For all their worth, three phrases, at this point in time, have captured the imagination of the Indian citizen: Assembly Elections, US President Donald Trump and Jallikattu. While the Assembly elections are bound to determine the political outcome in the country in the next few years, the other two are going to affect the country in many other ways.
A country as vast and diverse as India tends to be mired in various problems at any given point of time, but there are some issues which gather the highest amount of attention because of the sheer nature of its capacity to influence the future and the political upheaval that they cause. For all their worth, three phrases, at this point in time, have captured the imagination of the Indian citizen: Assembly Elections, US President Donald Trump and Jallikattu. While the Assembly elections are bound to determine the political outcome in the country in the next few years, the other two are going to affect the country in many other ways.
While the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American-hire American’ campaign has put the IT industry in India on a seriously ambiguous future, it remains to be seen how his policies regarding outsourcing and production will affect the movement of technology trade in the country. Closer home, Bangalore and Chennai, two cities which are considered as the technology hubs in our nation, have found themselves amidst different kinds of violent and criminal incidents, which can hamper their image among world investors. During the protests against the ban on a 2000-year-old sport, Chennai also witnessed active participation from educational institutions and IT parks. The tech community is usually considered aloof from participation in social uprisings and issues, but this time there have been no inhibitions as more and more professionals have participated standing alongside other protesters who have been speaking against PETA which has put up a legal battle for the ban. Employees from companies like TCS, Cognizant and the likes have been standing shoulder to shoulder with other people on the streets demanding the central government’s attention. While, there is nothing wrong in protesting or supporting any issue, the fact that people have taken days offs, and the resultant violence on the streets can affect the image of these areas among multinationals or other ventures.
India believes that with a presence in more than 80 countries, our IT industry also adds a big value to the US market. Our companies have provided employment to a lot of Americans as well, apart from paying billions of dollars in taxes. Indian IT industry accounts for considerably more than half of the exports in the US, which means that it is highly unlikely that the Trump administration will take some drastically different step which can hamper the Indian industry. While there is still an equivocacy on which way it will go, in a way we must also look at the picture we are presenting. Bangalore, which inarguably is the centre of the Indian IT industry has, for some time, been embroiled in different kinds of violence. From the Cauvery issue to the mass molestation case, people have taken to the streets as a form of protest. Bangalore, in September, witnesses heavy rounds of mob vandalism, buses on fire and an imposed curfew regarding the Supreme Court’s order of the water released from the Cauvery river. While the pros and cons of such protests can always be debated, we must understand that an investor sitting in a foreign land, has little idea of the situation, which makes the image of people on the streets all the more dangerous.
While, the Indian IT industry was unnerved by Trump’s America First pledge, which formed the basis of his inaugural speech, especially since it means a setback for job creation and higher taxation. This was reflected when our information technology stocks fell amidst slightly positive wider markets, on concerns that the new US President’s protectionist policies will hurt Indian services exporters. But, what the incidents in Chennai and Bangalore do, is that they risk impeding the perception of the country which in turn is bound to affect the Make in India programme as well, apart from the general investments for which the IT industry in known for.