Thursday, July 10, 2008

Indian software exports cross 40-billion-dollar mark

Source : Click

Indian software exports grew 29 percent to cross the 40-billion-dollar mark in the fiscal year just ended despite global economic turmoil, the outsourcing industry's top body said.

"I would request you to focus not just on the number but on the maturity and resilience the industry has shown," Som Mittal, the president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies told reporters Wednesday.

"Never have there been so many uncertainties in the overall world."

IT export growth for the fiscal year ended March 31 was down four percent from the previous fiscal year, with earnings sharply reduced after the rupee gained more than 12 percent against the dollar in 2007, the body has said.

"After what hit us last year -- and I would say hit -- we were very susceptible to the currency," said Mittal, saying last year's slowdown was a wake-up call to the industry.

"If the rupee would always depreciate, we would always make money. But we don't know which way the rupee will go. We need to weed out inefficiencies."

The United States is the biggest market for Indian software and service exports, which are forecast by the industry group NASSCOM to hit 60 billion dollars by 2010.

But the software services industry was able to weather a US economic slowdown down fuelled by a housing loan crisis by diversifying into new areas and growing the domestic Indian market, Mittal added.

Last year the domestic software services market grew by 26 percent to almost 12 billion dollars, taking the industry as a whole past the 50 billion dollar mark.

Software and services revenue is supposed to grow between 21 and 24 percent in the current fiscal year, a decrease NASSCOM's Mittal attributed to the industry's larger base and ongoing global economic uncertainty.

"The first round of growth is always easier," said Mittal. "The next 10 years is going be structurally very different."

Mittal said the industry would need to compete harder by adopting automation and increasing services in other languages in order to continue to post high growth.

Mittal also expressed concern about a talent crunch and said the industry would have to increase its training efforts.

The industry currently employees two million people but Dun and Bradstreet, the US-based provider of financial information, has estimated that the industry would face a shortage of half a million skilled workers by 2009.