Revolution in technology has resulted in hefty salary, enhanced purchasing power, erratic work schedule, work pressure and ailments

The last decade of the 20th century saw phenomenal growth in science and technology.

Besides chanting the mantra of LPG (liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation ) of the then Central government, the country made rapid progress in Information Technology and India earned the name of IT centre of the world. No doubt, IT has changed the lives of many Indians but it has done more harm than good.

First and foremost, the IT sector started paying hefty salaries. A father’s retirement salary is no match for his son’s first pay cheque and, naturally, the respect for money has diminished. Family relationships have suffered and a father who supported 4 or 5 children with his meagre salary in the 1970s and 1980s cannot expect for much support from his children with fat salaries these days.

Secondly, the purchasing power of the people is beyond the sky. There are no families without a mobile or a vehicle now. If the Buddha were born again and wished to collect mustard seeds from a house where there is no mobile/vehicle, he would sure return empty-handed. Traffic in all the cities has reached the saturation level and, day in and out, new models of vehicles are flooding the market and all cities are clogged.

The working of the IT sector has thrown out of gear the traditional office timings of 10-5 or 9-6.

Days are longer and the employees are suffering from stress and overwork. People have become slaves to machines and this is taking a heavy toll on their health. The tolerance level is at an all-time low and the hire and fire policy is common in all offices.

Many a time, we will not get any explanation for deficiency in services in State/Central departments. All we hear are “Technical problem,” “System breakdown,” “server is down,” “Data corrupted,” etc.

In the manual environment, all offices were using ledgers/books/registers/files/folders for data storage which were found to be clumsy. Hence they were forced to computerise their operations for a paperless office. But, in reality, the IT revolution has increased usage of paper manifold and paperless offices are a distant dream in India, because here everything goes by “record” and not by “system.” Further, there is change in software/hardware every 2-3 years and offices have to dump old systems. The disposal of the old systems is a daunting task, causing damage to ecology. In the name of computerisation, all departments have reduced their staff strength and are facing an acute shortage of staff, both skilled and unskilled.

During our childhood days, vacations were spent on outdoor games. Now a majority of the children are happy sitting in front of a computer playing video games and chatting online with friends. With no physical activity, obesity and diabetes in children are increasing.

In the medical field also, various diagnostic tests are done and doctors are experimenting with patients. No doubt, the longevity has increased but conditions of living are miserable. As technology is advancing, a number of ailments, unheard of hitherto, are surfacing.

In the entertainment industry, films, barring a handful, are full of graphics and leave nothing to raise our curiosity. The films of yesteryear, notably by Vittalacharya, were certainly a viewer’s delight and people were watching them with bated breath.

Frauds and crimes are happening at the drop of a hat and are just a “click” away. The specially created departments like cyber cells are not able to assess the modus operandi in many cases. The origin of virus attacks is a mystery and we are made to believe that it is a set of instructions which makes the system go haywire.

I am not against IT or our younger generation getting fat salaries and enjoying a “good life.” But I am worried that many employees in this sector as well as in banking, insurance, railways, the State and Central departments are looking beyond their age under pressure of work. The IT sector, which should have reduced the work pressure, has failed miserably and this is taking a heavy toll on the health of the employees.

Many couples are childless and divorce rates are rising. Society is in turbulence and care, compassion, humanity, affection, attachment and concern have all taken a back seat. The IT revolution has made the people across the globe connect “electronically” but failed to connect them “emotionally.” The various avenues in this sector have made the present generation “able to read” but unable to distinguish what is “worth reading.” The IT revolution has made one thing certain: “To err is human but to really mess up things, it just requires a computer.”

( The writer’s email: lathashashidhar@gmail.com )

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