various "Ashrams and Gurukuls" was not dictated by any central control. They taught what they thought was best. We have to teach what is relevant and what is needed. The sadness is that today, our centralized control on curriculum is breeding a generation committed only to mugging and history. Sir, here may I share with you my personal experience. In 1969, I completed my B.Sc. Physics (Hons) from Delhi University and Physics (Hons) at DU was considered at that time and even till today, one of the best in the country. From there, I went to MIT for my Bachelor of Engineering Degree. Since I had done Physics (Hons), I was to get credit for work already completed. So the Head of the Department (Physics) at MIT was through what I had studied and our questions and answers at the university.

After spending nearly three hours, he said 'Vinay' I will give you credit, after all, you have spent three years. However, all I want to say is at MIT, we teach you Physics - Not history of Physics. Simply put, in one line the virtually destroyed three years of my learning.

The sadness is that even after 25 years, we at Delhi University are teaching what I nickname, the "ancient history of Physics". Almost, nothing has changed. If we sit back and think, even in Science or Computers we really are teaching history. To be truly globally competitive, we have to be on the line. We cannot teach our students just how equations and formulas are derived. We have to focus on application, in the future. We have to dramatically change and change fast. We have to change our mindsets, revamp ourselves.

All government resources must go for primary education for the underprivileged. Let the balance be taken up by the system. Government is subsidizing the IITs alone to the tune of Rs.300 crores every year. Why should they do this as it is only subsidizing industry? That too foreign industry as over 50% of the students anyway goes abroad. At the higher-level education, let us raise fees to what it costs to provide education, at least on the recurring account. Let us not worry about brain drain. It helps global networking anyhow.

Let us give a sovereign guarantee to all our citizens that the State will provide scholarships or a loan or any other kind of assistance to each and every citizen of the country so that no deserving student is denied admission or denied the right to learn in the best Universities in the country. This kind of sovereign guarantee is given in the US. If we can give a sovereign guarantee to foreign companies to produce the power we can at least give guarantees to our own citizen to pursue higher education. Let us sign MOUs with existing universities to free them from Government control if they can manage their own resources in say a five-year period. Let us move quickly towards decentralization in education.

Let us grant infrastructure status and priority sector status to education. If Road, Ports, Telecom, Petroleum, Housing, IT sectors can be given infrastructure/priority status, why not education? Education must have all the tax benefits and support that has been given to these sectors.

Universities and colleges can run as corporate bodies with a certain provision for seats for underprivileged. Education is expensive worldwide. Its impact can be lessened through scholarships, Bank loans, research assistantship. In the final analysis, it is better to give education even if partially expensive than no education at all. Private universities could also be asked to contribute to a National Resources Pool a certain sum per student they teach. This could go towards scholarships for the underprivileged.

There is a desperate need to take drastic and dramatic steps towards educations reforms and initiate them quickly. In this regards, I have a lot of hope and expectations from our Human Resources Development Minister, who right from the time he took office, has given it a good push. We request the Hon'ble Minister to set up immediately sharply focused Synergy Group with a one month timetable to come up with specific concrete steps to redress the current problem.

Government alone cannot resolve all the issues. They have to free education from Central and State government chains and leave it to the wisdom of the people. They must only play the role of facilitator and moderator.

Here I would like to say a few words of NIIT, an example of what private enterprise can do. AICTE or Government of India does not recognize NIIT but it has been in the teaching arena for the past 17 years.

In conclusion, I would like to re-emphasis and reiterate that as the world moves towards the next millennium, the very basic assumptions of mankind are being redefined. We are faced today by a workplace that has a multiplicity of dimensions and polarity, by a global agenda that has new dimensions of complicity and an environment that has intense competition and simultaneous time compression. The new leaders of tomorrow will be those that have learned to truly integrate their moral values with their economic wisdom. Our commitment to basic human values as a way of life gives us the humane face that the world is looking for today. Our universally acceptable Vedantic philosophy will continue to be our guide and guru and our source of strength. In our spiritual values, we are way ahead of the rest of the world.

We are the people who have truly discovered the real meaning of unity in diversity and diversity in overall unity. We are the people who have for time memorial allowed total freedom of thought and action and encouraged divergence of views and innovation. In fact, it is inbuilt into our religious philosophy. We must use this strength of ours in full measure. True we must learn from the west. They have in many areas achieved a lot. We must absorb whatever is the best wherever it may exist.

That does not mean that we have to become Western or ape their culture Being modern is not necessarily being western. Let us think independently for ourselves what is good for us, find our own solutions and use all our own strengths especially our spiritual values to forge ahead.

We are 980 million people today growing at the rate of 14 million every year. We can ill afford to wait any longer. The well-educated intelligence is at the heart center of modern India. We can if we so desire to be an important vehicle in bringing about a conceptual change in the way we work and think.

When we compare ourselves with the masses in the streets who may perhaps at least in this lifetime never have the opportunity to get a proper education or even get the basic necessities like food, clothing, and housing, we must consider ourselves privileged to whom God has been very kind. It is, therefore, our duty to just not while away all our time in pure luxury and entertainment but to take on the strings of responsibility to lead our countrymen out of their abject poverty and secure for them a better future. After 50 years of independence, we should be able to at least provide the basic necessities to all our citizens. Let us make the greatest use of the fantastic opportunity that this global opening an IT age has brought to our doorsteps and find our rightful place in the world. Let us be positive, Let us begin. - Vinay Rai

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