Indian IT exports will grow by 7-8 per cent, unchanged from previous year’s growth, despite protectionist voices in major markets like the US, industry body Nasscom said today. The $156 billion Indian industry — the biggest job creator in the organised sector — is also projected to add 1.3-1.5 lakh new jobs during 2017-18 compared to a net hiring of 1.7 lakh in the previous fiscal. In a first, the industry body had deferred giving the growth forecast in February and had instead postponed the same to April-June quarter.
Speaking to reporters, Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar exuded confidence that the outlook is positive despite the political and economic uncertainties in key overseas markets that may impact client spending. “We expect export revenues to grow by 7-8 per cent, not hugely different from last year (7.5 per cent), notwithstanding the headwinds we talked about (H1-B visa curbs in the US, protectionism and Brexit),” he added.
The domestic infotech industry is expected to grow at faster pace of 10-11 per cent (in dollar terms) in 2017-18. “We definitely see the industry to be net hirer of as many as 1.3 to 1.5 lakh people in the year ahead. This industry continues to be a substantial hirer and a substantial creator of new jobs. At the same time, there is a churn in the industry too,” Chandrashekhar said. He said as the industry is currently driven by the digital revolution, Nasscom has decided to re-skill about 1.5 to 2 million IT professionals to equip them for future requirements.
“Nasscom is working with its partners, members to establish a comprehensive digital platform. You will be hearing about this more during the months ahead. We expect 1.5 to 2 million people amongst the workforce to be re-skilled in the next 4-5 years.” The size of the Indian IT industry is pegged at $154 billion, including $11 billion incremental revenues added in the previous fiscal, according to Nasscom. “Uncertainty impacted the businesses. Whether it is BFSI segment or healthcare, all segments confronted by the uncertainty delayed the decision-making in the quest for stability. That translated into low opportunities for IT industry,” the Nasscom chief explained.
Chandrashekhar, however, was optimistic about growth of the domestic IT industry, backed by some of the Centre’s initiatives such as aiming for one trillion dollar digital economy. Replying to a query, he said the Indian IT industry is all set to move beyond the markets it is heavily dependent on and expand footprints to newer geographies such as Continental Europe, Japan, China and Africa.
The US and the UK account for almost 80 per cent of the country’s IT export revenues. Compared to Nasscom’s guidance of 7-8 per cent growth, Infosys expects its revenues to rise 6.5-8.5 per cent in constant currency (and 6.1-8.1 per cent in USD terms), while Cognizant has guided for 8-10 per cent rise in topline in constant currency terms. Keshab Panda, MD and CEO, L&T Technology Services, said he is confident of double-digit growth.