India – A Future Warehouse of the World
India has the world’s second largest population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. India has a promising future, given the unprecedented growth in economy and its clout in the global issues. India is now riding on the wave of a gigantic boom in computer driven new economy. Many developed countries of the world are seeking the huge pool of English speaking talented software professionals in India. As the world is transforming towards knowledge society, India too is moving proportionately competing with the world. With the increase of Internet users and the advancement of information and communication technology in India had boasted the development towards e-commerce in global economic society. In IT sector India is booming as a super power. In the last few years India has made rapid strides in the IT sector especially in the software services and IT enabled services. In this paper we analyses the picture of IT industry in a very near future in India & contribution of India in world’s Information Technology Sector.
From the 1950s, IBM had a virtual monopoly of computers in India. The 360 series release in 1960s was the major workhouse of the large organizations. They even maintained a chain of programmers who could write down software’s for their machines. However in 1978, when George Fernandes, ministry of industries at that time, commanded IBM to take local shareholders into its subsidiary, the company refused strictly and went back after winding up its all operations in India. Its ex-employees then set up Computer Maintenance Corporation, with the primary object of maintaining IBM computers.
During the period of 1995-2000, the Indian IT Industry has recorded a C.A.G.R. (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of more than 42.4 percent, which is almost double the growth rate of IT industries in many of the developed countries. For Details contact AMCHAM National Secretariat, New Delhi Foreign companies particularly American companies have played a vital role in making India an emerging IT super power in the world. These MNCs account for nearly 22 per cent of Indian software exports. According to the latest NASSCOM estimates, in 2001-02, multinational infotech companies exported software worth Rs. 6500 crore from India. Country’s total software export was pegged at Rs. 29400 crore. In terms of investment and growth, U.S. companies like Cognizant Technologies (largest export revenue earning MNC) IBM, Oracle, GE, Cisco, Compaq, Intel amongst others lead the MNCs in the Information Technology sector. Nine out of top 20 Indian IT firms are from United States. These account for over 37% of the turnover of the top 20 firms operating in India. Despite their significant contribution to the IT sector, these companies have to face a number of procedural and operational problems in India.
However, the volume of e-commerce, in India, is far below the levels achieved in USA, which was about 1 percent of the total GDP in 1999. Further, the expected volume of e-commerce in India in 2001 (US$ 255.3 million) is also below the levels expected to be achieved, which in comparison to Australia (US$ 3 billion), China (US$ 586 million), South Korea (US$ 876 million) and Hong Kong (US$685 million) is quite less.
Time has changed the way businesses are carried out. What was supposed to be known to few and limited to the home towns, appears to be an ancient methodology of carrying out the work. The present day brands work on world wide scale, that is they are successful in not just one particular region but have deepened their roots to all the corners in the globe that you can think of.
Information Technology is what constitutes the most important sector in the present day trend of carrying out business. It is because you can not be present everywhere to monitor the work, but with networking and communications, you can always stay in contact with the other business sites of yours.
ICT Approaches of India
A spate of reforms-post-1991 economic crisis-have given impetus to the Indian economy, particularly to the ICT sector. As part of the reform agenda, the Indian Government has taken major steps to promote ICT including the creation in 1988 of a World Market Policy, with a focus on software development for export; telecommunications policy reform; privatization of the national long-distance and mobile phone markets; and development of a more comprehensive approach to ICT. Although India’s success is commanding increasing attention and investment, it has yet to result in the distribution of social and economic benefits across a broader base of the population. Challenges-including the perception of an unfavorable regulatory climate, an overloaded judicial system, poor infrastructure and costly access, and limited use of ICT-remain. The emerging shift in government strategy, toward knowledge-intensive services, has created a climate more conducive to addressing enterprise, domestic infrastructure, education and the use of ICT to meet development needs.
Policy: India’s focus on self-reliant industrialization in the 1970s and 1980s has been replaced with reforms aimed at positioning India in the world economy: the foreign direct investment process has been streamlined, new sectors have been opened up to foreign direct investment and ownership, and the government has exempted the ICT industry from corporate income tax for five years. These reforms have helped India to become increasingly integrated into the global economy through growth in the export of software and skill-intensive software services, such as call-centers.
In 1986, the Indian government announced a new software policy designed to serve as a catalyst for the software industry. This was followed in 1988 with the World Market Policy and the establishment of the Software Technology Parks of India (STP) scheme. As a result, the Indian software industry grew from a mere US$150 million in 1991-1992 to a staggering US$5.7 billion (including over US$4 billion worth of software exports) in 1999-2000-representing an annual growth rate of over 50 percent.
The establishment of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was a key step towards effective implementation of telecommunications reforms. In 1992, the mobile phone market was opened up to private operators, in 1994 the fixed services market followed, and finally in 1999, national long distance operations were opened to private competition. Prior to these reforms, the Department of Telecommunications had been the sole provider of telecommunications services.
