Young India must escape quota trap, let the inner entrepreneur grow

Is enterprise in this country being killed by our anxiety to have a safety net?

 |  3-minute read |   01-05-2016
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For my next incarnation, I am wondering if I should aim to be born as a bureaucrat. How nice it would be to have a secure, if sometimes boring, naukri. Don't you think those bureaucrats who may look like they have never smiled in their lives (I am sure) spend a lot of time laughing at us?

The government job is a perfect one, and most of us, having been through the grind of the outside world, can now only enviously look at them, safely in their seats with everything just about perfect. Thus recently in two states, Gujarat and Haryana, there are agitations to get reservations in government jobs. These agitations have been launched by rich communities, one of them particularly well known for their entrepreneurial skills, even in the tough terrain of the US, where their motels are synonymous with their name.

aamir-khan+_650_1208_050116035327.jpg A Patna vendor gives Indian actor Aamir Khan a sample of the Bihari Litti Chokha.

Is enterprise in this country, then, being killed by our anxiety to have a safety net? Are parents now telling their children to just go out there and grab the chance of a lifetime - a government job? Of course these jobs are coveted - but are they worth the chaos and mayhem, and the violent agitations taking place?

Do the agitators know, actually, the minuscule numbers of jobs that will be made available even under the most generous government schemes? For instance in the UPSC competitions, where more than seven lakh apply, only around 2,000 will be taken annually.

So what exactly are these agitations about? Are they about quotas or about creating instability within the country, in the hope that the government might either cave in, or take a misstep? That could lead to further mayhem. Whatever the case might be, government jobs are the target.

Which is why, when one sees enterprising people, we must appreciate them. For instance, outside Nehru Park (after a virtuous morning walk) I often spot a smart young man selling wheat grass juice, freshly squeezed in a mixer, with amla, kerela, and other healthy ingredients. Nothing is cooked and everything always has ready takers, because he has correctly surmised that the "morning" walk addict will also be interested in dietary corrections.

And so he always has ready consumers, and even if he gets fifty in a day, it more than covers his costs.

It is these sorts of small entrepreneurial activities that demonstrate that the young can be encouraged to work in all kinds of environments. And who knows, he might be already dreaming up the next project.

Can we stop running after quotas and can parents seriously allow their children to let their secret entreprenuer break free! All that the young often need is to be given some encouragement. But for that we should respect those who work with their hands, out of car parks and not only adorn a space behind a large desk.

The latter has become an old-fashioned trap that this country needs to escape.

Writer

Kishwar Desai Kishwar Desai @kishwardesai

Author/Columnist, Winner of Costa First Novel Award for Witness the Night. Her 3rd novel The Sea of Innocence is out.

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