The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

December - 2009 - issue > India Road Ahead

Young Population is India's key Strength

Anupam Phuja
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Anupam Phuja
The other day when I was going through Abdul Kalam’s ‘India of my dreams’ I envisioned what a great role the IT sector has cut out for itself. I am excited at this juncture because I have the able authority in my hand to implement my dreams. I am the Managing Director of SumTotal solutions India, a Hyderabad based firm (of the US parent company) that supplies HR software solutions to companies. The HR software solutions industry is very niche in our country, for that matter HR in itself is, dare I say so for every organization nowadays has a separate HR department. But my points is that, how many companies will cross their hearts and say that they consider HR strategically critical for the growth of their business. Many company heads still believe that HR comes into play only when a person joins the firm, has trouble with the firm or wants to leave it.

One of the strengths of our economy, which also came to light during the past year, is the presence of a half billion strong literate workforce, complimenting the fact that a vast majority of this country’s population is young. What this means is, that such a huge population is continuously trying to work for a living and in trying to improve their lot, they are not only pushing up the per capita income of the country but also continuously thinking of innovative ideas thereby creating new business opportunities regularly.

Technology is booming with a lot of opportunities as of now. Although presently, use of IT application in India is much lower compared to China and far Eastern countries. Tele-density in India is only 2.6 per hundred compared to a world average of about 15. Lack of bandwidth, low speed leased lines and untimely servicing are some of the impediments that presently beset the IT sector. Unless our tele-density increases significantly, a genuine IT revolution would not be possible to usher in, in our country. The main hurdle in spreading IT and to increase the computer literacy base is the huge investment required to bring about the improvement. In our country, most people can’t afford to buy computers and only substantial investment can ameliorate the scenario in telephony, power and internet and provide a wider section of our society with its benefits. While countries like India have a telephone density of about 1.5 per hundred inhabitants advanced countries like US and Sweden report around 50percent homes with computers, phones and Internet connection. Despite all of the above we have many new sectors of technology that are brimming with talent from Biotechnology taking Indian agriculture to another level to Telecom with mobile users in India crossing the million mark, defying the economic class diversity that we have in India.

We have the largest number of Science graduates in our country. Looking back on the footmarks, India has indeed come a long way, with the IT sector contributing significant revenue share to the Indian government. Since the early eighties, IT awareness and related developments have been taking place in our country at a galloping pace. Many engineering colleges including IITs, RECs, IGNOU and many private computer training institutes started offering computer courses and thereby produced a huge number of IT specialists. The competence of Indian computer specialists have been since acclaimed universally and many of them were absorbed in high paying jobs in foreign countries mainly in the US, UK, Australia and a few others. But that was just the lull before the storm. The recent US slowdown and substantial job cuts for Indian IT professionals mainly in the US seemed to have acted as a dampener for IT enthusiasts. Nevertheless, things aren’t as gloomy as many Pundits would have us believe. Several domestic companies such as Hughes software and Wipro have posted excellent results even in the current financial year, comfortably exceeding market expectations.

We are soon going to establish ourselves as a global superpower in terms of our human knowledge bank because we Indians tend to give a lot of importance to Education. When Barack Obama cited his concern at not enough young Americans opting for Science and Maths, Indians have always made these two subjects their forte. These early seeds drive innovation’s giant wheels at a much later stage. Furthermore, they eventually drive business profitability and usher in better standards of living.

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