Engineering roles see biggest salary increase in 2012-13

Engineering roles are at the top of the pay scale for fresh hires in India, and saw the highest salary increase this financial year, outperforming other jobs like sales, HR, administration and support services.
The median monthly salary of graduate engineers in engineering roles has increased to Rs 25,000 in the current fiscal, from Rs 22,500 last year, a11% increase, says a survey by global management consultancy Hay Group.
Median salaries for HR professionals went up 10.1% to Rs 20,923, while those for administration and support roles increased 8.2% to Rs 18,500.
The report analyses remuneration practices in Indian companies with median salaries of fresh graduates in the range of Rs 18,500 to Rs 25,000 effective April 1, 2012. The study looked at 4,18,414 jobs from 410 companies across a host of sectors including industrial goods, chemicals, FMCG, high technology, oil & gas, retail, life sciences, natural resources, consumer durables, education, and utilities.
The engineering sector representative of manufacturing, chemicals, oil and gas, natural resources and high technology has turned out to be good paymasters, attracting campus talent. “There is a positive momentum in salaries of non-IT engineering roles that largely reflects the sentiment of the industry. With pay hikes expected to be 11% this year, this trend will reflect in the salaries of graduate engineers,” said Amer Haleem, country manager – productized services, Hay Group India.
Indian Oil, for instance, will be hiring 250 graduate engineers with a basic monthly pay of Rs 24,900 that does not include allowances and perks. The cost-to-company is between Rs 9.30-9.90 lakh per annum including performance-linked payout. Graduate candidates selected for their Graduate Apprentice Engineers (GAE) programme are paid a consolidated stipend of Rs 35,000 a month.
The entry-level salaries in non-IT engineering companies are comparatively higher because of the supplydemand mismatch. “Most companies are fighting for the same pool of talent. The war for talent is not about headcount, but based on skillsets,” said Muninder Anand, director for information solutions in human resource advisory company Mercer Consulting India.
Salary increase, especially in the oil and gas sector, is also because of its robust pipelines. “Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has notified 14 discoveries in the first half of the fiscal. Exploration, drilling and production specific talent are in demand,” said Kamal Karanth, MD of recruitment consultancy Kelly Services.
In comparison, graduate engineering salaries in IT companies remained flat at Rs 22,500 in the current financial year. Bangalore-based Infosys, for instance, did a net hiring of just 977 people in the quarter, the second lowest in at least a decade.
“Given the current state of the US and UK economies, there is severe pressure on the operating margins of IT companies, leading to diminishing ability to pay higher salaries. Firms carry people cost in the range of 65-70% of the total cost. In case of product based organizations, the affordability is relatively higher given that they are placed higher in the value chain of services being offered,” said Anand.
Source: times of india

IT hiring: Why it will slow down

The software services industry whose frenetic hiring helped create a large slice of India’s middle class in less than two decades may be nearing the end of a phase as the most prolific employer of college graduates, industry professionals and analysts said.

Hiring by India’s top software exporters has been trending downwards in the past few quarters, a development which has been attributed to unfavourable market conditions. But alongside the crimped demand, experts believe there is a structural shift in the offshore outsourcing business which will mean that companies such as Infosys and HCL Technologies will no longer add software engineers in the numbers we are used to witnessing.

“What you saw in terms of productivity gains in manufacturing is finding its way to services,” said TK Kurien, the chief executive officer of Wipro, India’s third-largest software company which employs 1.4 lakh professionals.

Some of the sluggishness in hiring may be explained by the slowdown in the $100 billion (Rs5.4 lakh crore) IT services sector, to about 11% anticipated in the year to March 2013 from 17% in the last financial year. The main reason that moderation in hiring is a sign of things to come is that more will be done by fewer people as the grunt work is left to machines.

Kurien compared it to the efficiency improvements that defined the manufacturing industry in the United States. From supporting about 85 million manufacturing jobs in the 1970s, the sector has just about 17 million employees now. While part of it was because of work being outsourced to lower-cost destinations such as China, a lot of it was jobs eliminated because of productivity gains.

In India, the information technology sector supports nearly three million people directly and another nine million indirectly. While software services companies like TCS and Infosys may slow the pace of hiring, other technology companies, many of them startups, are likely to pick up the slack and provide employment opportunities for the more than one million engineers who graduate each year.

IT services firms have started automating routine and repeatable processes that does not necessarily need human effort. Initially, this is happening in areas such as software testing, where software code is tested for accuracy and error.

