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IT sector to grow despite war, SARS: Mittal
Basharat Peer in New Delhi | April 08, 2003 17:34 IST
Som Mittal, president and CEO of Digital Globalsoft, who took over as the chairman of National Association of Software and Service Companies, on Tuesday, told reporters that in spite of the Iraq war and the panic created by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, Indian IT sector is poised for growth.
"These are temporary phases, something or the other is always happening. But the IT sector has shown resilience even after 9/11 when the US economy went into recession.
"There will be delays in transaction but the customers will come back to us.
"Despite the war global industry captains have been visiting India, so there is not much reason to worry," Mittal said in his maiden interaction with the press as Nasscom chairman.
Referring to the Iraq war Mittal said that some of the (Nasscom) member companies had to pull their operations out of the Middle East due to the war. He, however, appeared bullish as he saw a quick end to the war, which he said would open vistas for Indian companies to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.
"The uncertainty of the war will be over in a few days. The US economy is expected to grow after that and we too will gain," Mittal added. His views were shared by Nasscom president, Kiran Karnik.
While describing the Indian IT industry to be rightly positioned to reap the ‘offshoring' wave, Mittal, identified building the India Inc brand; sustaining competitiveness; helping SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to grow; foraying into new geographical territories; boosting the domestic markets and working on global policy initiatives as the focus areas for Nasscom in 2003.
But the immediate challenges for the software association, according to Mittal will be, 'visa related issues, work permits and anti-outsourcing bills'.
Since Indian IT professionals have been facing problems recently on such issues, he said that Nasscom would focus on working with the ministry of external affairs and embassies worldwide to clarify visa technicalities.
"We will work with overseas emigration authorities and educate them on Indian business models. We will also work with the government to create a special category of visas for knowledge industries under GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) and sensitise the India IT industry on visa related issues," Mittal added.
Engaging with global and Indian policy makers to educate them on India's competitiveness and getting senior policy makers to visit India will be the other areas of focus apart from working with Indian member companies to educate them on the cultural nuances and different business practices.
The outgoing Nasscom chairman, Arun Kumar said he was 'satisfied' with his tenure.
"Last year it was challenging and exciting for Nasscom and the industry but we have been able to realign ourselves to get close to our customers and also proactively communicate our strengths to the global audiences," he said.