I Dont Think George Bush Is Intentionally Out To Hurt Us

Updated: Feb 5 2004, 05:30am hrs
The US announced that the ban on outsourcing is a temporary one. However, the Indian government and NASSCOM shouldnt be lethargic. If they are it may lead to severe impact on my industry. The immediate initiatives by both New Delhi and NASSCOM are positive. The US move has been initiated keeping in mind their Presidential elections due this year. All said this move will also impact the US severely.
S Rajesh and Prabakar
Customer Support Services, Web Help Global Services, Hyderabad

Its time now for Indian companies to gear up. We must explain to the Federal government and companies in the US that the Americans are benefited more than even Indian companies. The proposed US decision may be a temporary phenomenon. However, they cant neglect a country like India, which offers high quality, cost-effective and 24/7 customer support services. India too is for elections in the next few months. Hope our government as well NASSCOM will act more than what they have done so far. Having said that India has shown the potential (of outsourcing) to the whole world. It is now up to the US to decided to go ahead or lose out on the advantage.
Raj Sekhar
Agent, Tracemail, Hyderabad

The move wont hurt India any longer. But as NASSCOM has said, though the Federal governments outsourcing is minimal, we cant be negligent to (nuances of) globalisation and competition across the world. It is a matter of fact that the job loss in that country calls for serious initiative from the US government. But when it comes to benefit, Bush should (have) reject(ed) the Bill and to look for alternate methods. He shouldnt have been party to protectionism. Its a open world and protectionism wont last.
P Srinivas
Tech Support Services,
Northgate BPO Services, Hyderabad

I quote writer and filmmaker Michael Moore: At least Saddam Hussein got a free dental check up which most Americans dont get. So they must be jealous about him. The US economy isnt in good shape. Their workers are getting layoff notices in the semi-skilled job segment. Their companies are outsourcing front desk jobs to countries like India. This is an election year. So, all said Bush has no choice but to put a brake on outsourcing.. I dont think he is intentionally out to hurt us. It is simply an internal compulsion. At present this is limited to one set of jobs. This may not hurt us much as the number of outsourced government jobs is still small. If large US-based corporates are forced to follow, then it could jeopardise the career of a large section of us in the call centre business.

I dont think New Delhi is doing enough to put pressure on Washington. As a developing country we should point out that there cant be one rule for us and another for the US. If the US wants to get access to our economy, it should also open up its borders with no regulatory barriers.
Aparajita Hait
Former call centre employee,
Vishnu Solutions

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Bush should come out from his Texan cow boy image of a brash and adventurous man who has little understanding about economic reality. It is no charity Bush is doing by outsourcing jobs to India. It is simply an economic compulsion of cutting cost and making the services cheaper. The backlash from the US workers is expected. What we didnt expect is that a government which takes pride in its free market policy suddenly became inward-looking. This will ultimately harm the (US) economy. The US cant hurt us. Ours is a growing economy with a high level of tech and communication skills. We are one of the few countries where Fortune 500 companies can come and offload their jobs. As the Americans are looking inwards, we should now look outwards. This is an opportunity for us to conquer the US markets with our proven skills in sectors like biotech and IT. New Delhi should help the brave Indian companies to become multinational.
Priya Paul (Name Changed)
Call centre employee (MNC bank)

The US has started outsourcing jobs to us only recently. If it decides to do otherwise, can we do anything I think we cant. Rather we should look elsewhere like fighting Bush and his country in the World Trade Organisation. Our attitude should be: Im mature enough to look after my interests, dont ever forget that. We should teach Bushs US that it is in the interest of the US economy that outsourcing is necessary. Anything else will hurt the US, not our economy. New Delhis role should be to create the necessary confidence and efficiency in the economy and have aggressive policies for the India Inc, forcing them to go out and test foreign waters. This will make us a part of the global economy.
Madhulina Ghosh
Call centre employee in a telecom service provider

The backlash wont really affect me in any big way. Nothing can shake this industry for another 15 years. These guys (the US companies) have already pumped in millions of dollars here. They cant afford to stop outsourcing to India. Moreover, if the jobs being outsourced to India were to return to the US, the economy there wont be able to sustain the jobs. The US cant afford to stretch this (the backlash) beyond where it is right now. I think Nasscom and New Delhi are doing the right things now. We are in the right track.
Anoop Pillai
24/7 Customer.com, Bangalore

