I’ve been looking at Dr Kandathil K Jacob’s article, Why India can be global knowledge economy leader. Dr.Jacob’s resume is impressive, he is a IIT-Bombay Mechanical Engineering graduate and a UCB (University of California, Berkeley) MBA and currently works in San Francisco based company.
His article is built well around facts and figures, resulting as they do from the wealth of knowledge he has aggregated over the years in US. Unfortunately, Jacobs’ is a birds-eye-view of India’s strength, which rarely looks dull when seen from a distance. Come closer and the scenario doesn’t look that bright. This becomes clear when one of the comments to his posting harks on reservation issue, while others border on skepticism.
Data to Expertise – not so fast! [Picture source]
To his credit, Jacob stuffs his article with a nice elaboration of how raw data transforms into expertise, supporting it with narration he does with élan (image above is loaned from his article). The picture on ground is rather different, though I wish to say that it is not as grim as some of the comments tend to portray.
Rosy stories about India’s eminence usually come from the west, and much of that are self-serving attempts. India’s middle-class is huge and it’s here that all the ‘knowledge’ potential is limited, but even the large middle class pales in comparison to those who are poor and under-privileged.
Even within middle-class, it’s more a case of plain imitation instead of path-breaking initiatives. KPO will not do anything extraordinarily different from what BPO and the call-centers before it have done. Which is enriching a burgeoning middle class with loads of money.
The moot question is do we want this only, or we want to build an economy with all-round development, and a country that recognizes and nurtures real talent? If the answer is in affirmative, then Jacob’s forecast will be of less consequence, his tall wishes notwithstanding.
Incidentally, one can’t help but noticing Jacob’s taking advantage of the article to subtly inform about PanIIT 2006 Global Conference. One wonders if there’s a connection!
Related reading: Infosys, Google and Indian talent.