The analytical skills of Indians are finally being recognised from the phenomenal contributions they are making in the area of IT. It is not only the cost but Indian analytical thinking that is attracting some of the world’s largest IT corporations to open research and development centres in India.
But is this enough for India to emerge as a Software Super Power? With chances of other countries replicating our software services model and beating us in terms of costs and skills, we need to work hard to achieve an unassailable position in the world of IT. It will come through innovation and by creation of intellectual wealth measured by the number of registered patents filed in this country. Although the number of patents filed from India is rising in comparison to earlier years, the figure is extremely small, even compared to the number of patents filed in much smaller countries. India, therefore, needs to increase its efforts in proposing new computing paradigms and breakthrough ideas in software engineering and technology which the world will follow.
Today, two types of IT organisations are operating in India. One, the multinationals who are making heavy investments in building up their India Development Centres—IBM, Microsoft, Bell Labs, Oracle, SAP, ComputerAssociates, HP, etc. (A Dataquest survey reveals that 91% of total patents filed out of India are from MNC development centres.) The other group of IT companies (incorporated in India and managed by Indians)—TCS, Wipro, Infosys, HCL, Satyam, etc.—are operating as profit centres by offering software services to global clients.
The present examination system, up to the college level, encourages conventional thinking and even at the engineering college level, most of the institutes do not place great emphasis on practical application of theoretical concepts. The system needs to be revamped.
The professional societies can catalyse the generation of intellectual capital by encouraging formation of student chapters. Travel grants can be given to students to travel abroad, which can be sponsored by IT corporate houses. Professional interactions with experienced professionals will enable students to get an idea about the advanced R&D work being done in different parts of the world and help in shaping their thoughts.
The IT industry has a big role to play and needs sufficient funds for R&D. Indian IT companies have to take on their rolls scientists and academicians of brilliance and nurture their intellectual growth as is being done in India by GE, IBM, etc.
Even if innovative work is done in this country, it will go waste if the ideas are not transformed to marketable products. Presence of technical committees of international standardisation bodies (like ISO, IEEE, SEI, etc.) is extremely important. This undoubtedly requires lot of international networking and lobbying but attempts have to be made. This has to be led by captains of Indian software companies.
The use of Information Technology in governance, management, banking, advertising, entertainment, insurance, education, medical, engineering and industrial fields is increasing day by day.
Indian software services have great demand in the world. Exports of software have earned India foreign currency in a big amount. Investors are attracted to invest in the IT sector. There is a flow of FDI in this sector, giving India the required capital to develop its economy.
Indian Institutes of Information Technology have prepared expert technicians for whom a demand exists in the world market. Software engineers in India have provided services to the whole world.
This progress of the Information Technology sector in India has helped Indian economic growth. Due to this importance of the IT sector, the Union Government is making policies to help it grow by providing infrastructure to it. Favourable and liberal policies have been prepared to attract foreign companies to establish their base in India.
Indian Government has established Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in this direction. From August 15, 2000, the Information Technology Act has been implemented. E-commerce and other services have been given a major boost by this Act. Projects of establishing info-cities are under implementation in Hyderabad, while other such projects are under consideration.
The government can make policies to provide economical benefits to investors in this field. Necessary infrastructure can be provided. Administrative and legal procedural complexities should be reduced and limitations and regulations should be liberalised. Two mighty streams flow through India—the spiritual and the technological. They converge at Bengaluru. When Chinese Premier Mr. Wen Jiabao visited India, his first stop was not the political capital New Delhi but the IT super-hub Bengaluru. He was following in the footsteps of his predecessor Mr. Zhu Rongji who, during his 2002 trip to India, made it a point to visit the Bengaluru headquarters of Infosys, one of the world’s most successful software companies. Addressing a crowd of 4,000 IT professionals, Mr. Zhu delighted those present by promoting the new era in Sino-Indian co-operation. “You are No. 1 in software. We are No. 3 in hardware,” he said. “If we put these together, we are the world’s No 1.” Mr. Zhu was given a standing ovation. This statement encapsulates the emergence of India as a software power in the 21st century. Today, Americans feel threatened with Indian Brains taking up leading positions in their country. India is fast becoming a factory producing world class IT and Software professionals.
