One of my friends never got to know what it’s like to have a father. He spent all his childhood at his mother’s place as his father left his wife when my friend was only six-months-old. He grew up at his maternal uncle’s place. As he passed his higher secondary examination, and his maternal uncle’s children grew up, the family expenses increased and in the end, my friend has to move out of his house to get a job. But he was just a 12th pass teenager yet to learn some basic lessons of life. How would he get a job and continue his studies further? He came to Ahmedabad and applied in a BPO centre for a job. He got a job after a number of attempts and used to attend college in the daytime. After a couple of years, he brought his mother to Ahmedabad and today he is living in Ahmedabad’s Khokhra area with his mother and a younger brother. He has all the responsibilities of his family. Why am I telling you all this on a networking platform?
Recently, during a business conclave in Bangalore, vice president of a reputed IT company was sharing some observations on automation. He said, “There are many rumours in the market that we are going to lose jobs because of automation. Let me tell you, it’s nothing but a joke. Automation, on the contrary, would create a lot of jobs and people will learn new skills. We should welcome the automation.” He said all this in such a positive tone as if the message was, “And they lived happily ever after.”
I, sitting on the front chair was wondering how could they lie on people’s face? Admit it! Automation will and, for sure, it will affect the job market. Especially, the low wage employees will suffer the most. If there is any sector which is going to get the most affected because of automation – it is BPO- the heartline of India. But, those smiling faces on the top won’t admit it as they are on the other end – beneficiary’s end.
According to a report by US-based research firm, “India’s going to lose 7 lakh low skilled workers in IT and BPO by 2022.” How does it sound like for a country with 1.2 billion population that creates roughly 4 lakh jobs per year? What would have happened to my friend if BPO was not there and if they told him to get advanced skills first? And this is not a story of my friend alone, there are lakhs of such families living and rather surviving because of BPO. If they, on the top, are not in a position to stop the inevitable, at least do not lie on people’s face. It hurts seeing that the things which look fascinating and exciting from far to the youth of India are going to snatch their bread and butter tomorrow.
And the companies which are involved in various kind of CSR activities, be it to change their brand image, to get indirect benefits or for the betterment of society; why don’t they just step in and start teaching the low wage workers those advanced skills which will prove to be a saviour for them tomorrow?
~ Rakesh Kumar