No relevant background for the job, no problem. India has set a precedent by being the first country to make it illegal for employers to ask for a candidate’s experience, track record, or background during an interview. Henceforth, all candidate names will be put in a box and a random draw will determine who gets hired. Of course, considerations will be given to caste to ensure that all castes have equal representation in the vote-bank.
So now if a carpenter wants to apply for the top job at the Tata Group he has as much chance as an IIM Ahmadabad graduate who has spent thirty years developing business strategy for the largest multinationals in the world.
This rule came into place when Mr. Modi reshuffled his cabinet and appointed Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman as the Defense Minister of India. Her entire body of work includes three years as the Minister of Commerce where she had no appreciable record of success and appearances as a BJP combatant on the Arnab Goswamy show. Other than that she has no demonstrable track record of leadership, management success in the real world, knowledge of weapon systems, acumen in strategic warfare, or negotiating skills.
But under the new “Modi rules for hiring” no employer, private or government, can inquire into a candidate’s background because it is irrelevant to one’s ability to be successful at a job.
And so when Mr. Modi was looking for a Defense Minister to protect 1.25 billion people he put a few names in a hat and pulled out Ms. Sitharaman’s. The fact that the BJP does not have a deep bench of talented people improved her odds because it meant that there were only a few names in the hat. Ms. Sitharaman now has the job of developing a comprehensive strategy to modernize India’s armed forces.
The fact that she has never had to learn the difference between a rifle and a revolver does not matter. Because all answers are now available on Google. If she has to decide between weapon systems A and B all she has to do is go to the company websites and get all the information–Ms. Sitharaman used to be a schoolteacher and can read in several languages. Never mind that a few billion dollars may be at stake. But there is no shortage of money since her friend, the Finance Minister–who incidentally also got his job without any experience in the world of Finance or Economics–is using GST to squeeze billions more in taxes from hapless businesses.
It doesn’t help, though, that her boss is still in denial over the inability of his Economic Treatise on Demonetization to win the Nobel Prize for Rationality. But like Don Quixote he has more imaginary ills to slay. So he forgave farmers their loans and destroyed India’s meat and leather industries because he had read on Wikipedia that destruction will eventually lead to rebuilding and that will grow the economy. After all, he too got his job without a real background check. But he is surrounded by experts, you say. Sure, he is but he doesn’t listen to them. In fact, he recently got rid of two of his best economists because they were stealing his thunder.
And, so Ms. Sitharaman is on her own and Ache din are not here yet. But worry not. If the Chinese get serious about their claims in Doklam and she is required to develop war strategies she can always find Genghis Khan’s The Art of War on Amazon and have it shipped overnight. Before the dragon can load up on its fire, Ms. Sitharaman will have speed-read the great warrior’s strategic insights on how to defeat the enemy. Who needs to spend forty years sweating in the trenches to learn about warfare when the internet has all the answers.
Never mind that everything ever invented in human history came from someone asking the right questions. You see in the real world, where people risk their own money and not taxpayer money, experience, education, and a track record are essential for success because they teach a person how to ask the right questions. And without the ability and training to ask the right questions, it is difficult to find the best solution.
India’s new rule prohibiting employers to question a candidate’s background and experience is the perfect solution for a country that suffers from severe unemployment and where 30% of the people are functionally illiterate even after 70 years of independence. The government is tired of being blamed for not providing educational opportunities to its citizens, so why not eliminate the need for education and experience from the hiring process.
And Mr. Modi’s message to all young Indians: quit spending long hours acquiring knowledge and skills, and stop worrying about merit because you don’t need that anymore to get a job in India. If someone who has never been to college, Smriti Irani, can get a job as the Minister in charge of Higher Education, why should young people be required to have programming skills to get an IT job or medical training to become a surgeon? In modern India, your back ground and experience have no bearing on your ability to do a job.
Woe also to the World Bank for constantly nagging India for its outdated labor laws. India now becomes the first country to abolish background requirements for jobs–can any other other country match this out-of-the-box thinking that has become the hallmark of India’s Kakistocratic government.