“Software testing, which was traditionally done manually, has moved to automated processes,” said Vijay Sivaram, director for recruitment and staffing at Ikya Human Capital Solutions, which helps IT firms with hiring services. “Even in coding some firms are using software that takes care of the basic work.”

Sanchit Vir Gogia, principal analyst at IDC, said that IT services firms are increasingly creating what he called solution accelerators.

“This is nothing but templatising and packaging the basic functions that go into a larger project implementation,” Vir Gogia said. “Automation usually impacts the bottom of the pyramid in the service delivery, making it leaner.” Companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Cognizant are going one step further to create intellectual property around such reusable components to give themselves a competitive edge.

The need for greater efficiency is driven by the changes in outsourcing market and intense competition for basic technology contracts for managing applications and IT infrastructure.

There have been instances in the recent past where companies have offered more than 10% discounts on existing contracts to win the deal – that means committing to deliver for $900 million a set of services on which the client used to spend $1 billion earlier.

“As more and more technology contracts are given out on outcome-based and fixed price models, service providers would be forced to adopt greater degree of automation in routine, repetitive tasks,” said Sid Pai, president for the Asia-Pacific region at ISG Information Services Group.

Source: Times of India

How to deal with deadlines and organize work

In spite of careful planning and scheduling we face the problem of piling up of workload and are constantly working to finish the assignment on time. This constant pressure to meet deadlines has become an integral part of the work culture in today’s world.

Dealing with project deadlines can be challenging for even the most organized and hard-working people.

It can be difficult to know exactly how to manage your time, energy and commitments in order to finish things on time and produce the best quality of work. However, deadlines don’t have to be daunting. A little planning and structure can help anyone deal with project deadlines so that they’re met with grace and ease.

Below are Q & A session answered by Amit Bansal, CEO PurpleLeap

Amit asked, how to improve concentration at work and avoid distractions?

Amit Bansal answers, The question is should one be like a floodlight or should one be like a laser? Distractions often happen due to phsiological reasons as well (sleep)…

Veerendra asked, Is it necessary to have meeting without agenda and last for hours on deadlines?
Amit Bansal answers, Not if one values people’s time and company’s money

Ramachandran asked, is it good to be reactive or proactive
Amit Bansal answers, It is good to react, but it is important to be responsible in how we react…Well, proactive as you can guess is definitely ideal

paresh bhuria asked, my question is i do procrastination and my mind always seems to heavy with lot of work. i am not getting success.
Amit Bansal answers, Generally a “full mind” are bad in the following situations: 1) building relationships, 2) taking decisions, 3) solving problems, 4) making a presentation, 5) writing an delicate email, A “full mind” needs rejenuvation, generally vacations help, getting a different experience (like helping somebody) also also helps… If you see the above 5 points, if they are done poorly then one may not get success…

Tiredforever asked, How do you prioritize your tasks when there isn’t time to complete them all?
Amit Bansal answers, Once a famous person said, what if one had to eat 3 frogs of different sizes, which one would you eat first? He went to answer, the biggest one first…The question is Why?

Tiredforever asked, How do you prioritize your tasks when there isn’t time to complete them all?
Amit Bansal answers, Once a famous person said, what if one had to eat 3 frogs of different sizes, which one would you eat first? He went to answer, the biggest one first…The question is Why?

gd asked, Dear to set realistic goals
Amit Bansal answers, Along with realistic see if the goal is relevant or right for you. This generally helps one to set realistic goals…

raghu asked, Mr Amt, How to become myself passion and to become more interactive in a team?
Amit Bansal answers, Sometimes, we consider only office scenarios as relevant scenarios, how about at home, with the cousins, one can also look at how one behaves in a family function, that might give some clues as to how to improve contribution to a team … well, passion is about finding what you are good at and what you like, easier said than done, the analogy is like finding gold…you need to dig quite a bit to find the precious metal…without the thinking one may not find it…

Ajay asked, How to meet deadlines and simultaneously find a work and personal life balance?
Amit Bansal answers, COmplex question and of course the answer to that cannot be simple, it really depends a lot on personal choices, in a recent interview one famous Indian said that for about 6/7 yrs of his life he had no personal life, but he did not regret it and he looks back on it with pride, so u see it really depends a lot the person, someone else in his place might have quit the UN job and sought a more comfortable one which would give a better life/work balance

Subbiah asked, is there any online tool to practice PDCA
Amit Bansal answers, A more simple way to do this in a diary at the end of the day, or week or month, there could be two columns, 1st column- “what I Planned”, 2nd column- “what actually happened” this might give some insight of what could be going wrong…but one would still need to think !

