Alvin Toffler in his famous book, “Third Wave” had predicted that the next revolution that mankind would face, would be the Information Technology Revolution, so neatly described as the Third Wave, after the agricultural and industrial revolution waves. The book was published during the late 80″s, almost bordering on the beginning of the Nineties. At that time ,apart from the US,Japan and perhaps Germany and Britain, no other country had made forays into the intriguing world of Information Technology. Of course it goes without saying that the US pioneered the IT wave. Even at the time of the publishing of the book, the US had a tolerably well-developed Internet network and had introduced a reasonable amount of e-governance in the administrative set up. But Alvin Toffler was right to the last T, almost uncannily. The world witnessed the onslaught of the Third Wave of such proportion and intensity, that no pundit could have imagined even in his wildest dreams.
The introduction of the world wide web and the Internet protocol along with the softwares like Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, saw an enormous spurt in the use of the Internet for knowledge dissemination and information exchange. The world was brought closer and made to look much smaller. Transcending the conventional means of communication like land mail, air mail and sea mail, people resorted to email for faster and instant communication. Companies and large corporates could access each others’ databases through the net rather than through cumbersomely protracted correspondence. A brave new world , magical and possessing the speed of lightning, was unraveled before the amazed citizens. Whole libraries, governmental information,general knowledge , manufacturing processes and many many more became accessible to the net browser at his fingertips, literally.
All these developments did not come about overnight. It took spirited human endeavour and hours of strenuous toil to unearth these marvelous technologies. Apart from high-end computers and fanciful configurations, these developments pre-supposed one vital ingredient- Skilled manpower. The human resources part was really critical to the success of these innovations. The developed countries faced a really massive manpower crunch. They could not meet the demand for skilled personnel . The mismatch in demand and supply of IT professionals and the sky-rocketing development in Technology, induced a deepening crisis in these countries.The writing on the wall was clear. Either these countries had to somehow generate several thousands of skilled manpower in a short time or had to look elsewhere. The ‘elsewhere’ became the final choice.
India ,one of the largest democracies of the world, has been struggling to come to terms with its teeming millions and the choice between open market economy and the socialist model immensely popularized by the then existent USSR. As a result India has been stagnating for almost four decades, caught between the two stools of capitalism and socialism. But destiny had other plans for India. The government installed in power in 1991, had in its ranks , a few young administrators who possessed the ambition- the fire-in-the-belly- and the vision for sustained development. They dared to dream of making India, a force to be reckoned with in Technology. These men bravely adopted policies of globalisation, liberalization and privatization. They opened the gates for new technology. The very fabric and ethos of Indian infrastructure and the direction of it’s growth were changed as a result. The dreams of a few talented men, began to metamorphise into reality.
The thrust of Indian development shifted from mere agrarian orientation to development of technological infrastructure. Along with the opening of communication links, launch of dedicated communication satellites, very small aperture terminals (VSAT) and setting up of optical fibre networks, successive governments focused on building IT-intensive educational institutions, engineering colleges and training institutes. A few years down the line, these intensive, result-oriented measures paid rich dividends in the form of tens of thousands of skilled young Indian manpower, skilled in software engineering, applications development, hardware engineering and software management.While other developed countries had focused on technology development , India silently crafted a manpower revolution and was perched on a virtual goldmine, waiting for the world to approach them. The demands came in a large cascades.
Right from the mid-nineties, the developed countries began to approach India for tech-savvy manpower. The voracious appetite of these countries for manpower was matched by the inexhaustible supply of IT-skilled manpower by India. These years saw the large scale of migration of Indian youth, a great many of them, immensely talented and professionally trained, to the developed countries like US and Germany.Many countries, especially US recognized the huge potential of India for manpower resources. The fact that the software giant Microsoft Corporation employs Indian skilled manpower to the extent of 80% of its total employee strength is a true indicator of India’s increasing domination in the area of IT-skilled manpower.
Competition from other Asian countries like China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, has been keen and aggressive. Overcoming these stiff challenges ,was in itself a commendable feat.Today India’s position as a global leader in the supply of skilled manpower, is virtually undisputed. The manpower supplied by India covers diverse areas like software development, network administration,system administrator,software maintenance and management, component development,embedded applications and softwares,mobile applications and PDA development, Pocket PCs and Tablet PCs, domain registration and web hosting, web design and development and so many more areas. Again it is worth mentioning here that the Southern states of India, namely Karnataka, Chennai, Andhra Pradesh and to a minor extent , Kerala, contribute heavily to the export of manpower. Several hundred thousands of overseas Visas and work permits are issued every year to Indian professionals. Immigration rules and visa regulations have been simplified to accommodate more and more professionals from India. United States, UK and Germany have embassies and consultates in India functioning at full throttle. Online visa application registration and processing has gained currency in order to handle the large number of applicants. Statistics reveal that of the more than 700000 work permits granted to Indian citizens last year by US, more than 635000 belonged to Information Technology category.
The dominance of India as a reliable human resources provider, is not presently under any sort of threat.On the contrary ,as far as IT-skilled manpower is concerned , India is steadily increasing its’ domination over the nearest competitor, by significant quantums. India owes its premier position to factors like favourable governmental attitude, sustained development of IT infrastructure, steady growth of quality educational and training institutions , the dedication and commitment of its’ workforce and of course the craving of the Indian educated youth for international employment and recognition.
It does not need any great sixth sense capabilities or magical vision to predict the growth of Indian IT initiative in the future. As long as the Western Population numbers remain within the existing levels and the Indian Populations sustains the present growth rate ( which it surely will), the scope and area of India’s manpower export , should grow exponentially, trampling underneath all competition.
India has rightly chosen its IT professionals to deliver the country from poverty, illiteracy and stagnation. Off-shore outsourcing, knowledge processing and business process outsourcing- you name it, India has the right personnel for it.
No doubt, India’s destination is IT-super power status, which is just around the corner!