India could've been hardware leader, regrets Narayana Murthy

The ''erroneous policies'' pursued by successive governments at the Centre from 1975 to 1991 constrained India's massive potential to emerge as a global leader in the hardware sector despite its software prowess, according to Infosys co-founder and Narayana Murthy.

''Though India has made rapid strides in the software sector, it lags in the hardware sector,'' Murthy said at a function in Nagpur on Wednesday evening where he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Nagpur chapter of the Engineers Forum.

''Though India had the potential to lead the world, it had lost this precious opportunity in the past following erroneous policies pursued by successive governments at the Centre at that time,'' he said.

''As far as production of hardware is concerned, China is billed as the factory of the world. India too possessed a similar potential. However, policies by the central government between 1975 and 1991 put India on the backburner,'' Murthy noted.

''Despite this, India rules the software sector all over the world, which has given it a unique confidence and edge,'' he said, attributing it to the 24X7 work model, as a result of which it has become ''the largest job provider''.

He said India should adopt a multi-culture system and recruit people from all over the world to make further progress in this direction.

Colleges get poor marks

Painting a grim picture of engineering education in the country, he said colleges are churning out only 25 per cent quality engineers.

''If India is to improve the standard of engineering colleges, they must be given full autonomy,'' Murthy added.

On growth of IT industry, he said it is the biggest employer in India today, generating employment for 2,000 people every year.

In fact, this segment has displaced the public sector as the largest creator of jobs. ''All these achievements are being undone as engineering education in the country is not up to the mark,'' he regretted.

He also quoted the McKinsey report which said only 25 per cent of engineering graduates are employable.

''This should be an eye-opener for us ... the need is to tone up the education sector as the quality of our engineers is below average,'' Murthy added.