Deepak asked, Do you favor performing multiple tasks parallely or serialy ?
Amit Bansal answers, Multi-tasking is ok if the tasks are simple, in complex tasks it certainly reduces performance,

work asked, What to do if work gets delayed because of someone else?
Amit Bansal answers, Build better professional relations is usually the mantra in an interdependant work culture, also note that is quite possible that one could be delaying someone else’s work as well !

sridhar asked, sir what is the best and first step towards effective time management?
Amit Bansal answers, Knowing your goals/priorities/purpose…

Amish asked, Sir i always stick to my deadlines but it is not appreciated
Amit Bansal answers, This is a different issue, you may want to explore non-traditional ways of highlighting your work. Maybe everybody is doing it the standard way- how about something different yet acceptable?

NSW asked, How to motivate my 15 yr old daughter to plan time for studies n outdoor games? Her CBSE Exams start on 16-Mar and she is utterly non serious.
Amit Bansal answers, Children and teenagers tend to copy what adults do. Teeagers may not want to reveal they are copying, but they will definitely be observing you, you may want to actually practice and demonstrate what you want her to implement, if you are already doing it then, you want to illustrate to her through a drawing or example…maybe a movie, cartoon??

NSW asked, Could u delve on Plan – Do – Check – Act?
Amit Bansal answers, Plan Do Check Act is an Continous IMprovement tool originally coined by Edward W Deming. It is also called as the PDCA. In the Plan stage one hs to establish the objectives…but also establishing some expectations from the plan…in the Do stage, it is very important to keep a tab on what data is coming out because it will help us do the course correction in the Check stage…if you note, the Plan and DO are most important to meet deadlines, because most projects falter because the Plan stage is very weak and also most projects fail because the DO, or execution is rather poor or incompetent.

Amit Bansal says, Plan Do Check Act is an Continous IMprovement tool originally coined by Edward W Deming. It is also called as the PDCA. In the Plan stage one hs to establish the objectives…but also establishing some expectations from the plan…in the Do stage, it is very important to keep a tab on what data is coming out because it will help us do the course correction in the Check stage…if you note, the Plan and DO are most important to meet deadlines, because most projects falter because the Plan stage is very weak and also most projects fail because the DO, or execution is rather poor or incompetent.

shripad asked, how we can convience the boss to extend the deadline?
Amit Bansal answers, It seems someone went to the dentist and asked to save a tooth. The dentist told the person that “you have a got me a dead body and I cannot save it”. And we went to add, “we will now have to remove it”. Similarly, a situation with the boss is also like that, it is about anticipating whether an extension is required or not and be in communication with the boss, but let us that you have to do it then you may have to potray the reasons of the required extension and along with that also state what could be the added benefits (if any) with the extension.

NewUser asked, What if the deadlines itself are so stringent that its almost impossible to meet and yet the managers dont want to hear a No for an answer. How should we handle such a situation?
Amit Bansal answers, This situation calls for us to understand that it may no more be a situation of meeting a deadline. The roots are perhaps in communication, relation with your manager, relationships with your team mates (onsite or local) your ability to be assertive etc.,

priya asked, Hi Amit, What is the process to handle stringent deadlines and keep ourself cool ?
Amit Bansal answers, One very interesting process, as defined by Deming is Plan – Do – Check – Act…Each stage is very relevant and important to achieving goals…

Grover asked, what is the best way to avoid procrastination. i guess its the root of all evils.
Amit Bansal answers, Yes it is…we all fall into this trap…it could be important to take note of how you may have overcome it in the past…some ‘past’ analysis might help…also what does procrastination mean to you, it is important to define that, because it often happens that we all fall into traps of general definitions, additionally the question to be asked also is whether what you are procrastinating, is it really important to you? Some thinking is definitely required here…

sanjay asked, how to do identify unproductive activities in the melee of day to day work
Amit Bansal answers, Starting point could be some feeling at the end of the day…whether you feel drained out, u felt that the system took all your time, your friends took all the time and you ended up chatting up a lot, once you start from here…it might give you a “gut-feel” of how to go about looking at the so-called unproductive activities, also what could be unproductive could be an important element in one’s work, for example, if you are an independant contributor, it might seem unproductive, but spending a couple of minutes building rapport will serve you in the long-run, or if you are the manager, then mentoring, while it may seem unproductive, will serve you again in terms of long-run…so perhaps making a top of the mind (feeling) list might help

