labels: aerospace, indian space research organisation
Talent crunch may force ISRO to set up space institutenews
01 March 2007

The country's venerable space institution, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) too is feeling the pinch from the growing talent crunch around the country. Its chairman G Madhavan Nair has said that the institution is seriously considering setting up an exclusive institute to train its own technical personnel.

In an interview to PTI, Nair acknowledged that with the booming IT sector continuing to allure young engineers with very attractive salaries, other technical segments of the economy are now facing the brunt.

"At one time, we used to get top-most people from various institutions. But today that situation does not exist. Even after going through all India tests, we are not able to get the numbers we want," Nair said. "At the same time, we don't want to compromise on quality. So, we are seriously contemplating whether we can start an exclusive institute which will take people and train them in space programmes".

According to Nair, if all goes well, ISRO should be able to start its own institute this year. The institute, Nair says, would offer graduate and post-graduate courses in space programmes and technologies and related areas, and also have facilities to carry out R&D work.

"We need roughly 300 persons (engineers) every year. At least half of that should be met with this institute, while the rest will come from open market," Nair said.

According to Nair, it is the "distortion" in the wage structure that is attracting young engineers to the IT sector.

"For the same job, you may have to pay in the US at least five times for employees there. But here, best of the people are taken for one-fifth of the US salary and doing very routine jobs. Of course, there are exceptions with some people doing R&D. But 90 per cent of talent is wasted. It's not a good situation for the country".

Nair also said that entry-level salaries in various industries, research labs and services sector in the US, at the most, might have a variation of 20 per cent at the most. The situation is different here as pay packets in the IT sector are far higher. Nair feels that norms need to be evolved between various sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing and services in order to bring about an equitable situation.

"Such norms have to be evolved. (Then) naturally, people will go to the job they like, rather than always running after money," Nair said.

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Talent crunch may force ISRO to set up space institute