Padam Shri 1.2

India should increase awards quota for ICT leaders

I was a
little surprised when a leading columnist in a financial daily came down
scathingly on why the number of people getting various Padma awards is
increasing, while the credentials of many of them is questionable. While I agree
that many of the winners may not be the most deserving, I have no doubt about
the fact that the number of people doing great work in India and making the
nation proud, is increasing.

Let me at the very
outset state that besides various other sectors including bio-technology, the
field of IT, communications, and BPO will produce people who will be worthy of
Padma awards. They will be industry captains, who would be recognized the world
over for their great strategies to capture global markets; HR chiefs, who from
the learnings of rapidly growing BPO and software services industry, will come
out with revolutionary HR management practices; software engineers, who will
make their mark with path breaking processes and patents; and bureaucrats who
will be e-Champions of e-Governance projects that will have far reaching impact.
They will be people who would have the courage and vision to venture
successfully into domains that were known to be impossible before.

 Hats off to S Ramadorai whose vision helped India become a
global IT power, and to Nandan Nilekani whose leadership made Infosys a role
model for IT and non-IT companies world over. I would even go to the extent of
saying that the Government of India took rather long to recognize the
contributions of these people. They have got recognition for themselves, their
company, as well as for their country like very few business leaders before
them. My contention is that we will have more Ramadorais and Nilekanis in the
years to come.

ICT leaders are today being much
more closely watched and tracked. Give them more Padams, and the awards
will become much more awaited  for

 While I believe that the number of Indians who will be
deserving the Padam award will only go up in the days to come, what I propose is
that there should not be fixed categories where awards have to be given if there
are not highly deserving people. This way, more deserving people in emerging
sectors will get a chance to be honored. I know that there are two other people
in IT, three people in communications, and two in the BPO space, who should have
been considered for some Padam award or the other. 

 I would even advocate that emerging and high growth sectors
should perhaps be given a higher quota. I do not need to educate people on how
much IT, BPO, Biotech, and Communications sectors are contributing to employment
generation, economy, and global image. And these are some of the crucial factors
that will determine India’s status at the time of global competitiveness. The
Government must go all out to promote- nationally to begin with-a sector
that is contributing so much, and will continue to grow in terms of its
strategic value in the years to come.

 Another observation I have about these prestigious Padam
awards is that they are loosing their excitement. Most people are really not
bothered as to who is getting this award. It is actually because most of the
winners are people who are not being closely watched by the Indian public. But I
strongly believe that ICT leaders are today being much more closely watched and
tracked because of a variety of reasons. If we start recognizing them for their
contribution, the awards will become more glamorous. And much more awaited.

 For the last
several years, the Government of India is almost reluctantly giving awards to
only one or two ICT stalwarts. It is important that more young people should be
encouraged-people who still have a long way to go. We must not forget that the
average age of people in the ICT space is much less than all other sectors. 
The Government must break out of its old style of thinking and think of
some new and more exciting award categories.

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