US business advocacy group says disruption in India’s BPO would impact FDI

By: |
March 20, 2020 1:15 PM

The USISPF president applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his global leadership role in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

India's BPO industry, negative impact on FDI, Janata curfew. coronavirus impact on economy, Indo-US relationsThe annual revenue of India’s BPO industry is said to over $10 billion.

A disruption in India’s BPO industry, which provides critical customer and technical support to US’ health and emergency services, would have a negative impact on FDI, an India-centric US business advocacy group has said.

As India moves towards “Janata curfew” in view of the coronavirus crisis and other similar measures like work from home or stay at home at mass level, the US-based business advocacy group insisted that there is a need to look into the provision of providing some kind of exemption to those call centres and services in India that are providing crucial support to America’s critical cell centres.

Such a disruption would have an impact on future investment in India and a messaging that these services should be brought back to the United States, Mukesh Aghi, president of US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, told PTI.

The annual revenue of India’s BPO industry is said to over $10 billion and gives employment to hundreds and thousands of youths.

“The economies are so interlinked now that you have to have some kind of a policy where all countries supporting each other. For example, India provides almost 30 per cent of the generic (medicine) to the US and they should not get impacted.

“Now the challenge India has is that a large chunk of API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) comes from China. So, it’s a complex issue and that has to be worked out within India, the US and China to make sure that critical drugs are being supplied, which are being made in India from raw material coming from China,” Aghi said.

The USISPF president applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his global leadership role in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

“Basically, India has taken the leadership approach on trying to put certain guidelines,” he said, praising Modi’s clarion call to the citizens to help him combat coronavirus.

He described “Janata curfew” a very positive thing.

“While the interest in India continues, the current turmoil is having companies focus more on the domestic side to make sure that the employees are safe, their customers are engaged,” he said, adding that as a result lot of investments for the time being are being parked aside.

“You have to also understand (that) when you do a kind of a Janata curfew in India and Prime Minister said give me two weeks of your time… and you have a large BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry which is supporting health industry in the US… hospitals, emergency centres… that we need to figure out how to handle that,” he said.

“Because if you don’t, then they are not able to provide those services then it has an impact on future investment and a messaging that these urgent services should be brought back to the US,” Aghi said.

Responding to a question, Aghi said: “What needs to be looked at this is what are the important services… police services, fire services in the US from India… and there has to be some kind of exception made to these workers, while protecting them to ensure that those services are not impacted in the US just like we’re trying to ensure that don’t get them back in India also”.

India earns billions of dollars in foreign exchange annually from the US in this sector in addition to more than 100,000 in employment.

The ask from American businesses, Aghi said, is while the US companies applaud the leadership of the prime minister who is actively appealing for ‘Janata curfew’ which is a good example for the US to follow, New Delhi also needs to look at the export services from India into the US in the critical areas such as hospitals, fire station, police station and emergency services.

Police and fire services have IT support from India.

Commenting on Prime Minister’s address to the nation, Aghi said his approach was more of an appeal.

“He said this is a citizen and government partnership to defeat a virus for which we have no medical solution. He focused a lot on sense of solidarity. He gave a clarion call to all citizens to be one as a nation, one as a community and make sure we are able to defeat this virus itself.

“It was a very well-crafted appeal. It was playing to the hearts of the citizen. There was no politics behind it. It was about consideration about the health of the country. And I applaud the effort initiative by the prime minister,” Aghi added.

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