New Delhi Never Handles Anything Well

Updated: Feb 6 2004, 05:30am hrs
Bush should have rejected the Bill (to curb outsourcing of government contracts) and stood up for what the US has talked of for years Globalisation. Nasscoms Kiran Karnik is surely on top of things! I believe that the US isnt out to hurt us at all. All that its doing is safeguarding its own interests even though this might be contrary to globalisation. As of now government contracts outsourced to Indian companies only form 2 per cent of our outsourcing industry. However, this would be a negative precedent for our industry as a whole. I find it difficult to say whether New Delhi is handling this well. H1 visas have been slashed. The Republicans are known to be conservative. I read that New Delhi has taken action and Arun Shourie has written to the American embassy. Also, the Indian Embassy in Washington DC has taken up the issue. Well, there isnt much more that Indian companies can do exc-ept sign contractual agreements with the US clients where the termination clause is explicit.
Raghav Jaggi
EXL Service Auditor

My future - or outsourcing really doesnt get deeply impacted by these steps. The US is a capitalist economy and it cant afford to ignore the benefits of offshoring. The real trouble for outsourcing will be internal - managing ramp-ups, quality of service and moving up the value chain. New Delhi seems to be handling things well. But Bush should have rejected the bill. Meanwhile, Indian companies need to go up the value chain while maintaining competitive advantage - quality at a lower cost.
Saif Ali Khan
EXL Service Asst Manager

New Delhi never handles anything well. The same goes for this Bill too. Though America has nothing against us but Bush should certainly have rejected the Bill. This Bill is only limited to the US government work and this too shall pass. Indian companies should keep working towards the huge opportunity, which is still untapped.
Sailesh Singh
EXL Service Executive

This game is in the hands of US corporates. They will decide the future of this industry in India. Nasscom must be doing their two bits to voice against the Bill. Bushs political pressures will decide this for him. Whats strange is how the free markets stalwart is twisting under the pain of its own medicine. Anyway, each country has its own sets of political pressures. America is no different. It is highly unlikely if the worlds largest corporations would defy the laws of economics and actually fall for patriotism. With their current cost structures becoming more and more unsustainable, they need to take a long term decision between long term viability and world economy on the one hand and chaos and bankruptcies on the other. The BPO industry has been big and booming much before it came to India. Question is, will it do well in India Well, New Delhi seems to have shown its distaste for the recent legislations. But that doesnt mean anything. India has proved its mettle at becoming a destination of choice for BPO. The Indian BPO industry is coming up in a very strong manner and our top twenty have managed to build high visibility along with aggressive marketing. Other than aggressively selling themselves to the American corporations, there is little that they can do towards this struggle against the backlash/legislations. The decision is in the hands of the multinationals and therefore they are the ones who need to be sold out on this concept.
Anand Vermani
EXL Service manager

America isnt out to hurt us. This Bill wont impact my future. My future is secured and I have other options ready. The Bill is not at all crucial. Indian companies have enough to handle and they neednt worry.
Jatin Chawla
StanChart Customer Asst

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Chief Editor
I dont think Bush or the US are out to hurt us by banning outsourcing. But certain individuals may be up against us. Thankfully, in the US it is business sense that rules. As long as it makes business sense, companies would be in favour of outsourcing. So, I do not feel threatened by this move. I feel Bush should have rejected the Bill. I have come to know that he had outsourced his campaign to a certain Indian company in Gurgaon! This company was making calls to the US clients for raising funding for Mr Bushs election campaign. Indian companies, on their part, should just keep up the good work theyve been doing. They should keep a tab on quality. Because, even if we get competition from China or other emerging BPO destinations, good quality of services would come to our rescue. This is a passing phase. Outsourcing was started by private companies. The government followed. It may restrict outsourcing to government jobs, but private companies would continue. I am confident that the US government would also ultimately come back to us. I feel New Delhi is handling the issue well. They should just keep away from the industry!
Chandrahas Josyula
Dy Manager Ops,Daksh

The difficult phase will pass. I hardly see a lasting impact on the industry. Nasscom on its part isnt exactly on top of things. Kiran Karnik is currently the only person who is driving the industry body. Nasscom needs active involvement of the member companies. This is currently lacking. Of course, it has the backing of the government. But thats not whats needed. Active involvement and backing of the private sector companies is whats more important. Bush should have rejected the Bill. But its election time, remember! On their part, the Indian companies should just continue doing the good job and everything will fall in place automatically.
Vikas Sharma,
RT Outsourcing Services

