Cautions against protectionism, says artificial barriers will delay recovery and deepen recession
Geetanjali Minhas | February 13, 2013
“By 2020, the IT industry in India will create more than 10 million jobs every year,” said union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma. Sharma said, “India’s domestic IT growth has grown by close to 24-25 percent of the country’s total exports. By 2020, the industry will grow to become a Rs 200 billion industry and will create at least 10 million jobs directly as against generating close to 3 million jobs directly today and 9 million indirectly.” The minister was speaking at the inauguration of NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2013 in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Calling for an environment that allows professionals to meaningfully engage with companies, Sharma said that historically protectionism has always been counterproducctive. “Artificial barriers in today’s time when global economy is challenged will only delay the recovery process and deepen recession that the world faces. To ensure there is economic activity, trade and movement of people; it is sensible to step out and engage more to bring about change.”
Speaking on India’s IT industry’s concerns with European Union, the commerce minister said, “India will not accept anything if we are not accepted as a data secure and data adequate country.” Sharma acknowledged that the economy is going through immense pressure and expressed hope that the IT industry will do better in 2013 than it did in 2012.
Later speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, Sharma said that enhanced economic engagement, investments and manufacturing is the only way forward. “I am just waiting for the new US trade representative, the new US commerce secretary to assume office and look forward for reengaging.”
Responding to a question on US government’s move to cut tax benefits to US companies outsourcing jobs, he said, “We will have to look at the details as to what is being proposed. We hope that nothing will be done which would adversely impact the going partnership particularly in the technology sector.”
On increasing trade deficit, Sharma expressed hope that March quarter would be a better one and the gap will narrow down. “There has been an overall contraction in global trade, particularly due to the Eurozone crisis and that has had a great impact. We hope that in the last quarter, we will be able to reduce the gap,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan outlined various e-gov measures taken up in the state. Chavan said that his government has been ranked leader and awarded 55 e-gov awards in recent times. The state is leading in Aadhaar enrolments with 50 percent of targeted numbers already enrolled. More than 35,000 common service centres operational in the state deliver 16 key citizen services involving 80 percent of volume online, he added. In tie up with C-DAC, use of local languages is becoming more user-friendly.
Chavan added that the state government’s IT system is truly ready to accept and internalise innovative solutions offered at extremely affordable costs. The CM said the benefits of some of the schemes implemented by the state government have impacted quality of life of people, plugged leakages, improved delivery of subsidies to targeted population and most importantly, the state civil machinery has begun to accept e-gov methodologies that have been rolled out.
“There are many opportunities in new areas with IP-centric applications, data security, mobility, cloud computing, education, vocational services, bioinformatics and drug discovery, augmented reality and social media.” Chavan said the state government with the help of the central government is looking at reducing interface between entrepreneurs, investors and government machinery through eBiz portal. He added that the new industrial policy will create an investor-friendly environment. “Besides Mumbai and Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad and Kohlapur will be included in the special economic zones,” he said.
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