October 26, 2006

Infosys: Paying its social dues in China

As many as 50 of the 100 Chinese undergrads who went through a three-month course at Infosys training centre, Mysore, went back to work for other companies. They were not obliged to join Infosys, according to Infosys china CEO, Mr James Lin. The students who spent three months in Mysore represented the first batch of an Infosys sponsored internship programme.

The company website said China Scholarship Council together with Infosys selected 100 undergraduate students in their fourth year from leading universities in the software engineering field. The program involves a three-month intensive training course on interpersonal and technical skills at the Global Education Centre at Mysore, and a four-month internship at Infosys’ development center in Bangalore.

In return for the favour China is reported to have exempted Infosys China unit from the provisions of the labour law pertaining to trade unions. The Infosys unit in China has 700 employees, of whom 95 percent are Chinese. And they have no union. Mr Lin is reported in The Hindu as saying, “we will never let a trade union be formed here”. The Hindu’s Sandeep Dikshit, in an op-ed page piece says China needs a workforce that is talented and familiar with international practices and business environment. The Infosys sponsored internship programme partly takes care China’s HR needs. To quote Mr Lin (this time, from his company website), “We believe that a truly global company has a global view of not only markets, but people and culture. Through this initiative, along with our investments in China, we hope to provide Chinese software professionals with an opportunity to train on cutting edge technologies.”

Our students can also do with some company sponsored internship. As The Hindu report put it, Infosys paid its ‘social dues’ to China through the internship scheme. I don’t know if the company feels it owes anything to Mysore by way of ‘social dues’. Wouldn’t it be a good idea, if they were to sponsor a few seats in every training batch at the Mysore centre to the bright but socially disadvantaged students from Mysore ? Like China, we could also do with multinationals sponsoring internships to our students who lack employability skills. According to a Nasscom study, three out of every four engineers our educational institutions turn out are found to be deficient in tech. skills, fluency in English, ability to work in a team, and to deliver basic oral presentations.

At campus recruitment big companies skim off the best and the brightest. A company sponsored internship programme for some of those who are left out might be one way the corporate sector could pay its social dues to educational institutions.


Shankar said...

Whether Infosys trained Chineses students out of its social obligation OR to further its business interests in China is another matter. But the very concept of training disadvantaged youth (in the case of Chinese students, it may be the English language and/or technical skills in IT)in relevant trades is a laudable objective. If we accept that Infosys trained Chineses students out of its social obligation, we can only say that Infosys has much larger social reponsibility towards the disadvantaged sections of India. Let us hope that Infosys will set aside a small chunk of its much advertised profits to train every year few thousand students from the disadvantaged sections of not only India, but also the other third world countries including that of Africa.

Raghavendra said...

Hi Shankar, Infosys does pay its social dues to indian society too.. not sure if u mean , it shud as much as it adv itself :)