Confident surge

Nasscom (National Association of Software and Services Companies) president Som Mittal’s projection of impressive employment growth in the industry in the coming years is no exaggeration, going by the pace at which it has grown in the past. He has estimated that direct employment in the IT and BPO sector would go up from the present 2.3 million to 10 million and indirect employment would touch 20 million. This is eminently possible considering that there was a five-hold increase in employment in the last one decade. In revenue terms the industry is expected to reach its long-cherished export target of $50 billion this year. But for the global slowdown, the goal would have been achieved in 2008. A decade ago it was just $2.6 billion. The exponential growth is a testament of India’s ability to assume world leadership through excellence and competitiveness. It has given the country greater self-confidence in other sectors also, as the growth story of the last decade also indicates.

The challenge before the industry now is not to secure business opportunities but to manage them efficiently. This was a theme of the summit in Chennai where Nasscom called upon the industry to adopt the best ethical practices and norms of conduct. It was, for example, pointed out that discouragement of frequent job changes would ensure a more stable work culture and help companies to perform better. These norms would help the staff also in their professional and personal lives. Another challenge for the industry is to spread out its geographical presence. It has already moved partly from Tier-1 to Tier-2 cities, and is now moving into Tier-3 cities. The shift has important economic and social implications as the smaller towns in the country will also participate in the industry’s progress. Another notable feature is the high percentage of women staff. This is also a big positive with a high social value.

Once the $50 billion target is achieved, the next goal would be $100 billion. The scorching 30 per cent growth, seen till 2008, is again achievable and the target might be reached in quicker time too. Rising protectionism in developed countries and increasing competition are adverse factors, but the Indian software industry has reached the stage where it can handle them with confidence.

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