Action from the US would certainly affect me. Specially because the Indian economy is booming and much of the business comes from them. However, there should not be any major impact since the US companies also need to outsource and India has emerged as a major force due to our underlying strength. We have adapted well and have a good understanding of the Industry. We have been doing well and making business sense for the US companies. Over 100 US companies have already given business to India. I dont thing the current move is serious. It is a passing phase as outsourcing is very, very profitable for US companies. In fact, many of the biggies have already invested heavily in India. I feel the ban wont have much impact on my job prospects or future. Bush should have rejected the Bill. He knows that it is in their interest as the US economy can grow only by using the resources from developing countries like India. New Delhi needs to push its interests. We should lobby strongly as outsourcing is mutually beneficial for both countries. After all, this industry has given employment to so many and has contributed to the growth of both countries. Companies in India should work out their strategy in consultation with their clients.
Ranjit Nayar
Vertex

I think the US is only protecting itself and not as such trying to hurt us. They are trying to curtail the job flight from the US and give more employment to their own people. But I dont think this ban is bad for my future. Even if the industry is going to close down tomorrow, by working in this industry we have been able to learn a lot and can easily make a shift. We dont know about the long term. Nothing remains unchanged. Though I have low knowledge about the government and the steps it is taking, I feel that the government isnt doing as much to protect an industry as they should.One thing for sure: the companies should update their employees as to the latest dev-elopments in the industry, the steps that are being taken, wh-at the government is doing, etc.
Manju Sharma
Team Leader,Intellicom Contact Centre

Restrictions on outsourcing would certainly affect the companies which are shops for third-party stuff and back offices. The US is a big client and any negative news on that front would be definitely affect Indian companies. Im planning to change to a different industry! This industry may provide you the money but there is no long term financial security and you dont get the knowledge or exposure to shift. Also the industry faces high business risk as we are depending on outsourced work from the US. A software to handle these jobs can take away the business from the industry. What happened to medical transcriptions At one time we had so many such companies cropping up but where are they now I dont think New Delhi is doing much. Nasscom cant do anything either if there is a political will in US to stop outsourcing. The nature of the industry is such that we are heavily dependent on them. Nasscom certainly cant generate jobs! Why should Bush have rejected the Bill He cant allow the flight of jobs from his country. Indian companies cant do anything as they are dependent on foreign clients. Like in case of medical transcription, we suddenly get everyone rushing to open BPO outfits and in the end the quality suffers.
Bhaskar Varshney
Hewitt Associates

I really dont forsee much of an impact. The Bills being spoken about pertain to jobs being outsourced by the government. They leave Indian companies in a relatively safer position. Private companies like Dell for instance wont be affected. So, I cant say that the US is out to get us. Is this industry headed for trouble Well, if you ask me this industry will be (around) in the next 5-6 years, with China as its only competitor. A call centre is looked upon as a part-time profession in the US. Its not like that here in India. People look at it as a full fledged career. Where else would you find 10-12 hours devoted specifically for this purpose So how can it be headed for trouble Is Nasscom on top of things Yes, they are.
Mitra Wani
mitrawani@yahoo.co.in

Is America out to hurt us No. Does the ban cloud my future No. This too shall pass Yes. Is New Delhi handling it well Yes. India should make noises against what is happening - basically that the US is putting curbs on a free market. The government should also focus on building competencies within the country, so that eventually, the knowledge base becomes the reason why work comes to India, rather than cost. Should Bush have rejected the Bill He would be a fool if he did. As the president of America, his first priority should be American interests. What do I want Indian companies to do 1) Focus on building competencies rather than focussing on lowering cost. Lowering the cost, alone, in the long run, is not sustainable, as sooner or later, there will be countries that can beat us in doing things at a lower cost. 2) Companies need to focus on the high risk high profit product market, rather than the low risk, low profit services market.
Madan Srinivas
Texas Instruments, India madans@ti.com

Inputs anchored by Prachi Verma and Nitin Mathur in New Delhi and .in Mumbai by Sibabrata Das & Kavita Nair