While visa restrictions and business slowdown pose challenges in their traditional strongholds, such US and Europe, upcoming mega government projects seem to offer a degree of comfort for the Indian IT companies.
Indian IT service companies TCS, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and iGate and multinational companies such as IBM, Accenture, HP and Dell are vying for a sizable pie of various e-governance projects, the total cost of which would run into anywhere between Rs 80,000 crore and Rs 1,00,000 crore.
“For Indian IT industry, the government continues to be the major source of business,” said CN Raghupathi, vice-president, India business, Infosys. “With various e-governance initiatives at its nascent stage, the opportunity is enormous.”
“The rollout of Aadhar itself provides a lot of opportunities,” said Apporva Ruparel, head, India business, iGate. “There are 17 categories of direct cash subsidy… to be rolled out in 643 districts. In value terms this would throw up a huge number.”
Apart from Aadhar, various Central and state e-governance projects, such as digitisation of land records, implementation of smart-grids in electricity distribution companies and the computerisation of state treasuries will result in sizable contracts.
Tamil Nadu has finished bidding process for computerisation of its state tax department. Other states including Maharashtra are soon expected to come up with bids. For the smart-grid implementation, eight bids are underway.
All this does not necessarily mean a smooth flow of business for IT companies. "There is a fair degree of unpredictability as these are government projects," said a senior executive, who wished to be not identified.
The government is expected to play a major role in the future of the Indian IT market.
India’s IT market is expected to grow from $10.3 billion (Rs 61,800 crore) in 2012-13 to $13.4 billion (Rs 80,400 crore) this year, and to touch $20 billion (Rs 120,000 crore) by 2020.
Ruparel hopes that iGate’s India revenue would grow three-fold this year.
“The government is looking to leverage IT to improve citizen services, efficiency and lower the total cost of operations,” said Dhamodaran Ramakrishnan, director, IBM Smarter Planet Solution. IBM is involved in providing technology for traffic management, smart grids, water systems, health care, and currency risk management, he said.
"India is at a nascent stage of utilising the power of IT," said Ravi Bharadwaj, executive director, Dell India.