India Uncut

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Still a long way to go

Pranab Bardhan writes in YaleGlobal:
What about the hordes of Indian software engineers, call-center operators, and back-room programmers supposedly hollowing out white-collar jobs in rich countries? The total number of workers in all possible forms of IT-related jobs in India comes to less than a million workers – one-quarter of one percent of the Indian labor force. For all its Nobel Prizes and brilliant scholars and professionals, India is the largest single-country contributor to the pool of illiterate people in the world. Lifting them out of poverty and dead-end menial jobs will remain a Herculean task for decades to come.
Yes. But "[l]ifting them out of poverty and dead-end menial jobs" is bad phrasing, in my view. They will lift themselves out of poverty and blah-blah if we enable them to do so, and stop condescending to them. We can begin doing that by abolishing the license raj, reforming labour laws, and removing all other barriers to business (and, thus, employment), as I've mentioned here and here. For the sake of the millions still in poverty, we need to liberalise more, more, more, and faster, faster, faster.

(Link via email from Nandini Ramnath via Arts and Letters Daily.)

Cross-posted on The Indian Economy Blog.
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