Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Purna Mishra's response to Mr. Karnick

From: "Purna Mishra" Date: Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:27

Subject: RE: My reply to Mr. Karnik and MohantyDear Mr. Karnik,

I appreciate your good feeling for Orissa and your commitment to
Orissa and her marginalized population.

I was little surprised when I read your suggestion that Orissa must
focus on primary education. I do not believe any one will disagree
with you that the quality of basic education in India is suffering
from lack of focus and adequate investment and is needed to build a
quality workforce.

I left India in 1982 to pursue graduate studies in Computer Science
in US. Over the years, I have been to India several times a year and
over the last year and half working closely with a few software
development companies (all members of Nasscom) in India to
collaborate on the product development for building the next
generation real-time enterprise performance management systems.

I do not believe your email to Sachi truly reflect your position as
the president of Nasscom or the Nasscom as the organization. Here
is why I believe your letter and your public positions are sending
contrasting messages.

For example, while speaking at the national seminar on IT workforce
development organized by Netaji Subhas Open University you had asked
the West Bengal government to build in human resource and make
students at the university level employable by teaching them skills
required for the industry. Of course the industry you were talking
about is IT, ITeS, BPO, and KPO. I could not agree more when you
said at the same venue that education should be regarded as the
means to production of employable human capital and stressed on the
need for higher education so that knowledge can be used as a tool to
development of wealth. I absolutely agree a good quality higher
education in science and technology is essential to development of
human capital.

In fact, I am glad that Nasscom and India Inc have jointly
recommended to the Finance Minister to boost the spending on higher
education as the prescription for sustained growth and on January
9th, you asked the Central Government to accord the same status and
importance to higher education as is being given to primary
education. As any professional truly interested in growth and
prosperity of India and ordinary Indians I am elated with your stand
and position. Your leadership to suggest the development on higher
education at par with primary education by creating a national
mission on higher education as the National Literacy Mission must be
adopted and put in to practice. It is exciting that Nasscom is
exploring to sign a memorandum of understanding with the University
Grants Commission to help incorporate industry-relevant skill-sets
as part of specific curriculum. Your partnership with Dr. Arun
Nigavekar (UGC Chairman) to help incorporate industry-relevant
skill-sets as part of specific curriculum is exciting and brings a
new line of thinking for India. According to the recent
NASSCOM-Mckinsey report, the IT/ITeS sector is running up an
employability crisis which could dent India’s pre-eminence as the
preferred global offshoring destination. To tide over this quality
shortfall, NASSCOM is suggesting setting up focused higher education
zones, deregulating the higher education regime in stages and going
in for a demand-based funding system for colleges and universities,
industry-owned, government-facilitated integrated skill development
programs and massive awareness creation about career prospects in
the IT/BPO industries, especially in upcountry cities/towns (Tier-II
cities in India). Colonel M. Vijay Kumar Director STPI Hyderabad
speaking on the IT scenario in Hyderabad vis-à-vis Bangalore has
stated publicly that “In Bangalore, IT and the software industry,
dates back to a decade-and-a-half. The presence of institutes such
as IIS, RDO Labs and ISRO have added to the scientific temperament
and ambience of Bangalore. Major Public Sectors in electronic sector
like HAL, BEL, IT have thrived in Bangalore, giving rise to lot of
private entrepreneurship. This has acted as a catalyst for the
software industry development in Bangalore.”

In earnest I must ask you what is good for India, Bengal, Andhra,
and Bangalore should be emulated and put into practice by Orissa.
How can Orissa attract these higher paying jobs to Orissa without
access to quality educational infrastructure, other public
investments, and a policy for setting up quality higher education
institutions in science and technology?

While Orissa lacks political strength and acumen, we all the
supporters of Orissa and her citizens need to review what we can do
to influence the government and other private institutions to set up
quality higher education institutions in science and technology in
Orissa. We are counting on your leadership and support.


Purna C. Mishra President, Logile, Inc.

