. Volte Face

Topic of discussion in this issue:

The Pronounced Digital Divide: Are New Technologies growing faster than the consumers' usage rate..?

TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens. Picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones. Complexity among consumer technology products has never been greater -- a good thing if the complexity means product improvement. But are the new bells and whistles posing challenges to businesses and consumers alike. Complexity -- along with choice -- can have a big impact on how firms make and market new and improved gizmos, and on the decision processes of the people expected to buy them. Are we at a point, where the next innovation will actually be the idea that ease of use is the most compelling feature of technical products?

Views-in-Favour and Counter-Views on this conflagrant battle are solicited. Your views should reach us at b_cognizance@iiita.ac.in

Solution for the previous topic - "Should there be reservation in the private sector?"


The present debate is the culmination of the ideas of the anti- reservationists and their hostility towards reservation. The upper middle class is becoming restless because of the reservation issue. It feels that private industry is exclusively its domain and others should not be allowed to enter this sphere. It perhaps thinks that it has the exclusive rights for employment in the Indian industry. It overlooks the fact that the private sector is thriving today mainly because of the creation of infrastructure by the government.

Those who oppose reservation in the private sector do not realize the fact that the Indian industry at no point was socially responsible. Though the SC/STs and the OBCs constitute the major group in the country's population, their share in the industrial ownership is negligible. The Indian industry needs to be progressive and shoulder the responsibility of ensuring equitable development of all sections including the depressed classes. They should wake up to the call of the day and offer reservation to the SC/STs voluntarily to fulfill the socio-economic obligations.

By doing so, the industry will become more humane and professional. It will also become more competitive and profitable. The social image of the industry will improve and its acceptability will increase in society. The industry must prove that it is open to all and everyone should share the responsibility of uplifting the depressed brethren. It should change its perception that by providing reservation to weaker sections, it would lose its competitiveness.


In a competitive private sector, merit will triumph and not caste. Some incompetent persons may be tolerable in the short run, but in the long run companies without good staff will go bust.

Job reservation in industrial units of private sector should not be done by the Government. This will have a far reaching impact on the industry as it may completely destroy meritocracy in the industrial units of private sector and bring inefficiency. Moreover, the reservations could bring to the fore `class issues', which can vitiate the working atmosphere in the private sector. It has to be appreciated that there is no discrimination against the backward and SC/ST communities as a number of people from such communities are succeeding in private sector jobs due to sheer hard work and competence.

What is more worrying is its impact on the efficiency and productivity of a unit in an internationally competitive environment in which the industry is striving to become globally competitive. The industry feels that any action on such a move will be a retrograde step as it may adversely affect the capability of the domestic industrial units.

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