Amit Bansal says, A critical part in planning is dividing the task into smaller parts. IF this not done then the plan has little meaning…

Amit Bansal says, Communication with team members is very critical. Maintaining good relations (knowing people’s names), telling important people what you are working on…all these matter when you work in time-bound situation

Subbiah asked, Hi Amit , what could be the general mantra for the achieving the stringent deadlines
Amit Bansal answers, It really boils down to communication, interpersonal skills, planning skills, delegation skills, leadership (taking your team along with you), and of course taking constant feedback to do course correction.

work asked, hi amitji, when the deadlines are approaching how can you convince colleagues to share the work?
Amit Bansal answers, this depends from what role you may be asking this question. For example: if you are asking from a team lead perspective or whether you are asking from a team member perspective. The approach which you may want to take will be different depending on what role you have at work. If it is manager / leader role then it would mean that you would need to build rapport with you team to get them to start trusting and then sharing work…it starts with trust…

Chat Date: 23 January, 2013



Top software firms cut hiring by half in 2012

The global slowdown in 2012 troubled the top Indian software vendors last year with employee hiring declining by almost half in the last one year when compared to the previous year.

In the four quarters ending December, the top four companies totally hired 55,716 employees against 1,08,117 in the corresponding period of previous year.

Indian software majors are not growing at the same rate as before. Their revenue growth has declined by 35-40 per cent over the last two years due to the economic slowdown in the US and Europe, said E. Balaji, CEO, Randstad India, a recruitment firm.


Since the information technology services companies still have a linear business model, any impact on revenue growth will affect employee addition too. This is why there is a decline in the employee addition in the last year.

“We have seen that IT majors had to defer joining dates and delay recruitment by as much as six months. They also undertook strict screening measures to evaluate candidates as they were recruiting for specific functions in the organisation. These reasons accounted for the fall in numbers last year but with the market gearing up and as visibility gradually improves, expect IT hiring to be back on track towards the latter half of 2013,” he said.

Last year companies faced a softer demand environment last year, and adjusted their hiring to reflect it, said Siddharth A. Pai, Partner & President, Asia Pacific Region, Information Services Group, a technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company.

According to Jimit Arora, Vice-President research, Everest Group, the difference in jump in employee hiring in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 was a function of the economic recovery.


In 2010, the market condition was different. The economy was then recovering, the discretionary spending was making a comeback; there was pent-up demand leading to above average growth and hiring was accelerated to make up for cutbacks in 2009 and low bench strength.

The demand situation in 2010 was high and that required aggressive hiring by the Indian majors. In 2012, the demand was more “normal” and hence some of the incremental effects did not apply, he said.

Source: Business Line

Are you ready for your face-to-face interview

After months of searching for a new position you have finally been invited to come in for a face-to-face interview. What are you going to do to maximise your chances of getting an offer that will advance you toward your career goals. Remember that a job interview is a two-way process. It ought to be a time when two parties seek to gain a better understanding of each other and why it would make sense to get together.

Always remember that you cannot underestimate your competition and all of them are working hard to enjoy the same fruit. Face to face interview is the only parameter that will decide who will win the marathon and who will be the also-rans. Therefore preparation for an interview is essential. Just to underline the importance of preparation, remember, that many well prepared candidates have a better chance of getting selected than many well qualified ones. Therefore prepare, prepare and prepare!

A few important areas that one needs to address in her/his interview preparations include one’s tone, body posture, enthusiasm, subject knowledge, background research on the company, knowledge of the role, etiquettes and one’s ability to showcase oneself as the right fit.

Below are Q & A session answered by Amit Bansal, CEO PurpleLeap

Rachna asked, how do i sound humble during interview

Amit Bansal answers, Well, sometimes we tend to mix self respect with pride or sometimes even arrogance. That is where we fail to sound humble. A tip is to mention achievements as just stepping stones in your career that you have worked hard for. Mention them but don;t show off or compare them with others’. Let the interviewer draw the comparisons.

Deepak asked, how to judge a company prime-facia basis to know the chance of a better enviornment and your survival . as I have seen cases where companies offer a good salary and were very bad in retaining ppl because of enviorment issue
Amit Bansal answers, Well, remember the same company may be really great for someone and not so good for someone else. As far as background check is concerned one can always go by the reviews either via internet or ex or current employees of that organisation. Ask them questions that are important to you.

