Saturday, April 26, 2008

NRIs, NRKs, Americas, Bangalore & Kerala

Kerala is a land of unlimited greenery with its idyllic ambience. Business men like Virgin's Richard Brandson and celebrities like Amitabh Bachan have been mesmerised with the place. National Geographic branded this coconut state as one of the world's top 10 destinations. It would not be fair to even brand Kerala as the Hawai or California of India. These places pale in comparison to this exotic place. Now the other side of the story. Roughly 25% of Keralaites are expatriates. Out of these a major chunk are sole bread winners of their family. Somebody joked that even if somebody goes to the moon he could find a " malayali thattukada" there.....

Is Kerala a land of so few opportunities that an exodus is the only option or are we just following some trend to migrate? I really don't know the answer to this because I am also in a foreign land at the moment ( though it is temporary). I agree that opportunities (particulary for IT) are limited in Kerala at the moment. But it is definitely picking up. We are trailing all the southern states in software exports . Definitely we are closing the gap, but at this rate, we will take atleast 10 years to be counted among the big players. All this is happening to a state that launched the first IT park in India way back in 1990 when Manmohan Singh was not even the FM. It is better not to do the post mortem but to think about the after life.

We have some pretty good companies including some bigwigs in Technopark, Trivandrum. From various forums, I have read that the occupancy has reached saturation point and the government has acquired around 500 acres of land to the north of Technopark for the Technocity project. All this could mean that ( even after taking into account the political and bureaucratic hurdles) we may well have the largest IT corridor in India. The proposed Smart City in Kochi may play its part too. But how many of the IT expats from Kerala are willing to return to work in Kerala?

Most of the young techies whom I spoke to about the subject had just one answer " Lack of professionalism". I am just not convinced with this answer. There may be a difference in standards of professionalism among the various companies. But one company, one brand but two different work ethics in Bangalore and Trivandrum. This is either blown out of proportion or is a false impression . But if this is true, then these companies definitely have to shore up their standards. I have worked in Kerala for close to three years after my graduation. I can say from the bottom of my heart that those were the best days in my career. The people around me were totally professionalistic and even the Kerala team was branded as the best unit in the company.

Even if companies like Microsoft and Google set up shop in Kerala, I doubt if our own Techies will prefer this place. Maybe some northie or other southie will come here, work , enjoy the relishing sea food and live life KING size. May be it is not in our stars to enjoy Kerala to the fullest in our life time.. What a great irony?

1 comment:

Sandeep said...

I am sure the population of 'hesitantly willing' professionals who will go back to Kerala is on the rise - thanks to the so-called recession. So, is the number of folks who are looking forward to be with their loved ones. The part about professionalism, rather, the lack of it, sadly might be true. It's speculation but I happened to catch a glimpse of an email chain between a few employees of a large software exporter (name starts with W and ends with O) from the Kerala office, and I was surprised, not plesantly at all, at the language used in the email. The grammar was hopeless and so was the language. As mentioned above, it would be pure speculation that the entire workforce of that company in Kerala is such but that atleast half a dozen folks had replied on that chain and it was appalling. It can be attributed to the lack of professionalism or even to the setting of individual priorities. I can't believe all those folks were technically incapable. I think they just don't care for the other aspects of personal development, which according to me falls under professionalism.