19 September 2019

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Past Perfect! A Retrospection to HR in India

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“Personnel management is the planning, organising, directing and controlling, of the procurement , development , compensation, integration, maintenance, and separation of human resource to the end that individual, organisational and social objectives are accomplished.”

Those who have did business studies or Human Resource Management must have read that definition at least once in their curriculum or those who would be using this concept practically in their organisation every day, would be very much aware of it.  But was the management of human resource always like that as it is now? Or was it different from today?

The answer is a big YES; obviously HR was never the same as it is now it was never taken up as it is taken up now. How it started, how it turned, how it got shaped and how was it used earlier. These questions crop up in our mind.

Over many centuries India has absorbed managerial ideas and practices from around the world. Early records of trade, from 4500 B.C. to 300 B.C., not only indicate international economic and political links, but also the ideas of social and public administration. The world's first management book, titled 'Arthashastra', written three millennium before Christ, gave many aspects of human resource practices in Ancient India. This presented ideas of the financial administration of the state, guiding principles for trade and commerce, as well as the management of people.

The roots of these ideas was never ideally got or originated in India only, but these socio cultural roots of Indian heritage are diverse and have been drawn from multiple sources including ideas brought from other parts of the old world also, like Increasing trade, that included engagement with the Romans, led to widespread and systematic governance methods by 250 A.D. During the next 300 years, the first Indian empire, the Gupta Dynasty, encouraged the establishment of rules and regulations for managerial systems, and later from about 1000 A.D. Islam influenced many areas of trade and commerce. A further powerful effect on the managerial history of India was to be provided by the British system of corporate organisation for 200 years.

As far as India’s own managerial ideologies are concerned they date back at least 4 centuries back when Arthashastra was written by Indian scholar-practitioner Chanakya  which included  these three aspects  1) public policy,  2) taxation and accounting principles, and 3) administration and utilisation of people.

In the medieval times there were examples of kings like Allaudin Khilji who regulated the market and charged fixed prices and provided fixed salaries to their people. This was done to fight inflation and provide a decent standard of living.\

Many authors who have given the history of HRM say that HRM started because of trade union and the First World War.

But evolution of HR in India in real terms started in 1920 and 1930’s,when the developmental concern of the human resource was in its beginning stage the emphasis was  on the welfare of the people in organisation the major role which was played at that time was of  disciplinary ,dismissal of workers.

The picture changed in the year 1940 and 1960 when the employees were struggling for their recognition at that point of time.  Then came the introduction of HR practices, techniques and concept of industrial relation. At that point of time the role of HR was majorly of administrative nature which primarily dealt with leave, bonus and retirement.

With the second 5 year plan, heavy industries started and professional management became important. In the 70’s the focus was on efficiency of labour wile in the 80’s the focus was on new technology, making it necessary for new rules and regulations. In the 90’s the emphasis was on human values and development of people and with liberalisation and changing type of working people became more and more important there by leading to HRM which is an advancement of personnel management.

The further development was seen in 1990’s in that period the developmental status of HR was of promising nature the greater emphasis was given on human values and this was very much clear by that time that the productivity can be achieved only through people and they are the real assets of the organisation. By that time the role of Human Resource was of an executive who was having the role of formulating the policies building the developmental programmes etc.


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