Protectionism due to incomplete understanding of our role: Nasscom Chairman Raman Roy

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New Delhi | April 5, 2017 11:50 PM

The protectionist stance of some nations is due to "incomplete understanding" of crucial role played by Indian IT players in driving clients' profit and growth, Nasscom's newly appointed Chairman Raman Roy said today.

Nasscom, H-1B, R Chandrashekhar, USCIS, Donald Trump, IT industry, Washington DCNasscom counts IT outsourcing firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro as well as international firms like Accenture, IBM, Cognizant and Microsoft as members. (Twitter)

The protectionist stance of some nations is due to “incomplete understanding” of crucial role played by Indian IT players in driving clients’ profit and growth, Nasscom’s newly appointed Chairman Raman Roy said today. He said all his efforts and outreach would be aimed at bridging this communication gap. The reskilling of people with the advent of digitisation, artificial intelligence and analytics, as well as working on industry issues related to GST implementation will be other priority areas for the new Chairman.

“Companies do it (outsource) because it makes commercial sense, so to say that it makes commercial sense for American companies but not for America …that gap needs to be bridged. We and our customers are on the same page,” Roy told PTI.

Roy, who is the chairman of Quatrro, has been appointed as the chairman of industry body Nasscom for 2017-18.

“Protectionist attitude of some of our customer countries … is based on an incomplete understanding … we are one of the largest recruiters of local talent… we help make companies more profitable and this profitability helps them grow, and that leads to more jobs,” Roy added.

The comments assume significance as over the past few weeks, various steps have been taken by countries like the US to make the visa norms stricter.

Indian firms like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are dependent on visas to send their employees overseas to client sites. However, they have been reducing their dependence on visas and instead ramping up local hiring to meet their requirements.

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The Indian IT sector gets over 80 per cent of its revenues from the US and Europe, while the remaining comes from the Asian and domestic market.

Any change in visa norms in key markets can affect the movement of labour as well as spike operational costs for the IT players.

During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump had promised stricter immigration laws and protection of local jobs. Also, a legislation (Lofgren Bill) in the US was introduced that proposed doubling of the minimum wages of H1-B visa holders to USD 130,000.

Most recently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has come out with a policy memorandum saying companies applying for visas must provide “evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation”.

This would potentially make it difficult for Indian techies to work in the US at entry-level positions.

Nasscom, however, had downplayed the implications saying the move would have “little impact” on Indian IT firms as they have already started applying for visas for higher-level specialised professionals this year.

Nasscom counts IT outsourcing firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro as well as international firms like Accenture, IBM, Cognizant and Microsoft as members.

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