Thursday, March 19, 2009

IT sector sees hope in BJP's vision

Most IT firms opine that the IT Vision of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a good omen for the domestic IT industry which is buckling under the pressure of the global meltdown for the last couple of quarters. The BJP created a flutter in the industry circle when its announced a 30-page IT vision document which includes creation of 12 million IT-enabled jobs for rural India; providing of laptops to 10 million students at Rs 10,000 per piece; immediate implementation of VoIP; protection of domestic hardware manufacturers against imports and promotion in the usage of open source software. The party reportedly consulted the heads of at least 10 top IT companies before finalising the document.

Vinnie Meheta, executive director of MAIT, the body that represents the hardware industry in India, said: “We are glad that somebody has defined their IT agenda very clearly. It’s more gladdening to see that they have touched the hardware sector which has untapped potential to create lot more job opportunities. The announcement is very timely and pertinent as the IT industry needs some succour due to the current economic situation.” “I think the BJP has really done well by including IT in their vision document. Many people feel that the government is facing a huge loss of tax by promoting the IT sector. However, many IT-rich southern states including Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have experienced tax growth of over 40 per cent during the last four years, mainly because of IT. The IT vision of BJP will really come handy for creation of new job opportunities in the IT and ITeS sector in India where we still have a large percentage of unemployed graduates struggling to provide their services for the growth of the country,” said Vivek Kulkarni, the former IT secretary of Karnataka who is now the chairman and CEO of BrickWork India.

Industry body Nasscom also is quite enthusiastic about the inclusion of IT in the manifesto of political parties. “The potential of IT in the creation of job opportunities in India is still enormous and I am delighted that the BJP has come out with a strong vision statement for the IT industry. I won’t be able to comment how it will help them in capturing votes,” Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of Nasscom said. The idustry feels the IT vision document by BJP is ‘very practical’ and can be implemented. “The proposals laid down by BJP in their vision document are very practical, and I see no reason why these can’t be implemented,” says Natarajan who is also the chairman of Pune-based Zensar Technologies. “A great degree of this is achievable provided they implement this in the first year of the new government, if come to power,” says T V Mohandas Pai, Head of Administration and HR, Infosys Technolgies.

Analysts also feel that political parties in India are slowly realising the importance of IT not only for the economy, but also for their poll campaigns. The Congress party which is now heading the UPA government at the Centre had been an active supporter of the IT industry in the past.

Industry body Nasscom has found very good supporters within the Congress party from leaders like Jairam Ramesh, Kamalnath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The fact that every year millions of youths are coming upto the voting age is driving political parties to show a tech-savvy face to such electorate base. Besides, political parties are also realising that technology will play a vital role in delivering good governance to common people and reaching out to the electorate.

Despite the growth in the IT sector, however, political parties in India lag their counterparts in Americas and Europe in the use of IT in election management.


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