Indiana Senate rejects bid to ban foreign workers
Indiana lawmakers said the bill would affect overseas investment, reports S Rajagopalan.business Updated: Dec 28, 2003 15:02 IST
In a blow to the ongoing campaign to keep foreign workers (read Indians) out of American state contract jobs, an Indiana Senate panel has refused to support a sweeping Bill to limit these jobs to US citizens.
The opposition to the measure was so strong and unexpected that the Bill’s sponsors beat a hasty retreat and decided to come up with a modified proposal rather than risk certain defeat.
At a special hearing on Monday, the majority of lawmakers on the state’s Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology concluded that the Bill was excessive and could have unintended consequences. They felt its passage would send a wrong message at a time when Indiana seeks to attract investment.
“In its current condition, I think it's pretty dead,” Democratic Senator Vi Simpson told the Indianapolis Star while commenting on the status of the Bill brought up by Republican Senator Jeff Drozda.
The Indiana decision against a blanket ban on foreign workers in state contract jobs is regarded as important in the context of pending legislative moves in several American states against outsourcing of similar jobs.
In line with the majority opinion at the Monday hearing, Drozda is expected to come up with a modified Bill in January.
It is, however, unclear if the Senate panel's deliberations hold out any fresh hope for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), whose $15.2 million contract was recently cancelled by Indiana Governor Joe Kernan.
Kernan took the stand that the terms had been designed in such a way as to keep Indiana companies out. At the hearing, two Indianapolis consultants claimed that they could handle a contract of the type awarded to TCS "if given time to join forces with other companies".
The Indiana authorities are still to spell out how they propose to award the work of upgrading the state computers network to process unemployment claims.
It remains to be seen if TCS submits a fresh bid. A senior state official is on record that TCS will not be excluded when new proposals are invited in the coming months.
The contract was cancelled in the face of a campaign that TCS had undercut American companies, thanks to its planned import of 65 low-paid Indian programmers to execute the project alongside just 18 Indiana employees.
•Bill spill: Senate Bill to keep foreign workers out of state jobs falls through
• Close shave: A ban could have activated pending legislative moves in several US states against outsourcing
• Door opens: Indian IT major TCS, whose contract was cancelled recently by Indiana’s governor, can apply afresh