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US tech body says India should be voice of the Third World

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November 20, 2003 10:13 IST

The Information Technology Association of America has called for India to be the voice of developing nations after having emerged as a leader in the IT sector.

While the Indian government is unhappy about US policies on agriculture and steel, the ITAA has expressed happiness over the fact that India is taking quick measures to address the problems of its future -- information technology.

Addressing CEOs from various well-known companies, Harris N Miller, president of the ITAA said, "We do not advocate India offshoring. Instead, we, along with our friends from Nasscom are looking towards a global economy."

Miller said not more than 7 to 9 per cent of all IT jobs would move out of the US in the next 10-15 years.

"Even the most optimistic people on outsourcing believe that not more than 7 to 9 per cent of all IT jobs will move out of the US. It (all jobs) can't move outside the US, because there are many issues for it," he said. He said much of the downturn in US economy was a result of its arrogance.

"Just as Detroit made the mistake of ignoring Japanese cars, US IT companies felt that they were the only players in the late 90s. At around the same time, India was going thorough an astronomical change with names like Wipro, TCS and Infosys leading the bandwagon. US was not paying attention while countries like India, Ireland, South America, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines were emerging as the IT hotspots."

Expressing happiness over the fact that the US GDP for the previous quarter was 7.2 per cent, Miller said that a majority of the chaos on offshoring was a result of media hype.

"Until recently, job recovery was the missing piece during the revival of our economy.

"Unemployment among US IT workers, which was nil in 1999, increased to over 6 per cent in 2001-02. This has changed in the last quarter with a large number of jobs being recovered.

"Highlighting a few indicators of revival, Miller added, "It is important to note that the strengthening of stocks is no more based on wild speculation. The equipment and software spending by companies have also increased by 15.4 per cent during the previous quarter."

In his address, George C Newstrom, secretary of technology, Commonwealth of Virginia highlighted the importance of e-governance.

Newstrom said that it was important for governments benefit from IT in order to ensure transparency and efficiency.

India has earned a reputation in the US as a good software producer, but the image of the country is not good when it is compared with a big consumer market like China.

"When you talk about China, they (Americans) say it is a huge market with 1.3 billion population whereas India's image is as a good software producer. They don't know that India has one billion population and growing middle class consumers," Miller said.

Indian IT associations along with the industry and government should project the country in the US as a potential market, and not just as a software provider, he added.

BS Bureau in Bangalore