I recall very vividly the farewell of the batch of students from my department in my college when I was in my first year. It was a singularly depressing sight. Only 4-5 out of a batch of around 40 had gotten jobs (even they didn't have what they'd have liked or aspired to) and the rest were as morose as they had been attending a funeral. It was a funeral, mostly, as student after student came up to the dias and in turn, lambasted the department, the placement cell and implored future batches to pay more attention to their studies. The effect on a fresh bright eager student (yours truly) was strong enough, that all my actions for the next three years was towards ensuring I don't suffer that fate (but that's another story).
Coming to the summer of 2006, as this year's batch was having its farewell, there were smiles all around. People were in a self-congratulatory mode and generally having fun. I took some time out to students to tell them to work hard since times are not always the same, but I don't think anybody paid much attention. Jobs were aplenty, and people had better things to do than listen to an old fogey.
What has changed?
Most of the jobs that people have were in sunrise sectors, IT, ITes, KPOs, the like. What has brought these jobs into India? I believe a lot has to do with government policies that go back to the reforms in 92. As a partner in my firm told me a few days back, before McKinsey came to campus in IIMA in 92-93 (don't particular remeber which of these years), the packages were something like 60-70K a year, which McK took to 3.25 and doubled it a while later. Before these companies came with the wave of liberalisation, there were hardly any jobs through which a person could dream of buying a house, a car in a few years while working in a regular job. And that, over the years, changed.
And now we are witnessing the second wave that is sweeping the country bringing in its wake more jobs fulfilling the aspirations of our generation.
However, as we wallowed in mutual backslapping, in none of these farewell speeches were the architects of our happiness, our future prosperity thanked. Well, I apologise, but thanks Mr. Narasimha Rao, Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr P Chidambaram, Mr Montek Ahluwalia and several others, who didn't come into the limelight.
Thank you sirs. Thanks for making India a happier place.