‘India can guide others in software industry’

UNCTAD report urges the country to strengthen database to facilitate informed policymaking


Pratap Vikram Singh | November 27, 2012

United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD) has urged India to strengthen the database on software sector to facilitate informed policymaking. India can major role in helping other developing countries to develop the software industry through south-south cooperation, said UNCTAD in a latest report.

UNCTAD has urged developing countries to harness local software industry for domestic markets “as a means to increase income and address development goals”. Cautioning developing countries with excessive dependence on information technology exports and imports, the UN body said this would lead to indifference towards domestic market potential and perpetual dependence on foreign products, respectively.

The report also calls for a greater role for the state as a "proactive coordinator" to bring together different stakeholders – the industry associations, academia and others for building a vibrant national software system.

“The social return for a dollar worth of software domestically used is much more than a dollar worth of software export. By exporting, we are helping the developed countries to be more competitive,” Dr KJ Joseph, professor, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, and also one of the key contributors to the report, said during the launch of Information Economy Report 2012 by the UNCTAD in national capital on Tuesday. 

Comparing software industries of China and India, he said, “While India uses only 23 percent of software domestically, in China it is 90 percent. Moreover, China’s total software production is almost three times that of India. China is emerging as a major exporter of software. While India uses $15 billion worth of software domestically, it is as high as $255 in China.”

“No wonder, with the higher use of software in domestic sectors China has been able to increase its international competitiveness in different sectors of the economy,” he corroborated.

Giving a global perspective on the same, he said that spending on computer software and services amounted to an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2012. As much as four fifths of the total was linked to industrialised countries, while the remaining share was mainly accounted for by developing countries in east, South and South East Asia.

Hailing India's emergence of a soft power due to its software capabilities, Anita Jain, joint secretary, department of electronics and information technology, said that India achieved $101 billion of software trade this year, out of which $69 billion came from exports. By 2020, the IT and ITES industry is expected to provide 10 million direct jobs to the youths in the country. She said by then the export revenue and over all IT/ITES trade is expected to cross $175 billion and $300 billion, respectively.




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