US companies can’t ‘survive’ without Indian IT players: Ravi Shankar Prasad

  • PTI, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 23:34 IST
File photo of Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Prasad sought to allay the concerns of Indian software exporters over the visa issue, saying American companies cannot ‘survive’ without India IT players. (Sushil Kumar / HT Photo )

Union information technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday asked software exporters not to get “perturbed” too much by the visa issue for sending professionals into their largest market, the US, saying American companies cannot “survive” without their help.

“Do not be unnecessarily perturbed by the US visa issue. I don’t think American companies can survive without our companies. They cannot,” Prasad told a meeting organised by the industry lobby IMC.

He said concerns surrounding the visa issues have been taken up at the “highest level” and exuded confidence of finding a solution to it.

The minister elaborated that the issue of massively hiking the visa fees apart from restricting the number of IT professionals’ entry into the US, has been raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Barack Obama and he himself has also discussed it with his US counterpart.

Stating that country’s IT industry has clocked exports of $108 billion last fiscal, Prasad said they currently serve a majority of the Fortune 500 companies through their presence in 200 cities spanning 80 countries.

Job losses due to the shift to cheaper alternatives like India have always been a very contentious issue in the US, and the emergence of the ultra-right Donald Trump as the Republican presidential candidate has only heightened fears in the sector.

In the past as well, domestic IT companies have had to lobby hard to ensure that adequate number of IT professionals get the required visas to serve at client locations.

On the IT and cyber security, the minister said there is a strict coordination between the agencies concerned to protect against the scourge of terrorism and specifically the threat posed by groups like the terror group IS which is using the cyberspace very proficiently.

“Extremists and terrorists cannot be allowed to derail the India story by use of information and communication technologies,” he said.

Prasad said skilling the people, law enforcers and legal officers to deal with the challenges in the virtual world is also important and elaborated on the work being done by the government in this regard.

Meanwhile, on Tamil Nadu government’s decision to include IT workers under labour laws, Prasad said companies will have to follow the law of the land.

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