Atul asked, if interviewer ask waht will you contribute to the organisation, what will be our reply
Amit Bansal answers, Here the recruiter wants to know how can you be a value add to their organisation. You need to highlight your strengths that you have demonstrated in your previous projects that have contributed towards the improvement of the process and helped you achieve something.

Boss asked, Hi Amit, you pls tell about some of the positive body language to display during the interview.
Amit Bansal answers, Tips: 1. Project confidence but not arrogance 2 Be realxed but don’t slouch 3. Do not be uptight and stiff. 4. Answer slowly and not in a rush 5 Eye contact while talking 6. Be crisp while responding. 7. Dress formally. 8. Be realistic and show a learning and excelling approach towards things.

SKN asked, What we need to ask when the interviewer allows us to ask a question .
Amit Bansal answers, There are many questions one can ask depending upon what you would like to know : 1. Qualities they are looking for in a candidate. 2. Process related questions. 3. Anything specific you would like to know about the position you are applying for.

Jmk asked, Hi Amit, I am currently stressed because of my current job conditions and when I go for an interview it shows.. Can you tell me how can I handle this and hide it in interviews
Amit Bansal answers, It is normal to get stressed during an interview. If you are already working somewhere, then it is a good idea to go for an interview on a day off so that you are not bothered by work related issues. Read about the company, prepare well for the interview so that it boosts your confidence and most importantly relax, the recruiters are also people who have faced these interviews themselves. There is no need to get worked up or intimidated.

Testing asked, Hi Amit would like to know that its a good idea to rejoin again previous company if yes then HR must ask this question why you left us earlier..any good suggestion
Amit Bansal answers, Nowdays, there are so many people who join their previous companies again. There are personal or professional reasons that make the people to leave the organisation but what is important is to convince them that you loved , enjoyed and learnt a lot working with them which has inspired you to come back.

SANJEEV asked, what points should be covered for question ‘Tell me something about yourself’
Amit Bansal answers, When this question is asked, the recruiters usually expect information that is relevant to them like educational qualification, professional experience, previous organisations, any important projects undertaken. They usually ask for more information if they need it.

g_amit22 asked, What should be the answeres for job change / why are u looking for a change/ why not u took any change if u are from a long time??
Amit Bansal answers, My suggestion to people who face this question is to be honest. There are several reasons why people look for a job change like: 1. Knowlege gain and exposure. 2. Learning various other aspects of a business which the company specifically provides. 3. Excel in their field. 4. Learn and at the same time contribute your learning to that company. 5. Career growth and better opportunity to excel. Again there are several reasons possible but always give the one that is honest and you can explain it. As far as time factor is concerned it is a good thing if you have spent a considerable amount of time in an organisation as it talks about your stability and loyality factor.

SHAM asked, how to attract interviewer
Amit Bansal answers, Every recruiter looks for some specific qualities in a candidate which they relate with the position, process or maybe even the company.Having said that, there are certain qualities that all recruiters look for like subject matter expertise, confidence, ambition and attitude towards things.

Mohan asked, How to dress up before going for an Interview ?.
Amit Bansal answers, It is advisable to dress formally for any interview. There are some organisations who do not follow any particular kind of dress code however, at the time of the interview every aspect of your personality is judged. It is always safe to dress formally.

sam asked, how to end the interview ?
Amit Bansal answers, Ending an interview is a generic question.There is no fixed or standard ending for any interview. The flow of the conversation itself decides the end. Usually, once you have show cased your side, the ending is left on the interviewer.

SHAM asked, Sir How to Introduce myself as the biggest and catching format
Amit Bansal answers, Introductions need not be elaborate. They should be honest, crisp and effective. Honest as in stating whatever experience you have, crisp as in short and effective as in mentioning the relevant information first depending on what the interviewer has asked.

Chat Date: 16 January, 2013



India Inc strong on hiring, salary at on-campus recruitment

The economic slowdown hardly seems to have deterred employers from actively pursuing candidates through on-campus recruiting programmes as majority of employers are displaying optimism in terms of hiring as well as salaries, says a survey.

According to global human resource consulting firm Aon Hewitt’s Campus Study 2013, majority of surveyed organisations reported no change in the campus hiring numbers planned for this year.

Source: The Economic Times

War of Words at NIEC, New Delhi

IMG_5082PurpleLeap organized its first ever inter stream debate –War of Words 2012 on Nov 8, 2012 at Northern India Engineering College, New Delhi.

