Finding strategic ways

America First (FACEBOOK)

One of the recent bills reintroduced by the US Congress aims to tighten the existing H1B Visa norms that has shaken the Indian IT industry. These amendments are in line with President Donald Trump’s “America First” strategy that would potentially jeopardise a good number of the IT sector jobs which are currently outsourced to India.

The US is the most important market for India’s IT services export industry. Some of the worst hit by this new bill will be Indian companies such as Infosys, TCS, and Wipro who together have around 3.5 million employees on their payrolls. Besides Indian companies, global giants, such as, Apple, Facebook, Google, Accenture, Microsoft, etc, who use the H1B visa to hire nonAmericans would also be severely impacted.

While this has prompted India to raise the concerns of its IT industry with the Trump administration, the American firms are also equally concerned as their costs of service delivery in the absence of their H1B Visa enabled employees will shoot up. So, could there be any beneficial outcome of this crisis as far as India is concerned? If the cards are played right, then yes! Today a lot of business activities can be in a virtual mode and on the cloud, India must look at this H1B Visa issue as a boon in disguise.


Considering our capabilities, India should not be lobbying with the US or any other government to take our highly trained human assets out of the country, who have the potential to be the engines of economic growth and prosperity. The government should rather seriously attempt on having a plan to build a new India by recreating an environment that has been fostered in the US.

A virtuous cycle in the IT sector linked with all other sectors of the economy needs to be nurtured with the objective to make India a global powerhouse hub. In the recently held India Today conclave in Mumbai, Reliance Industries Ltd chairman, Mukesh Ambani echoed a similar sentiment. In his address, he said that “It’s high time that our brightest and the best work for the benefit of India and Indians. By whatever fate they are brought back to this country, they can help improve the lives of 1.3 billion citizens and put together a new developmental model. There cannot be a better blessing in disguise than that.”

Ambani also said there is a need to retain data generated domestically within the country as “Keeping our data onshore will ensure that talent, technology, know-how and investments will flow into the country rather than flow out, and will create more jobs for us” and urged the government to start a “Keep in India” initiative for this.

The Indian IT services companies need to play their part in this process, and could work towards ways of bringing more work to India – suitable to national priorities and availability of resources. Thus, instead of encouraging the exodus of the highly-trained Indians to foreign shores, they should be persuaded to become part of the badly needed economic, social and cultural resurgence in the country.

The writer is director, fore school of management