Somehow it surprises me that all ‘socialist’ leaders concerned about poor people have very rich friends and buddies. This has been the rule rather than exception, not just in India, but all over the world.
In India almost every leader likes to be called ‘socialist’. Almost all of them have their asset declarations running into several crores. Most important, they would be leaders who have spent most of their life in politics doing nothing else and had a poor or modest beginning.
I always wonder how these leaders managed to save amounts that no ordinary citizen could do.
Hence when Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amir Singh, close and thick friends of Industry and Entertainment mogul running their empires on computers and English language, declare their contempt for computer and English literacy, it surprises me more.
After all what Mulayam says is seemingly simple. There are large sections of population in Hindi Heartland not good at English and their only blocker to a job, is knowledge of English. Mulayam by removing English language, is lowering the bar and thus enabling their employment.
Once it is done, his Industry mogul friends would hire huge amount of people speaking pure and chaste Hindi. Actually they have not been recruiting people speaking Hindi because of some legal requirements in India to speak English. The moment English is abolished by Mulayam, they would go ahead and recruit Hindi speaking population in a huge way!
When Mulayam stops computers, all the Public sector enterprises along with private sector enterprises that friends of Mulayam own will switch over to manual mode of clerical computation. This would lead to a job bloom in India!
Once I was talking to a caste leader in TamilNadu, who was fighting for 20% reservation for his caste. I couldn’t understand his logic. But his logic was as simple as Mulayam’s. Every caste should be given reservation in proportion to its percentage in population. In this way 100% employment can be achieved!
For all our leaders socialism is ‘escapism’! A way to escape and not be responsible to people. For them power means strength to manage their term and not responsibility to people’s life in the long term.
All this does not take away the fact that extensive computerization has reduced huge amount of job opportunities in India.
Most of the public sector institutions have stopped hiring and making themselves lean ( and mean) because of computerization. This is absolutely true. In a hugely populous India, computerization has reduced huge amount of clerical man-power requirements.
Not just now. In history of economics, jobs getting wiped out and new jobs replacing them has been a constant factor. Potters, Handloom weavers, Farm laborers, carpenters, blacksmiths and so many small tradesmen have been chucked out of jobs due to constant mechanization of jobs. In fact this is what has contributed to a huge urban poor population, living in slums and dilapidated conditions.
Some may argue that computerization and automation leads to optimization and cheaper services for consumers. But truly, no one has seen this kind of effect in India, where even at 0% inflation, price of food grains keep rising.
Though Mulayam’s solutions could be rubbished, he is right in addressing the problem of unemployment. It is true and hurting the nation. It is going to hurt our nation more.
The only solution is long term and that is equipping people with capabilities to demand and contribute to society. It means enterprising education, non-dogmatic economic models that are more suitable to huge populations our country and this planet would face now and in future. It means leaders who take responsibility for their people and who don’t escape with simple solutions.
It’s time that India and Indians evolve their own new economic models that are not dogmatic and suitable to their environment.
Though the merit of economic models could be debated and discussed, it all primarily means not escaping, but engaging with people and being responsible to people. It means treating power as responsibility and not as a mere management of survival.
India has seen lot of managers in politics in the last six decades. It now needs leaders.