by New Delphi, October 29
Information Technology (IT) outsourcing issue will be high on the agenda of issues to be discussed during US President Barack Obama’s visit to India next weekend. External affairs minister SM Krishna and commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma had earlier said that the issue would be raised during the US President’s visit, the same views were expressed by Union Minister of State for IT and Communication Sachin Pilot yesterday.
The issue could become one of the most hotly-debated ones as even the representatives of the Indian IT industry are waiting to get an audience with the US President to forward their views on outsourcing of IT services and the recent hike in US visa fee for the IT software professionals.
Over 60 per cent of the country’s IT exports are to the US and the recent moves by the administration have come as warning bells for the industry. The US recently hiked H-1B and L1 visa fees for foreign companies, particularly outsourcing giants from India, a controversial step that could cost India’s IT industry $200 million a year.
In August this year, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland of the Democratic Party banned outsourcing, saying this undermined economic development and had unacceptable business consequences for his state.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Bangalore yesterday Pilot assured the IT industry representatives that while the issue had been raised with the US administration earlier, it would again be raised during the Obama visit.
Experts are of the view that that most of the job losses in the US were not arising because of outsourcing IT services to India . They were as a result of other sectors such as construction, retail, which were moving to online shops, and the rest of manufacturing moving out of the country.
They point out that the Indian IT-BPO industry was creating jobs not only in India , but also in Europe and America , where large number of local people were employed.
The government had earlier conveyed serious concern over the issue to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk, who co-chairs the Forum with Commerce and Industry minister.