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'India must tap global demography'

With a right blend of IT, biotech and pharma, India could be the key destination for KPO, EPO and BPO.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 11:33 IST

India must tap the vast potential being created by the changing global demography where the developed world faces ageing population and younger workforce is coming from developing nations, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Wednesday.

"With the greying of populations in the developed world, the workforce, not just labour, but also skilled and technologically qualified manpower, will come from developing countries," the minister told students of global trade policy here.

"This is an opportunity for India that in 10 years will have a workforce larger than even China's," Kamal Nath told the 40th annual convocation of the commerce ministry-promoted Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

"With a right blend of IT, biotech and pharma manufacturing, India could be the key destination for knowledge process outsourcing and engineering outsourcing, along with business process outsourcing (BPO)," Kamal Nath added.

The minister said India was becoming a major global trader with its merchandise exports touching $100 billion last year, up from $63 billion in 2004 - a growth of about 26 per cent.

"Our total economic engagement with the world today, including imports, tops 350 billion dollars that reflects our growing significance in international trade," he said, adding that there were fresh challenges to sustain the momentum.

He said the developed world was creating subtle non-tariff barriers to trade in the subtle guise of addressing health, environment or social concerns that countries like India must fight against.

The minister, however, assured that the country's primary concerns and interests had been addressed at the Hong Kong meeting of the World Trade Organisation with enough space for future negotiations.

"Government will continue to engage various stakeholders in each of the areas to ensure the best result which will fully protects our farmers, industry, and our overall national interests," he added.

According to institute officials, campus placement has been good this year with not only the entire batch being recruited but also walking away with an average annual domestic salary of Rs 810,000 ($18,500).

There was also a record high domestic salary offer of Rs 1.05 million per annum and an international salary of $100,000, with several firms in pharmaceuticals, banking, consumer goods, IT and trading participating in the recruitment drive.

The institute's director, Prabir Sengupta, said the Kolkata campus would start functioning from July this year with a business administration programme at the master's level.