This refers to the article “Deconstructing self employment” (April 9); it is true that the government has been propagating the need for self employment rather than job dependence. However, it is also relevant to note that a large percentage of the self-employed have opted for it out of necessity due to non-availability of jobs. It is a small percentage of the self employed who are capable of developing their skills adequately to make a steady growth from agriculture and village industry to agro- or small- and medium industry. The World Bank has, given the prevailing circumstances, stressed the need for more salaried jobs.
There is no dearth of talent in India. It is the inappropriate tapping of skills that is responsible for the prevailing situation. A bit of diversion from the subject is required to substantiate this. The root cause for the poor quality of self-employment lies in our education system itself. Educational qualifications are more theoretical than practical. The diversification of talent should be done at the high school level itself to ensure that an individual’s talent is tapped appropriately. This gains further significance in a technologically advanced and competitive market environment where economic growth demands vibrancy and quality. A person with greater literary skills will be a misfit in a technical profession just as an engineer need not have the skills of a doctor. Technical training institutes are not given much importance and success in competitive examinations after attaining university qualification is the yardstick of success irrespective of a person’s real skills. Only a very small percentage get admitted to recognised business schools that provide them the entrepreneurial spirit.
Large corporates can also raise the standards of self employment through their satellite units to enable them to cut costs and simultaneously improve market performance. This will make the World Bank review its assessment of job creation and functional standards in the Indian economy.
Gopinath Nair, Kochi
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