The ECE and CSE engineers debated on that “Freedom of Expression Should be a Privilege and Not a Right.”  The topic of debate was full of energy and evoked the audience also to come forward and add on their views and opinions.IMG_5110

PurpleLeap created a great platform for the students to showcase their oratory skills and to satisfy their intellectual and logical quest by bouncing ideas off each other. This initiative resulted in boosting the students morale and resulting to highly confident youngsters to face the tuff corporative world.

CSE was judged and announced as the winning team where Pragya Chaturvedi spoke against the motion and bagged the best speaker trophy with Swati as first runner up.

Judging the event were Mrs Paulami Ghosh (ADM, Purpleleap), Mrs Rukmi Kapur (Business Skill Trainer, Purpleleap) Mrs.Yamuna Narayan (Prof of English, NIEC) &   Dr Megha Choudhary (Prof of English, NIEC)

Fewer may have been hired in 2012 as economy weakened

Hiring is likely to have slowed in the fiscal year 2012 amid poor growth and high inflation. A survey by the Labour Ministry reveals that that employment at the start of the calendar year 2012 was the lowest in four quarters.

Around 81,000 people were hired in India in January-March 2012, the lowest compared with the previous three quarters. The maximum increase in employment during the period was observed in the IT and BPO sector, but even this was the lowest increase recorded vis-à-vis the previous three quarters.

The survey results also indicate that employment in the handloom and powerloom sector, which registered an increase in employment during the three quarters preceding January-March 2012, witnessed a decline at the start of the calendar year. A similar trend was witnessed in the gems and jewellery sector.

The health of the leather industry has been suffering for an even longer period, according to the employment numbers. Employment there has been falling continually in the three quarters since June 2011.


GDP growth in India stood at just 6.5 per cent in the 2012 fiscal, the lowest since the 2002-03 financial year, a drought year in which the growth rate fell to 4 per cent. In the financial year 2013, projections by the Union Government and other independent experts have pegged GDP growth below 5.5 per cent.

The main impact of any economic slowdown on the livelihood of people derives chiefly from the loss of employment. If the expected increase in unemployment occurred in 2012, it is possible that an increased number of people families will be categorised as “new poor” at the start of 2013. This could have a cascading effect. If the slowdown in the rate of growth of the economy continues or worsens, the impact is bound to hurt not only the millions living marginally above the poverty line, but also threaten to tip them back into poverty, according to another report by Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm.

Source: Business Line

Government cuts higher education spending by 13%

The cash-strapped central government has cut the money it was supposed to spend on higher education this fiscal year by 13%. The hardest hit will be two key initiatives of the human resource development (HRD) ministry, two officials said.

One is the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), which aims to promote quality through technology-enabled learning. The low-cost Aakash computer tablet is a part of this mission.
The second is improving the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) established in the 11th five-year plan (2007-12), according to the officials, who didn’t want to be identified. Seven new IITs and six new IIMs were established in the past three years.
“The Planning Commission has informed the HRD ministry officially” about the cut in the budget, said one of the officials cited above.
The finance minister had announced an expenditure outlay ofRs.15,000 crore for higher education in the 2012-13 budget.
The modified version of the Aakash, launched in November, has been getting good reviews after the first version was criticized for its poor quality. The ministry plans to issue a fresh tender for 5 million tablets to help bridge the digital divide as part of NMEICT, also called the ICT mission.
The NMEICT mission will slow down, said the second government official cited above. The Aakash project’s Rs.700 crore budget could be cut in half, the official said.
Apart from the tablet, the ICT mission aims to establish virtual laboratories, promote the creation of open-source learning material and provide IIT classroom teaching to engineering colleges.
“Budget cuts for educational institutes are now happening across the globe. We are not a rich country and instead of complete state funding, elite institutes should be allowed to raise funds by themselves. This will bring more fiscal discipline,” said Narayan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education practice, at consulting firm KPMG. “There are some talks about floating education bonds and that should be encouraged.”
Earlier, the government announced that funding for the National Skill Development Corporation will be cut by Rs.1,000 crore. This will likely affect India’s skills-training initiative targeted at bridging the education-employment mismatch, Mint reported on 21 December.
The government won’t focus on expanding higher educational institutes but on improving their quality in the 12th Plan period (2012-17), according to the plan document.
In line with this, junior HRD minister Shashi Tharoor said on 29 December that the Kerala government’s proposal to set up an IIT was “unlikely to materialize” in the 12th Plan period.
The second government official said social sectors such as education, health may get their budgets cut. “We had put forward our point of view but the government’s stand is that there is a fund crunch,” the official said.