In addition, to attract foreign direct investment, the government permitted foreign equity of up to 100 percent and duty free import on all inputs. Government-created technology parks also offered professional labor services to clients, a cost-effective program for India since ICT labour is so inexpensive by global standards.
Infrastructure: Teledensity in India has reached 3.5 percent of the population. Approximately 1 percent of households have fixed line connections, compared to 10 percent in China. The mobile sector has approximately 3 million users, growing at 100 percent per annum, and is expected to outstrip the fixed line market in the near future. The number of Internet accounts is around 1.5 million, growing at 50 percent per annum. India also has very high penetration rates of terrestrial TV, cable and radio. Voice and data wireless solutions, for both domestic and export markets, are increasingly produced and used locally.
Access to telephones in Indian villages has improved in the last five to six years through the introduction of the Public Call Office (PCO) run by local shopkeepers. More than 60 percent of the villages in India have at least one phone. This also includes over 800,000 Village Public Telephones (VPTs). Worldtel is undertaking a pilot in four states to secure financing to upgrade the Village Public Telephones so they will soon be Internet-accessible.
In some urban locations, India’s Software Technology Parks (STPs) provide infrastructure, buildings, electricity, telecommunications facilities and high-speed satellite links to facilitate export processing of software.
India also has a number of progressive computerized networks in place, including a stock exchange, the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation System, and the National Informatics Centre Network (NICNET), which connects government agencies at the central, state and district levels.
Enterprise: India’s well-established framework for protecting intellectual property rights has been an important inducement to business investment: well-known international trademarks have been protected by Indian laws, even when they were not registered in India. In 1999, major legislation was passed to protect intellectual property rights in harmony with international practices and in compliance with India’s obligations under TRIPS.
Much of the initial domestic demand stimulus for ICT and ICT services industries in India has come from government: 28 percent of total IT spending to date can be attributed to government and public sector expenditure. Major areas of government expenditure include: financial services, taxation, customs, telecommunications, education, defense and public infrastructure. As a result of the growth in ICT use in India, the ICT industry itself has also increased its domestic economic activity, for example, a number of ICT companies have developed accounting and word processing packages in Indian languages. The potential impact of this growth on the domestic economy is much broader than developing software for export only.
Human Capacity: In spite of relatively low literacy rates among the general population, India has several key advantages in human capital: a large English-speaking population and world-class education, research and management institutions-a direct result of investment in self-reliance in science and technology. In addition to establishing Indian Institutes of Technology in various cities around India to create a large pool of technical skills, the government has a computer policy to encourage R&D in personal computers. The IT training sector continues to grow at a rapid rate: total training revenues in 1998 were estimated at US$225 million, 30 percent up on the previous year. However, one of the biggest challenges to the Indian software industry remains the difficulty in attracting and retaining talented professionals.
Content and Applications: India has a large population with great linguistic diversity. Creating and maintaining locally relevant content for a country with 418 languages is a challenge. Nevertheless, local language content is slowly making ICT more relevant and accessible to a broader cross-section of the population. For example, India’s Center for Development of Advanced Computing has recently launched a scheme called iLEAP-ISP to create a free multilingual word processor to be made available to all Internet subscribers. On other fronts, some states such as Tamil Nadu have launched their own initiatives to support the standardization of local language software through interface programs that can be adapted to word processors, dictionaries, and commercial keyboards for use in schools, colleges, government offices and homes.
An emphasis has also been placed on the development of relevant e-government applications in India. Some states such as Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have started to introduce applications which allow citizens to have faster and more transparent access to government services-for example, the provision of information on laws and regulations, and the procuring of licenses and official documents online.
Strategic Compact: Public-private partnerships, catalyzed by the IT Ministry, have played a key role in India’s ICT-related development. One of the positive results of this effort has been the IT Act of 2000, which was based on the recommendation of the National IT Task Force, and aims to set the overall strategy for the IT sector. In addition, the government and the private sector are starting to come together to foster ICT development. For example, a joint effort by the Computer Science Automation Department at the Indian Institute of Science and a Bangalore-based private company have developed Simputer-a cheap micro-computer that enables illiterate users to browse the Internet.
India’s development and contribution in world’s information technology sector is of highest reputation. Cities like Bangalore have become the favorite(most preferred) destinations of all the big banners like HSBC, Dell, Microsoft, GE, Hewlett Packard, and several Indian multi national firms like Infosys Technologies, Wipro, and Microland who have set up their offices in the city. It is because the city offers good infrastructure, with large floor space and great telecom facilities. This can be judged on the basis of the high growth statistics of India and the changing outlook of the companies towards India .
