IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today dismissed reports of large-scale job losses at Indian IT firms, calling them “motivated”. “There has been a lot of debate, and by any standards of economy, this talk of job decline in the IT sector is motivated,” Prasad said after a meeting with the captains of the Indian tech sector. He noted that the IT sector has been India’s largest employer, employing 40 lakh people directly. “You know by any standard scrutiny, the way Indian digital economy is rising, the question of slackness in jobs is absolutely factually incorrect. Obviously, those who don’t perform, will have to go. This annual tripping in case of any institution is natural,” Prasad said. He cited examples of Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys who have clarified that companies continue to hire, and people who were asked to leave were told to do so for lack of performance.
Tech Mahindra chief CP Gurnani said employees need to re-skill themselves in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and Blockchain as these technologies offer newer avenues of growth. “We need to re-skill and re-purpose ourselves. We have a list of different skills, where we need people… If you re- skill yourself in blockchain or AI, there is no shortage of jobs globally,” he said. Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan said that there is no job loss in the country. Instead, the growth has slowed down which is adversely impacting new hiring.
“Growth has slowed down but data shows every large company is hiring net. TCS and Infosys are hiring over 20,000 more people each. I don’t believe there is job cut. Yes, growth has come down. Recruitments from colleges have also slowed becuase the industry has slowed down. Otherwise, there are no job losses that I can see,” Gopalakrishnan said. He added that global economy has slowed down and there are uncertainities in the horizon.
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“Visa regime in several countries have tightened becuase they have issues of job losses. The base itself is every large. On that base, growth of 6 per cent is itself very large,” Gopalakrishnan said. There have been reports of layoffs across companies like Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant and Tech Mahindra that have initiated annual performance reviews, a process that weeds out bottom performers or non-performers.
This has compounded fears that thousands of employees in the sector could be shown the door over the next few weeks. The IT sector is already battling challenges in business environment and stricter work permit regime in countries like the US, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Various employee unions have approached labour commissioners and state governments to intervene in the matter.