Indian IT industry mood lifts on totalisation pact

Indian IT industry mood lifts on totalisation pact

With the resumption of the discussions on Social Security Agreement and Bilateral Investment Agreement finding pride of place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcements at the joint press meet with visiting US president Barack Obama, the country’s IT sector is hopeful of a conducive business atmosphere in the US to expand its business operations.

The IT industry is also looking to sort out the irritants in the US immigration law and issuance of H1B and L1 visas, besides stepped up collaboration in science and technology.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Ashok Soota, the Executive Chairman of Happiest Minds, said the visit of Obama should settle the totalisation agreement. “With an annual $1 billion deposited by five lakh Indian workers to the US’ social security system, India is set to push for a totalisation agreement,” he said.

Typically, Indian workers stay in the US for three to seven years and contribute about 15 per cent of their salary to the US Social Security system.

With no totalisation pact in place, these workers lose their entire contributions unless they complete 10 years of mandatory contributions. Soota said market issues should be sorted by the companies only. “IT companies should find new ways to tap into the US market. Also, we have to resolve the visa issue,” he said.

In a mailed response, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka said: “We are at an important juncture in humanity's evolution, where the US and India — the two greatest democracies — can help enable easily shared innovation across borders, shared education and lifelong learning/re-skilling founded on a culture that supports healthy debate and strengthens the basic tenets of democracy. This can serve as an example for the world to emulate, benefit everyone and catalyse a great human revolution.”

Cisco Systems President (smart + connected communities) and Deputy Chief Globalisation Officer Anil Menon said the visit will create a conducive trust atmosphere.

“Modi has already established a personal relationship with the US president. Also, the visit will help India’s efforts to build more smart cities, where besides digital, engineering and technical support, the US can help us to take on the huge financial burden,” he said.

Menon also pointed out that US finds a better business partner in India among the emerging markets with an already growing cultural tie-up. “Here the growing discordance in relationship with China and Russia will also favour India,” he said.

Greyhound Research CEO Sanchit Vir Gogia said the Obama visit will give a boost to the IT sector. “The US economy is booming and this will give more opportunities for Indian IT. We should also settle thorns like the visa issue and secure more market access,” he said.

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