It is because of this growth many popular brands that have not yet build up there rigid offices in the country are making it fast to have a destination in India too. For example, Sun Microsystems, a global IT major, announced in Bangalore to double the present workforce of the company’s Sun India Engineering Center (IEC) from the present 1000 to 2000 in the next two years time. IEC, which is the largest R&D center for Sun outside the US , would also focus on developing products in India to suit the needs of the Indian market, which would be benchmarked globally.
This speedy growth of IT Sector is undoubtedly due to the efforts of Indian government and the other developments that took in the other parts of the globe.
The country has seen an era when after the IBM shutted its shop in India in 1950, the mainframes that were imported into the country were all from Russia . Western computer could not be imported because of an American embargo on export of high-technology equipment to India , which was considered an ally of the Soviet Union .
Slowly, with the time the country could develop its first powerful parallel computer in 1991 known as CDAC, by connecting together a string of less powerful computers.
With time and the continuous growth across the world, the country continued struggling and came up as the world leader in Information Technology Sector.
The industry has grown up to US $ 5.7 billion (including over $4 billion worth of software exports) in 1999-2000, with the annual growth rate not sliding below 50 percent since 1991.
It exports software and services to nearly 95 countries around the world. The share of North America ( U.S. & Canada ) in India ‘s software exports is about 61 per cent.
The Indian labor is not only cheap but is technically skilled too to the world class level. It is due to the Indian Education System that includes in its course curriculum the practical knowledge of the latest technology that is developed in world along with the fluency in English Language that imparts compatibility in an Indian technician to communicate and work through out the world.
Further the geographical location of India serves it the advantage of being exactly halfway round the world from the US west coast, which is another reason why India is preferred destination of many big brands.
Also, The presence of a large number of Indians, especially engineers, in the US gave India an easy entry into the US software market.
What adds more to the dominance of India in Information Technology Sector is the government policies like the enactment of cyber laws to protect and safeguard the interest of software companies in India .
Setting up of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), by the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India and the International Technology Park in a joint project by the State Government, the TATA Group and the Singapore Consortium to promote and facilitate the software exports is another major step towards the growth of Indian Information Technology Sector.
Similarly an industrial park, known as Electronic City , was set up in 1991 takes more than a hundred electronic industries including Motorola, Infosys, Siemens, ITI, and Wipro, in an area of around 330 acres.
The Export Promotion Industrial Park , built near International Technology Park , gives an exclusive 288 acres of area for export oriented business. GE has its India Technology Center located at this park and employs hundreds of multi disciplinary technology development activities.
The other promotional activities that brought up India to this position include the IT Corridor project. Conceptualized by Singapore ‘s Jurong Town Corporation Private Ltd, the IT corridor Project was initiated by the Department of IT and the Bangalore Development Authority in order to develop state of the art facilities for the development of knowledge based industries.
Thought’s of some World’s IT leaders about India
“Economic growth will force better governance, and better governance will feed more economic growth”
SV, NYC, USA
The people and communities at large feel that they don’t have the ability to make a difference
Juzar Singh Sangha, Bedford
India has to take more care of the village population who are still struggling to live properly
John Karondukadavil, India, Living in Poland, Jaslo
India can become a superpower if she concentrates on the technology market niche
Devyani Prabhat, Jersey City, USA
India must counter its skills and wage crisis
Pallavi, Sydney, Australia
Hopefully India will lead the world towards a more humane and tolerant future
Nilesh, Antwerp, Belgium
India needs to take strong and clear cut decisions to emerge as a global player
Nivedita Nadkarni, Madison, USA
India is a country gaining economic ground in the world
Justin, Bristol, UK
Indians now have to develop a sense of national pride
India will never be a superpower, much less a global power
Jonathan, Boston, USA
India has had a sharp increase in the estimated number of HIV infections
Sezai, Eskisehir, Turkey
India’s economic success is built on the sacrifices of previous generations
Shekhar Scindia, Edison, NJ, USA
While India’s economic growth is encouraging, its sustainability is doubtful
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in Michigan, USA
India is a perfect solution for all those companies, which seek for cheap, yet technically skilled labor who have innovative minds and state of art to work over a project. The ample of facilities provide in a perfect working conditions. For rest, cyber laws are there to monitor and safeguard everyone’s interest related to IT sector.
All these reasons contribute for India to be as the most adored destination to many companies. . So we can conclude:
•India poised for an explosive growth in ICT
•India emerging as a global R&D Hub
•From brain drain to brain gain
•Millions of jobs will be created in ICT & other emerging technology areas
•Quality issues will have to be addressed
•Private Sector world class institutions will emerge with global collaborations
•India will reclaim its ancient heritage of the world’s most advanced knowledge-based civilization called “Bharat”.
India will become Warehouse of IT in the world
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