India has emerged as a great power and a dynamic nation at the dawn of this century. The year 1985 is said to be the year which is the beginning of the software and IT revolution in India. In this year, India declared its IT Policy under the leadership of the late Rajiv Gandhi. He probably saw computers as a powerful instrument of modernising the country. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, manufactured the first computer in India in 1966. Later on BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) took up the task set forth in motion by TIFR. With the establishment of the Electronic Corporation of India for commercial manufacture of computers in India, a technological renaissance was initiated in India. The IT Policy of 1985 stressed the fact that Electronics and Software would be the answer to the problem of unemployment in the near future with a vast variety of jobs in the two fields. Though the problem of unemployment still stares us in the face due to population explosion, no one can deny the role of computers and computer professionals in the development of India in the present world.
Today, software revolution is at its peak in India. Computers are spreading in the country at a breakneck speed. No one can deny that computers have replaced even the television. Today computers are a common commodity in every home with small children playing games on computers or surfing the Internet. Computers have converted the world into a small cyber-village. A kind of computer consciousness is fast developing amongst the youth of today.
Bengaluru is popularly known as India’s Silicon Valley. Cyber cafes have sprung up all over the city as well as across the nation. The IT Park, comprising three huge tower blocks named Innovator, Creator and Discoverer, and a second Electronics City complex represent the leading edge of India’s information technology revolution. They have helped turn the nation into a “software super power”, in the words of Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Leading software companies, such as Infosys and Wipro Technologies, are among India’s wealthiest private sector concerns, overtaking traditional heavy industries. In the year 2010-11, Infosys made a profit of $402 million, while Wipro earned a net profit of $13.77 billion. Wipro’s founder, Mr. Azim Premji, was one of India’s richest men valued at $16.8 billion, according to the Forbes 2011 list of billionaires. But Mr. Premji still lives in a modest apartment and drives a common man’s car.
Some 250 hi-tech companies are located at Bengaluru. The IT Park, built and owned by a consortium of Singapore businesses as well as the Tatas and the State Government of Karnataka, was officially opened by Singapore’s visiting Prime Minister. It has already been running for two years and houses some 60 of the world’s leading Indian and international software companies.
“This is India’s chance to lead the world,” says Dr. Udo Urbanek, Co-Director of the German-owned SAP Labs, which occupies three floors of Discoverer. SAP is the world’s leading developer of business software for enterprise resource planning with half of the Fortune 500 companies among its clients. It claims 54% of India’s market share and employs 280 Indian engineers in Bengaluru. The company chose India as a software development centre, says Mr. Urbanek, because Indian IT engineers ‘are the best people on earth. People here are very focussed on their careers and self-development’. This is the reason for India’s world-beating success, he believes.
Another reason is the nation’s reputation for excellence in science and mathematics. The Indian Institutes of Technology are world renowned, with all the engineering institutes churning out 1,20,000 engineering graduates a year, and the nation boasts over 3,000 computer training institutes.
India’s software whiz kids have won worldwide acclaim in rectifying the millennium computer bug. They are less prone to mistakes than their western counterparts, especially in writing long and complicated software programmes. And they take advantage of the 24-hour clock: while European and American multinationals sleep, Indian experts fix their software glitches overnight. A third of Mr. Bill Gates’ employees are of Indian origin and up to 50,000 Indian technicians make their way to Silicon Valley each year. The former Chancellor of Germany, Mr. Gerhard Schroeder had appealed for up to 30,000 IT engineers to come from India to bridge Germany’s skill shortage.
Indian politicians are also eager to back the IT revolution. The Central Government gives IT companies tax incentives and has slashed import duties on computer hardware and software, from motherboards to CD-ROMs. The Indian enterprise software market showed broad growth and recovery in 2010 with total software revenue increasing 16.3% annually to total $2.5 billion. In 2010, major Indian software vendors expanded their product portfolios, acquired companies which were appropriate to their plans, and reached deeper into emerging markets. A number of other IT centres are fast developing such as Hyderabad, Gurugram, Noida, Chandigarh, Pune, Delhi, Indore, Kolkata, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
India has successfully developed an indigenous super computer Param-1000 and with it, we have become a software superpower today. The increasing demand of Indian software engineers is a sure signal that even the world accepts India as a software super power to reckon with in the present era.
In conclusion, it can be stated that there is no doubt that in the area of IT, Indians have already proved their capability and can make a world of difference. It matches well with our analytical thinking. We only need to facilitate our young minds to think differently and build an environment conducive to innovation. While our political leaders are talking about India emerging as a Software Super power and our corporate leaders are dreaming about it, lots of work needs to be done for converting this dream into reality. India has acquired a foremost position in the map of the IT world. India’s progress in this sector is quick and influential, providing the economy a boost. Indian service sector, mainly due to IT, has emerged as the engine of economy.