[AI] IT sector starts shedding its differently abled resources.

Sudhir R (NeSTIT) sudhir.r at nestgroup.net
Mon Feb 25 01:06:20 EST 2008


Hi folks !

As someone who raised the issue in this list the first and second time, let me make something very clear.

a) By no means am I asking for special treatment for the disabled either in the private sector or in the IT field.

b) Nobody is disputing the importance of either productivity or performance, either in the private or the government sector.  (After all, I have myself put in 16 years in the public sector and 3 more in the private IT sector and know these factors make a difference.)

I still believe in the capacity of the IT/ITES sectors being able to provide employment to lot of our visually challenged young friends.  But, like all emerging sectors, regulations need to be in place to prevent discrimination and exploitation.

We are very happy to see our friends like Manish and Geetha proving themselves in their respective professions and remaining employed and productive in spite of industry shake-outs and down-sizing.  We want all those younger resources being placed by NGOs in IT /ITES companies to also have high "TINA" (There is No Alternative)  factors like these role models.

For this to happen, a few facts need to be understood by our young friends and other list members at the outset :

a) Just because an employer describes itself as an "equal opportunity employer" and provides impressive statistics of employing disabled resources, a resource who has just been placed with this company should not take his / her job for granted.  He / She should work hard to build competencies that ensure job mobility even in the worst scenario.

b)  A resource should keep his / her options open as to future employment.  IT / ITES sectors compensate better and are more glamourous, but, one's decision should be based on an objective assessment of one's own skill-sets, limitations, economic background etc.  Let us not discount the importance of job security (read economic independence) for disabled candidates coming from middle class or lower middle class backgrounds.  In spite of all discrimination / non-compliance with rules, the Government sector is the only place a disabled resource can get job security,  and legal redressal in case of violation of rights accorded by the (discredited yet extant)  PWD Act.

c) As a group of opinion leaders with good networking and a proven ability to act as a pressure group, Access India can still do a lot to create awareness and influence opinion in industry bodies like the NASSCOM, so that disabled resources get a level playing field (not special treatment or charity) and ensure fair employment practices are followed.  Let us have concerted action in this too since this sector can still absorb large quantities of disabled resources.   

d) Performance appraissal is still a subjective process and a lot still depends on the equation between an employee and his / her immediate boss.  The resources who are placed in companies by NGOs are not often trained in handling office relationships though they excel in computer skills and have specific competencies required for the job.  Perhaps, senior members of AI should mentor the younger ones in dealing with office scenarios.

To sum up, my attempt has only been to bring out the dark underbelly of the IT employment myth as a warning to young, starry-eyed resources.  The next time we read about a company, an NGO or a person who is "selflessly" working for empowering the disabled - whether by furthering education, training or employment - let us keep a pinch of salt ready . (smile)

Regards

RS
M: 098 472 76 126        
  

-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Geetha
Shamanna
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 2:38 PM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector starts shedding its differently abled
resources.


Hi Manish,

I cannot agree more. Performance and productivity still remain the key 
criteria for retaining a job in the private sector, be it for an employee or 
a contract worker.

Since most messages in this thread expressed the view that disabled contract 
employees are specially being targeted, I would like to add here that I have 
been working oncontract for the past four years now. Companies *do* value 
skill and performance. Rather than implicating the private sector, let us 
concentrate on being better workers in order to ward off layoffs.

Geetha
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Manish Agrawal" <magrawal at sapient.com>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 4:13 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector starts shedding its differently abled resources.


