Recently, I met with a few companies in the textiles and engineering industry in south India. They all agree that times are distinctly better and that their order books are bulging.
I asked them about why results of companies like L&T were below par in spite of having so much orders on hand.
It was interesting. Across sectors, we are facing a shortage of ‘skilled’ labour. It is sad that most of the engineering graduates as well as MBA’s from second rung colleges do not acquire any skill sets that they ought to have, in order to justify the tag or label they carry. Unfortunately, in the era of shortages, the youth have an exaggerated self opinion of their worth and ask for wages far beyond what they deliver.
The mills in south India are turning to migrant labour from North India. Cheaper, better productivity and reliability. The labour is focused on making money and sending it to their homes, so work harder.
It is strange that in India, no one wants to work hard in his home state. All of us have seen that poor work culture places like Kolkata or Kochi where the locals set their own slow pace of idling. However, the same Bengali or the Keralite is amongst the hardest and best of workers when they work in Mumbai.
So, Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena notwithstanding, there is a very strong case for encouraging migrant labour. That is the only way that the miserable productivity of the Indian working class will improve. To start with, all state government jobs should go to out of state persons. That can set the pace.