This kind of backlash was bound to happen. With so many jobs being done out of India, I understood that some day the Americans would react. I think we are in a big soup. Especially because this industry employs a lot of students and youngsters. This is bread and butter for a lot of people who have no other means of livelihood. The backlash will definitely work against us. I hope the Indian government, NASSCOM and the US (government and industry) will do something to sort things out.
Devyani Bhattacharya
24/7 customer.com, Bangalore

It is very natural that the US feels hurt with jobs moving out of their country. But in todays globalised economy they should be ready to accept it. They should accept our services the same way we are accepting their products. I feel with elections in the US they would try to bring (more) legislation to curb outsourcing. As an employee with a BPO firm Im worried about my future in the case of situation getting worse. Our experience is only from the call centre, so any future job opportunity would have to be in the related field. Delhi is doing enough, I feel. The only alternative is for both parties (US and India) to sit together and coming up with a win-win solution.
Prakash
HP-Digital, Bangalore

This shouldnt have happened. The BPO sector in India provides employment for thousands of people. It is an answer to our unemployment problems. It is also a boost to the Indian economy. However, I feel this would pass. Indian companies shou-ld spend more money on quality improvement and training to offer a worldclass service.
Pankaj Singh (Name changed)
HP-Digital, Bangalore

Bush is not trying to hurt the Indian economy through the ban on outsourcing of government contracts. The issue is very simple. The (US) economy is stagnant and companies there are trying to improve their bottomline by outsourcing operations. However, at the same time, unemployment is growing. This is creating a lot of bitter feeling towards outsourcing. The lack of jobs is being attributed to the growing trend of outsourcing to cheaper economies. This has led to this current backlash. Our companys focus is on the US market. Im not worried about my future since the ban is limited to government contracts. We cater to a totally different segment. I think this backlash will pass. In the long run the US economy will improve, the situation will neutralise and the backlash will come to a halt. Eventually every company in the US will look at improving their bottomline through outsourcing. NASSCOM is taking a lot of initiatives towards sensitising various countries and companies on the benefits of outsourcing. It has brought the BPO companies together to tackle this issue.
Simrat Singh
Ajuba Solutions India Healthcare BPO, Chennai

The ban is targeted at the forthcoming elections in the US. Its a populist measure which the US political leaders are trying to use to garner votes. The fact that unemployment has risen in the US has nothing to do with outsourcing by US companies. Anyway, the ban as of now is limited to government contracts. I really dont think it is a sinister move on the part of the US government. Right now the ban is restricted to outsourcing of government contracts. Whether this will be extended to other sectors is something that Im not sure. Im concerned though. The central government doesnt seem to be giving importance to this issue. It has not yet grasped the full implications of the ban. The BPO industry is relatively new. We are not clear on how best we can make use of this industry in terms of generating employment for the country. There are other issues like quality. For instance Dell is planning to take back its outsourcing work because of quality issues. Government has to step in here. It has to streamline the education pattern which might help in improving the quality of the BPO industry. Our industry has to be organised. In the interest of the US and its companies, Bush should have rejected the bill. At this stage, our companies should join NASSCOM in sensitising US companies on the benefits of outsourcing. Even earlier, when there was outsourcing of automobile work, there were similar protests there. What our government and companies have to do is justify outsourcing to cheaper economies like India and the Philippines.
P K Prasad
Ajuba Solutions India

I dont think Bush is trying to hurt us. There arent many Indian companies who deal with government contracts. A very small percentage of our BPO companies are affected by this bill. Im not worried about my future. Anyways there is a lot of lobbying even within the US to recall this Bill. I dont think it is going to affect any of us in the BPO industry. In the short term, outsourcing might result in a loss of jobs. But in the long term, it is the US economy which will benefit. And then there is also the issue of quality. There are companies within the US which believe that outsourcing to countries like India results in low quality work. Which is not true actually. Therefore, there are people lobbying against outsourcing on both these counts. Bush should look at the positive impact of outsourcing. I think there should be a lot of education on the benefits of outsourcing.
Smitha Venkatraman
Ajuba Solutions India

Inputs anchored by Ravichandran in Hyderabad, Indranil Chakraborty in Kolkata, Shabana Hussain in Chennai and Reema Jose & Kavitha Alexis in Bangalore

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