> Someone on this thread said: <snip> I have repeatedly said that being
> handicaps we deserve more than
> others from the nation. </snip>
>
> I couldn't disagree more with this statement.
> We deserve equal or less than what we contribute to the nation and there
> is no other factor that determines what we deserve.
> It is a debate at the paradigm level and I don't want to move this
> thread away from the subject of discrimination in employment.
> My views on the subject having stayed with the private sector in IT for
> a fairly long time now are very different and contrary to most views
> expressed on the subject so far.
> Even with the eminent recession in the US and everything, the fact still
> remains that there is a net shortage of "adequately skilled" people in
> the IT industry in India. I know that at a general level and also have a
> first hand experience having been hiring for my company for a long time
> now.
> As a company, I am hard stretched to retain my good people let alone
> coming up with divisive ways of firing them.
> The keyword here is "adequately skilled". the private sector is for
> profit and not for charity. we need to prove our worth to earn the
> returns. In my career across different companies I have seen at least 4
> rounds of layoffs and none of them were focused at cutting me off first
> because I am blind. Layoffs are a pure mechanism of cutting costs. The
> highest cost centers that are expected to give the lowest returns are
> laid off first.
> if we are trying to say that "Since we are blind, we will be less
> productive, cost the same or more than others but deserve greater job
> security than others because there is nowhere else for us to go." then
> that argument falls on its face.
> If we are not "less productive" then I can bet that there is no private
> company so dumb as to let go of its relatively higher productive people
> just because of a bias.
> We need to come out of this mindset of "deserving" charity. There is no
> such thing.
> "deserving" a level playing field is much more tenable. A 'level playing
> field" however, means that we play with the rules as they apply to
> everyone and in this particular case, the private sector needs to be
> able to right size its workforce to stay profitable.
> I have worked on a contract for a fairly long time as well but that was
> the case for my peers as well and that had nothing to do with the fact
> that I am blind.
> I am not saying that in the specific case that started this thread there
> is no malpractice (simply because I don't know anything about this
> specific case). However, it is wrong to generalize this to the entire
> private sector.
> I will propose a radically different idea: "I wish things were the same
> in the govt. sector as well." This so called "job security" in the govt
> sector is what causes most govt. officials to be as productive as we all
> know they are.
> This statement I'm sure will provoke heated responses but those are my
> personal views and I'll not respond to this thread any more or try to
> defend this in any way.
>
> Regards,
> Manish
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Rajesh
> Asudani
> Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 4:16 AM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector starts shedding its differently abled
> resources.
>
> Dear Shadab
>
> excuse me, but after going through message a couple of times, I am
> unable to get at the gist.
>
>>From what I comprehend I think you are trying to suggest some kind of a
> sting to prove the discrimination with vi by it companies.
>
> Now it is not something concrete like taking bribe to be captured on
> camera and telecast nationwide.
>
> In fact, keeping employees on contract and terminating them at will is
> not contrary to any existing regulations on the private sector.
>
> Contract employment is a part and parcel of private sector nowadays.
>
> Even if we assume that only vi employees are being kept on contract and
> not confirmed, it is extremely difficult to establish it beyond doubt
> let alone capture it on camera.
>
> as is said earlier, corporates do know sophisticated ways of avoiding
> legal trap like giving breaks/terminating contract and re-negotiating it
> with same person.
>
> It is what is called "hire and fire" policy in west, and adequate social
> security or stringent  regulations may put forward the solution.
>
> Rajesh
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Shadab
> Husain
> Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 2:25 PM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector starts shedding its differently abled
> resources.
>
> Dear Harish sir and others:
>
> Thank you for your emails.
>
> Agreed in order to "prove candidly discrimination is Practiced" is
> very difficult but not impossible. I have a plan which would look
> childish - however I am confident that if anyhow we managed this then
> our target will fell as a house of cards. Besides this, I presume that
> we do not have enough options either.
>
> In the recent passed I heard a bit of the programme "Citizen
> Journalist" on CNN-IBN English. To give a sketchy outline - the foul
> play is recorded in a camera by the common folks and sent to the
> channel which they broadcast (understandably after the approval of the
> editor).
>
> I understand that for us gathering a proof like this will be a
> Herculean task, but we can do this by arranging a rendezvous for this
> covert shooting. This, I feel, should not entrap only a single
> company; but we have to hunt down several preys because if we targeted
> only a single company then others would become vigilant and after that
> reaching them will be beyond us.
>
> I have repeatedly said that being handicaps we deserve more than
> others from the nation. Mr Subramani has rightly pointed out that we
> do not have a strong votebank and therefore we are being pushed aside.
> Let us use this weakness as our strongest point, because this will let
> others know that how Praetorian the Indian realpolotik is.
>
> We will need a lot of money to arrange for trained cameramen etc. in
> which the Human Rights firms might help us because if we put our
> project before them, they will feel that they will earn a lot of fame
> in helping the disables. They will come in the limelight because this
> will be an operation which will not only push the emotional button,
> but since never has such an operation engineered so it would grab the
> freedom of minds of the whole nation. Government also bestows a lot of
> prizes on such initiatives - though this would be a bit skirting from
> what I said earlier - but anyhow, it is so.
>
> I am sorry if my plan is airy-fairy. But by the list postings I
> presumed that there isn't any shrewd plan coming up so I thought I
> might wrongly make a little difference.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Shadab Husain
>
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