Chop shop reference is distressing, says Infosys

Written by Goutam Das | Goutam Das | Bangalore | Updated: Aug 10 2010, 06:44am hrs
Infosys Technologies has reacted strongly to US seantor Charles Schumer's statement that the company is a 'chop shop'. In response to a FE query, Infosys HR chief Mohandas Pai said on Monday, We are distressed with this statement. We play by the rules. Infosys is a good corporate citizen, pays its taxes and is law abiding.

Other captains of India's $60 billion IT industry also reacted to Schumer's rhetoric about Infosys and the industry, calling it unfair and completely uncalled for. Chop shop implies a place where stolen cars are dismantled and its parts sold. CEOs, some of whom did not want to be named, said one should not give too much importance to the statement, that is evidently a political rhetoric, given that the US mid-term elections are due in November.

Infosys Technologies, in a separate statement, said the firm's strategy is to create jobs in every jurisdiction that it works in. We provide a world-class work environment for all our employees in every country and we add significant value to our clients, helping them compete effectively in the global marketplace, the company said. Infosys employs 1,300 citizens and permanent residents in the US and has been working towards hiring over 1,000 additional people over the past few quarters.

Discussing the Border Security Bill, which seeks to fund a $600 million emergency package for strengthening security along the Mexican border by doubling H1B visa fees, senator Schumer had said, The emergency border funds will be paid for by assessing fees on foreign companies known as chop shops that outsource good, high-paying American technology jobs to lower wage, temporary immigrant workers from other countries. These are companies such as Infosys.

Aditya Birla Minacs CEO Deepak Patel said it was pointless to react to such statements. Globalisation is here to stay and if we continue to deliver value, I don't see how it will affect us. We have to take a long-term systemic approach to handling these issues. Nasscom has a role to play in continuing to educate people about the industry, he said.

Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman & CEO, Zensar Technologies, and member of the chairmen's council at Nasscom said the statement was unfortunate and does not reflect any common view in the US about the Indian IT sector. We have to work with the Indian government and other agencies in the US to minimise the impact from such rhetoric, he added. CEOs said Indian firms are creating jobs and competitiveness in the US.