A couple of days ago, I got a call from a British journalist based in India who wanted to do a story on India’s achievements in the IT sector. It was triggered by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown’s official visit this week.
Mr Brown’s itinerary includes a pilgrimage to one of India’s modern temples: the call centre. The Indian press exports glitzy images of call centres that tell of the country’s progress and wealth (while the Western media complains of foreign call centres “taking our jobs away”).
But this is a scene completely unfamiliar to millions of Indians: agriculture is still the dominant sector. So while I accept that call centres make a lot of money, I don’t believe they are the solution to India’s problems. As I see it, the real challenge is how the IT sector can be used to enhance agro-based livelihoods.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll see a different story from my journalist friend!