Need to recast India's HR policy

In Perspective
Last Updated 19 October 2009, 16:40 IST

According to the recent UNDP Report 2009, India ranks 134th position in Human Development Index trends. Countries like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Botswana and some parts of Pakistan have people with better quality life than Indians. Though India’s revenue gain had doubled to Rs 5.88 lakh crore in 2007-08 since 2004-05, its effect has not percolated to improve the quality of life of majority of people in this country. The UNDP’s Asia Pacific Human Development Report says trade has increased inequalities not only between countries but within national borders, among different areas, sectors and households. Half of the country’s population still live with $1.25 a day. In India, approximately 2.4 million child death occurs every year due to simple diseases like measles, diptheria, diarrhea, malnutrition and water borne infections, etc.

Former Finance Minister P Chindambaram, while presenting the Union Budget in 2007-08, expressed we have no dearth of fund but we lack in deliverance. The glaring example of poor deliverance is our urban centres which have become black holes to suck public expenditure. Urban chaos attributes to mindless urban planning which has destroyed water table, rivers, ponds, open space and water bodies and made cities unlivable.

Easy life
Quality human material does not mean educated techno savvy people but people with discipline, integrity, courage, sympathy for fellow human beings. Over decades, the country has neglected the physical and moral well-being of the young generations. The young generation is delicate, weak and much pampered, said Mahatma Gandhi when he was 61-year-old. The situation has worsened further. The disappearance of playgrounds and low cost indigenous games force children to spend time before computer, TV, in pubs and restaurants. Horrific computer games, adult movie DVDs and internet sources are easily accessible to our children. A leading council of USA’s largest medical group has found psychiatric disorder among children playing violent video games.

The children’s loss of interest in outdoor games can be attributed to the disappearance of outdoor games infrastructures and growing pressure on children to get into professional courses. Job growth in a few mono sectors leave little choice for children.
Every urban centre must provide a public playground within every two kilometre radius. There is a need to popularise low cost indigenous games which once provided the much needed stamina, courage and enthusiasm for a happy, healthy and cohesive society.

Sports effectively cement the social division in the society. Rajashtan government’s recent efforts to revive traditional rural sports: namely malkhamb, satholia, rassa-kassi, rumal jhupatta, bullock-cart race and camel-cart race, etc is laudable.

Over the years, the focus on cricket has created massive idle energy in the cricket playing nations. According to the centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), Britain’s economic productivity worth $521 million has been lost due to cricket World Cup in 2007. Though no such study has been conducted in India, the productivity loss due to cricket could be a massive sum.

Indian roots
The countries which have become rich after the Second World War have the ability to fine tune their HR policy on the basis of long and enduring research. Today, the west source our moral science material like Jataka Tales, Panchatantra, The Ramayana, Yoga and Pranayam to shape young minds. According to a market survey made by an US yoga journal, yoga is a $30 billion business in USA, which includes yoga accessories, DVD, apparel, mats and other equipments. The average yoga practitioner in US spends $1,500 per annum. Americans spend $2.95 billion a year on yoga classes and on yoga products.
There is a reversal of the core principle of market economy “maximising profit by any means.” The new MBA oath taken by graduates of Harvard Business School reads “the goal of a business manager is to serve the greater good and no advancing of own narrow ambition at the expense of others.” Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his budget speech, said the institutions must provide high quality public services, security and the rule of law to all citizens with transparency and accountability. This could be possible if India recasts its HR policy and groom a few generations of physically and morally strong people with finer human values from school level. There is no point in reforming the existing people in the system as it would be like straightening the tail of a dog.

(Published 19 October 2009, 16:40 IST)

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