Saturday, May 06, 2006


Social Welfare…

Caution: Controversial & Opinionated
Y’day I had a major discussion with my boss on social welfare activities/programs done by any of the companies – private/public/govt… the focus area was on BPOs and the highly tense and demanding work environment and its impact on society at large.

The talk started with a general reference to a recent article in TOI on BPO providing the diet guide to its employees

His (my boss) started with how deficiently the BPO folks are paid … well I countered him with the kind of skill and qualification they have they are getting more than they can digest. He argued – every industry (field) has its own requirement and with that BPO is served with deserving candidates – however the kind of work pressures they assume, the compensation might not be correct. Work pressure is not of working all night/ in shifts… it’s about number of calls (rather successful call)/ conversions/ and such similar stuff which virtually forces to employees to work extra (beyond the official deadlines) … resulting in social imbalance…

I countered – it better that the youth is occupied in constructive activities and earning its own pocket money (actually more than that) rather than destructive and terrorist activities (similar to what we faced in UP & Bihar few years ago … the unemployed youth taking up arms for their survival) … if we look to overall unemployment also – the BPO industry caters to large mass who is not able to get the professional qualification (may be due to personal problems if not intellect). I agree that every thing has its drawbacks but it really doesn’t mean that we can say they are creating social imbalance. And to the question of their rewards (pay scales) … I think the guys are getting more than they could have imagined few years back… and it’s the competitive world and the structure is very much governed by some of the simple laws of demand and supply… where there is need, there is higher salary…

Boss again argued – you can’t cut your hand to take care of your headache – just that the pain in arm will be more than that in the head! Because from my argument – child labor is right!!!

Well, I didn’t agree completely … the point I put forth had a different perspective… I said child labor per say is not right – BUT – if the same child is left for begging on the streets or die of hunger or gets into destructive activities – child labor is better than those things… however – this doesn’t mean that the child should be working like an adult as they actually are in many of the industries (most of them being hazardous) … they should be given an opportunity to grow and get themselves a decent living.

I still say a working kid is better than him begging … he’ll learn the life hard way … on the other hand if the child gets into begging… he’ll not be able to work anytime in his life… my belief is that if the child has access to his survival necessities (food & shelter) – he shall not be put into child labor… otherwise – it’s better for the child to fight for his survival.

We had to cut our discussion because of a phone call from big boss…

Comments are welcome (with no personal accusations)…

"I still say a working kid is better than him begging."

hmm I too agree
Good thought. I too am sometimes left wondering about the situation of children on streets, kids slogging it out like adults and some getting meagre basic education. Yeah, a working kid is way better than one begging! I think the NGOs have got to tackle this tricky situation subjectively, rather than pull kids off the streets and get them in to study-rooms, only to see them back to the streets begging again. They must be some way to harness talent among kids at large, so they will innately cling to the idea of independence from the very start...

Nice blog.
Its not that back and white - a working child is better than a begging child BUT only if he is without any support (say an orphan). This would be the case in smaller cities where employment and economic properity are not present.

But in larger cities one often finds that non-orphan kids are forced by their parents into begging. Many times the father wont work; the mother would work but her income would be snatched by the father and spent in liquor and all. Finally, the mother would be left with little choice than to force the children to beg.
This situation is a cultural problem and not a mere availability problem and NGOs need to pull children out of such loops ..
BPO is an esay way out nowadays...
hmmm v interesting! i think BPO's hv given graduates who do not or cannot study further.. people who cannot do any professional courses.. or do not want to.. a very decent opening with a decent pay package.. and really on the second issue.. i wud not support child labour.. but everyone has a right to survive.. and if we cannot do anything abt the child atlst we shud let him work to survive..
oi! newpost pliss!?!
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