Mumbai, Aug 17: Sixty-two years after independence and after opening its economy about 17 years ago, the country is facing a daunting challenge -- that of lack of quality manpower, to fuel the rapidly growing economy and manage the business operations of India Inc that is on acquisition spree overseas.
In the times of globalization and free market economy, one could expect a country with a workforce of 516.4 million to churn out groundbreaking innovators from its technical and management schools to provide skilled labour to manage an ever-increasing number of industries. But that is not happening. At the global level, Indian companies are competing and winning using a low-pricing model, not due to new innovative ideas. As the country continues to open its market to foreign competition, threats to India's outsourcing business are already on the horizon, with emerging lower labour cost countries showing signs of possesing the ability to cut into India's lucrative outsourcing business.
One of the reasons that could be attributed to it is an acute dearth of socio-economic visionaries, entrepreneurs and geniune risk takers, who can give a vital edge for the country to be at the forefront.
''We have not been able to utilize our immense workforce which is equal to the value of oil in Saudi Arabia to our advantage,'' observed an analyst at a recent Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) meet.
Another reason is the education system. Its emphasis on learning by rote and scoring marks in exams, has stifled imaginative thinking and creativity among the children to grow up as visionary entrepreneurs.
''Fundamental failures in the education and vocational systems have dampened the entrepreneural spirit in India and has resulted in acute shortage of skilled manpower, jeopardizing the country's growth,'' is the verdict of an all-India study carried out by the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) among 155 entrepreneurs and stakeholders.
''The curriculum in colleges has been designed in a way that does little to encourage lateral thinking,'' said Madan Padaki, chief executive officer and co-founder of MeriTrac Services, a Bangalore-based skill assesment company.
About 25 per cent of the 5.5 lakh engineers that are churned out annually have the verbal and analytical abilities, to understand problems and think of solutions, he added.
Another factor is the aversion among Indians to take risks, especially the aspiring lower and middle class, which provide a vast majority of the workforce.