The possible reworking of the US H-1B visa system is not the only threat to India’s information technology sector. The rapid evolution of digital technology, the shift in the nature of IT work this is causing and the mismatch between those demands and the capabilities of India’s IT sector have been apparent for a while. The latest warnings come from industry body Nasscom and the chief of Capgemini India, the domestic arm of the French IT company.
The upshot of what they are saying is this: the challenge before the IT sector of keeping pace with technological change is substantial, and the major hurdle is manpower. There are two problems: the industry is not investing enough in retraining and upgrading employees’ skills and India’s higher education system, for all the workers it feeds to the IT industry, fails in ensuring the quality necessary for the sector to do cutting-edge work. These speak to a short-termism that will not serve the industry well in sustaining pride of place in the economy.