PAI-SPEAK … Problem with India is not of joblessness, but of poor wages; learn growth from China, says Mohandas Pai


NEW DELHI: India buys about seven lakh tractors, six lakh autorikshaws, seven-and-a–half lakh trucks every year. Does this not mean also that as many job opportunities have been created in the country? The question was posed by former Infosys CFO and one of the finest brains in the country, TV Mohandas Pai.

Pai feels India does not face a job problem. The problem is rather of wages, as a lot of low-paid jobs are being created which do not find favour with degree-holders. “India is not producing good jobs, but creating a lot of Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 low-paid jobs which are not fancied by degree holders. India has a wage problem, not a job problem.” he told PTI news agency in an interview. 

He suggested that India adopt the Chinese model of opening up labour-intensive industries and building infrastructure near coasts, besides investing heavily in hitech R&D to meet the aspirations of job-seekers.  

“We should look at what China has done. They first opened up the labour intensive industry – invited the rest of the world to come and use its labour and started an export industry. We have not incentivised labour intensive industries. We don’t have proper policies, so we cannot use our surplus labour,” he said. 

China has also invested heavily in hitech Research and Development in many areas, including electronic assembly and chip creation, by incentivising at lower level to create an eco-system. This apart, China built infrastructure near the coasts so that infrastructure and supply chain comes down. We have not built infrastructure around the coasts,” he said. 

Pai said the data on unemployment put out by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018 was erroneous.  There are flaws in the survey methodology for unemployment for the age group of 15 to 29 years. The best data on jobs was the EPFO payroll data, which says 60 to 70 lakh people get formal jobs every year, he said. 

Even vehicle sales throw light on the job situation in India, Pai said, adding that every year 30 to 35lakh people get jobs after discounting vehicle purchases. For example, India buys about seven lakh tractors, six lakh autorikshaws, seven-and-a–half lakh trucks every year. As many as 28lakh cars are bought, of which five lakh may require drivers. The drivers create 30 to 35lakh jobs every year.”

Some time ago, Pai pointed out that big-time IT companies in India have ganged up to pay low salaries to Indian techies. He had pointed out two years ago that the salaries in the IT sector in India are deliberately being made stagnant. “As against offers of Rs 2.25 lakh per annum that used to go out for freshers two decades ago, they have risen only to Rs 3.5 lakh now, which suggests a massive decrease in real wages from an inflation-adjusted perspective,” he pointed out.

At another time, he said India would do well to celebrate the success stories of “heroes” like Dhirubhai Ambani and NR Narayana Murthy, who created wealth for the and jobs for millions. “We have to create a good narrative for India. Our narrative is broken up into very negative matters about this country,” he had pointed out.

He cited the success stories of pharmaceuticals, IT and telecom and said that five our of the top 10 software companies globally are Indian.. “Why can’t we celebrate that Mukesh Ambani wants to build a mature industry on empowering Indians to connect them to web at very low costs. There are so many success stories in India,” Pai had said while addressing an All India Management Association meet. –IHN-NN

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