>This is my response to Mr. Karnik and Mr. Mohanty's email on focusing our

>I will like to submit my response by reviewing the excellent study
>commissioned by Nasscom and KPMG in 2004 on “Choosing a location for
>offshore operations in India”.

>This is what Mr. Karnik said in that excellent study “IT / ITES - BPO
>exports from India are expected to rise by 26 per cent to reach USD 12 – 13
>billion in 2003 – 2004 and the industry could well sustain the 30 – 40 per
>cent growth envisaged over the next few years. Hidden amidst the growth
>story is the fact that operating costs for ITES - BPO are steadily rising –
>salary levels have been rising by 10 – 15 per cent per annum over the last
>two years and ITES - BPO is fuelling a property boom in at least five of
>the top eight cities in India. Rising attrition levels in the key cities
>for ITES - BPO in India suggest future issues around inducting skilled
>resources from the major cities in India into the ITES - BPO profession.
>Real profitable growth for ITES - BPO will thus require the percolation of
>ITES - BPO into Tier-II cities.”

>Orissa was not included in the study.

>My question to Mr. Karnik and Mohanty would be why these companies would
>come to a Tier-II city in Orissa? Is it because the city has a lot of
>people educated up to primary education? Did Nasscom study include the
>quality of primary education as a basis of percolation of ITES? The study
>focused on availability of quality professionals as a key basis of
>percolation which is not available in Orissa.

>Most of the centrally funded universities are under state control for
>faculty recruitment and admission. If you look at the Viswa Bharati most
>of the students come from West Bengal and they get an excellent education
>courtesy of the Central Government. In Orissa, other than NIT Rourkela,
>the technical institutes are funded by the state government which does not
>have adequate means to provide a quality education. For example, UCE Burla
>gets close to Rs. 4 Crore in assistance from the state where as if it would
>have been a centrally funded institute, it would been getting close to 10

>It is quite surprising that Mr. Karnik is saying that “Certainly, pressure
>on the Centre is part of the political process. However, the focus on an
>IISER is really playing to the gallery.” One should not apply a political
>pressure to get these advanced institutions. They should be based on the
>report published by “India Science Report” which has asked for a non
>political basis to build the core science infrastructure in India.

>I agree with Mr. Karnik that IIT Guwahati or Kanpur has not helped
>transforming UP or Assam. These institutes were decided primarily on
>political basis and that is why it made no difference. We need to look at
>IISC Bangalore, IIT Chennai, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta and IIT Kharagpur
>and see how they have benefited the respective states. I will like to urge
>the readers to review the industrial policy of West Bengal and according to
>the report the state has used extensive references to IIM Calcutta, IIT
>Kharagpur and other centrally funded universities as core to the
>availability of skill professionals in West Bengal.

>As India migrates from low end IT and BPO to a higher end knowledge
>provider in packaged software, logistics, Biotech, and Information
>management, a society based on good primary education will be at a
>disadvantage. One need to look a little east and see why the south east
>Asian countries with better primary education is at a disadvantages to
>India in competing to attract the higher paying knowledge based jobs.

>Orissa needs good primary education. Here Orissa is not at a disadvantage
>to West Bengal or Andhra. Please check the report “Poverty, Disparities,
>or the Development of Underdevelopment in Orissa” by ARJAN DE HAAN and
>AMARESH DUBEY for a better perspective.

>This forum will achieve its objective if it can at least make the central
>government realize that institutes for providing quality higher education
>must be regionally balanced so that a poor Oriya or Bihari or Rajasthani
>kid can dream as much as his/her counterpart from West Bengal or Maharastra
>or Andhra dreams about his/her future.

>What the government has done and it is unfortunate that Mr. Karnik supports
>is to develop two different India. One which requires service of primary
>educated youths as laborers or daily wage workers, and the other which
>provides these low skill people.

>I do not want my state to be a colony of India.


>-- Purna
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