India optimistic about outsourcing despite financial crisis

India optimistic about outsourcing despite financial crisis

With America's economy in crisis, it would seem that India has a lot to worry about. The country's annual revenues from outsourcing exceed US$40 billion, and a downturn in the U.S. economy could damage India's outsourcing industry.

But at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi this week, Indian officials and corporate executives remained optimistic about the future of outsourcing.

Montek Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission, predicted that India's economic growth for 2008-2009 will be between seven and nine percent. That's good for the country, Ahluwalia said in a press release.

"Even if you take growth at 7%, it is 2% less than what we have had but still higher than what we had four years ago," he said in the statement. "This is not an Indian crisis. We are being impacted by a global crisis."

Indian media has also written a great deal about President-elect Obama's stance on outsourcing. One quote in particular has been repeatedly cited by Indian newspapers as an anti-outsourcing sentiment. During a debate with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) during the primaries, Obama said, "We have to stop providing tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States of America."

However, Indian officials remain optimistic -- at least in public -- about the country's outsourcing future.

"Barack Obama's plans to cut down on outsourcing does not pose a threat to the Indian IT-BPO [business process outsourcing] industry," said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of the National Association of Software and Service Companies, in an article in the International Business Times. "Our expertise in several areas of outsourcing will always attract new projects from the US."

Infosys, one of India's outsourcing titans, is predicting a 13-15 percent growth next year, according to the Financial Times. The company has no plans to scale back, and is committed to keeping the 25,000 new hires it made this year, adding to its workforce of 100,000, said S. Gopalakrishnan, the chief executive officer of Infosys in the Financial Times report.

Still, he admitted that times were tough. This downturn is far worse than the 2001 dot-com bubble burst, he told the Times.

"It is different, it is probably worse. It is not restricted to one segment or one sector or one region," he said in the article. "It impacts all sectors and the uncertainty is prolonged."

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