The Indian IT industry will have to step up on innovation amid challenges like need for new products, digital disruption and shrinking manpower requirements triggered by software automation, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Saturday.
“...challenges will come in the short and intermediate term from the industry’s shift such as cloud computing, evolution in software as a service model, need to develop new products, digital disruption and shrinking manpower needs because of software automation,” Ansari said while inaugurating the new headquarters of software association Nasscom.
Asking the Indian IT industry to be “more innovative”, Ansari said that clients will increasingly look for “innovation partners rather than software partners”. “Even with the growth trajectory so well charted, Nasscom President himself has admitted that below the calm waters, there is a lot of churn happening, and companies will have to do a lot of things to address the challenges as well,” he said.
Lauding the role of IT sector, he said that it has been a major contributor to India’s growth story in the last 25 years by way of an improved brand image, creating employment, contributing to GDP growth, creating avenues in technology education and contributing to egovernance.
“...the IT industry pioneers in india had a tough beginning having to battle against ignorance, inadequate infrastructure, lack of skilled manpower, the general public fear of losing jobs because of computers and almost no government support,” he said.
Alluding to IT doyen N R Narayana Murthy’s earlier observation that there had been no earth-shaking innovation from India in the last 60 years, Ansari said the matter called for a “serious soul searching” on why India lagged behind many others.
Citing the Global Innovation Index 2016 - where India was ranked 66 out of 128 countries, behind China, Russia and South Africa, Ansari said that one of the reasons for this is an education system seeped in training implementors and not thinkers.
Other factors included significant lack of appetite for taking risks as families and educational institues have a ‘play safe’ attitude, lack of start up funding environment, and slow pace and inefficiencies of legal systems that act a deterrent to innovative spirit.
Ansari said that Professor Tarun Khanna (who headed the expert committee on innovation and entrepreneurship under the Atal Innovation Mission) had recommended a three-tier approach and dovetailing it with National Skills Development Programme.
This included short-term incentive-based approach to redress some of the issues, intermediate approach to correct imbalances in education, skilling initiative, infrastructure and business environment and a long-term approach to create culture and attitude needed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The task for Nasscom is cut out. It must continue helping IT to innovate, foster next-generation of startups that will create the next TCS, Infosys and Wipro, help empower billions of Indians who stand at the edge of digital revolution and continue its work with Government to design norms that are responsive and adaptive,” Ansari added.
Nasscom’s new campus has been designed to accommodate all verticals including Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Sector Skill Council (SSC) and Nasscom Foundation.
The premises will also house a Nasscom 10,000 start-ups warehouse to provide budding entrepreneurs a micro-ecosystem to work together as well as share knowledge and best practices with each other.
In 2013, Nasscom had announced plans to shift its headquarters to Noida, post which the construction had commenced.