Sunday, December 27, 2009


This is a question going rounds among many people who were assocoated with ITI for years. Once a magnificient behemoth now weathered by time and circumstances. A parallel question is Should ITI be revived? What used to have around 25,000 employees at one time has hardly few thousands now. As widely felt I dont think that ITI was a victim of policies but of the changing scenario that caught the world and ITI offguard.

I for one have always believed that ITI can be revived and should be revived. ITI seems to have lost its way and needs to find it in the new economy. There were many such cases of large organization dwindling in importance over time --like the swiss watch industry of the 60's which used to employ scores of people but only to vanish when quartz was used to make watches as against gears. Managerial weakness of some kind can be seen in the way ITI was run in their inability to prognosticate the future and react to it accordingly. Success is sometimes dangerous -more so the windfall type because communities forget to do one most important thing--predict the possible future ,its concerns and vagaries. Top management must always do this activity of forseeing the future and warn the organization of pending eventualities. Very few people of this nature exist in top management of today is by itself a weakness of the system which goes more by status quo than by the needs of the organization and its future.

How then can ITI be revived; I have the following suggestions though may not be perfect but can go some way in keeping the morale and optimism badly needed at this juncture.
  • First of all beleive that ITI can be revived. If every one goes by the general rhetoric and chorus that ITI is doomed there is no scope and possibility of revival.
  • ITI needs to be awakened from several dimensions, which just one team or person cannot fully comprehend. The person who is holding the post of CMD must be chosen carefully and given a minimum period of atleast five years at a stretch on the job unless he voluntarily decides to abdicate for reasons best known to him.
  • Unfetter the CMD and his team from administrative or buerecratic shakles and give him a fairly free hand with some control from the government to operate.
  • To take full advantage of the modern realities ITI must be renamed as Indian Telecom Industries as against the present name.
  • Divide ITI into various zones with each zone taking up manufacture and fabrication of telecom equipments and products.
  • One of these zones could totally focus on being a backend outsource partner for telecom giants around the world.
  • ITI must be a platform where tasks involving manual labour and professional labour are given sufficient importance. The next generation ITI must have say 20,ooo manual workers and say 10,000 professional workers who involve in activities like software development.
  • Synergise the resources of ITI with other public sector giants and defence institutions.
  • Create a telecom institute inside ITI on the lines of the IIT's to focus solely on telecom education and management.
  • Never privatize ITI . The government must take the onus of reviving this institution by basically reorienting things and asking fundamental questions. ITI needs a vision and mission statement to stay its course in the era that unfolds.

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