Smiles are back

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Business Standard; February 10, 2010
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Smiles are back
The hotel venue that hosted the 18th Nasscom ‘India Leadership Forum’ here was bursting at its seams with 1,700 participants – one of the highest numbers registered at the annual event so far. Last year, the number of participants was lower at 1,300 and the mood impacted by the global slowdown.
That the swagger was back among the participants this year could be judged by the fact that Nasscom turned down over 100 applicants since it had discontinued spot registrations. “It is good to see the turn-around and this certainly shows that confidence is back within the industry. The changes that have happened from when I stood at the same place last year are fundamental and structural in nature,” said Som Mittal, president, Nasscom.
Jerry Rao, chairman of Nasscom Foundation, also shared a similar view.
“The energy is amazing. The industry is certainly much more positive than last year. Look at the number of participants and you get the picture. I, for one, believe that investment in information technology (IT) is such an aspect that no company can ignore it for long,” Rao said.
Addition of 90,000 jobs in 2009-10 The Indian IT-BPO sector, which derives almost 70 per cent of its revenue from exports, is estimated to grow 5.4 per cent in 2009-10, according to the Nasscom Strategic Review 2010. The industry has already demonstrated its resilience in the midst of a global economic slowdown, with expectations of 90,000 jobs being generated in the current financial year. This means the sector will provide direct employment to 2.3 million and indirect employment to 8.2 million.
The positive outlook was shared by global leaders as well. “This year is about growth and getting closer to customers. Let’s forget about last year,” said Paul Hermelin, director general, Capgemini.
The year 2009 was also instrumental in more than one way. While the industry showcased tenacity and resilience, it also commenced its journey to achieve its aspiration in view of
the altered landscape.
The summit also played down the protectionist rhetoric raised by the US President Obama. Hermelin said that Capgemini’s headcount growth in India has quadrupled and “that is just to deliver services to our US clients at the affordable rates they desire”.
The new decade heralds the slow, but steady end of the worst recession in the past 60 years. Even though Indian outsourcers claim 51 per cent of the total outsourcing market, Indian CEOs seem charged-up to capture the larger share of the remaining market share. This means Indian IT-BPO firms have their eyes on a $225-billion (over Rs 10-lakh-crore) market by 2020, according to Nasscom.
The Nasscom Strategic Review 2010 noted that India and Philippines continued to be the hubs of activity, accounting for 40 per cent of new delivery centres set up globally. Along with a growing international outsourcing market, the industry also acknowledged the steady rise in the potential of domestic market.
R Chandrasekaran, president and managing director of Cognizant, estimated the domestic market had the potential to grow to $50 billion (Rs 2.33 lakh crore) by 2020.
Applauding Nasscom’s initiative, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said: “Maharashtra continues to draw investment from the IT-BPO sector and the government will take all steps to encourage this development.”