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Obamanomics raises hopes

Obama and outsourcing are seen by many as opposing interests that could threaten India’s $63 billion IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, but experts reading the details say the fears may be misplaced, reports Manoj Gairola.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2008 20:38 IST
Manoj Gairola

Is the Big O opposed to the other Big O?

Obama and outsourcing are seen by many as opposing interests that could threaten India’s $63 billion IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, but experts reading the details say the fears may be misplaced – or at least overplayed.

Obama’s statement supporting an increase in H1B visas is seen as a support to outsourcing, though he did speak about the issue of jobs lost to offshore firms in February. But that is seen mainly focusing on manufacturing jobs from places like Michigan going to China and South-East Asia.

“A comment here, a comment there about outsourcing should not bother us,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. “Once he is in office, he will realise that in this interconnected world countries have to work together.”

Obama has spoken of ending tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas, not any direct protectionist measure. In fact, in IT and technology, USA is facing shortage of skilled people. That is where India can fit in USA’s fight against economic slowdown. “We support expanding the H1B visa program so that highly skilled workers can help companies lead the way on innovation and contribute additional jobs and economic growth in the United States,” said Som Mittal, president of software associations NASSCOM.

“His first priority will be to tackle economic meltdown. I believe India can help in it,” said Raman Roy, chairman of BPO startup Quatrro.