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Trump-wary IT body Nasscom to meet US policy makers soon

 PTI |  2017-01-19 18:46:05.0  |  New Delhi

Trump-wary IT body Nasscom to meet US policy makers soon

Amid widespread concerns over impending policies of Donald Trump, who is set to take charge as US President from Friday, Nasscom is planning a visit to the US in the next few weeks to reach out to American policymakers and lawmakers.

“We will be taking the earliest possible opportunity to meet lawmakers, policymakers and administration in the US.

While specific dates are yet to worked out, we are looking at February-March timeframe for the visit,” Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar told PTI.

He said the IT industry body hopes to highlight and share information with the new US administration on direct jobs created by Indian IT companies in the US, and contribution of Indian IT firms in making the US economy competitive.

He said that according to data available, Indian IT companies have created 4.11 lakh jobs in the US of which 1.5 lakh are direct employment.

Besides job creation, Indian IT industry has also contributed to the US economy in terms of tax payment, social security outgo and CSR activities.

“It’s a whole new administration. Many people coming in may not have had opportunity to look at different dimensions, and the contribution of Indian tech companies,” Chandrashekhar said.

The industry has been arguing that corporate America also needs India’s technology services, given the shortage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

“The fact is that according to US’ own statistics, over one million IT-related jobs will remain unfilled in 2018,” he said. Already battling headwinds of a slowing growth, the USD 150-billion Indian IT industry has been concerned about “creeping” protectionism and negative sentiments in its key markets including the US, which accounts for nearly 60 per cent of its export earnings.

Earlier this month, a Bill targeting H-1B visas was reintroduced in the US Congress, by two lawmakers who said it will help crack down on the work visa abuse.

Donald Trump, who is all set to take over as the 45th US President, is known for his hardline stance on protectionism and anti-immigration.

While the industry has tried putting up a brave front, there are deep concerns about tightening of visa norms that will push up the cost of doing business. They have also been bracing up to mitigate the impact and have ramped up local hiring even though the move will eat into their margins.  Hoping for a “business-friendly administration”, Infosys chief Vishal Sikka says Trump himself is an entrepreneur and a business leader and therefore, he “expects that this will be the case where business and innovation friendly regime.” 

“In the near-term, we do expect there will be changes to the visa policy, H1-B visa policy. As policies take effect we will consider, analyse and understand their impact,” he said. While it’s to early to comment on what will happen but the hope is for a business-friendly atmosphere, he added.

Larger rival, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has also said it is proactively addressing these concerns by making changes to its business model.

“From headwind point of view, I think there will be some visa regulatory changes. There are two possibilities, especially when you look at the US visa. One with regard to the visa fee...The second is a commentary on the number of visas one will get. I think we are addressing both very proactively,” TCS MD said.

Greyhound Research Chief Analyst and CEO Sanchit Gogia said better skilled jobs including coding and maintenance are likely to remain unaffected given their scarce availability and exclusivity.

Also, it’s critical to remember that most US-based companies are deeply invested on Indian IT Service providers and neither they nor the Trump administration is in a position to make drastic changes, he said. 

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